“This is a question too difficult for a mathematician. It should be asked of a philosopher.”(when asked about completing his income tax form)”
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once opined that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. As usual Holmes was being more glib than wise. Some taxation is needed for civilization; taxation that becomes oppressive is usually a sign of a civilization in decline. In the beginning most taxes are instituted for some more or less necessary purpose, at least that is what is claimed. Over time they simply exist to feed an ever growing government. Unlike most associations we develop in our lives, government is completely involuntary and always has compulsion at its beck and call to ensure compliance. It is all too easy over time for government to simply become a mechanism to transfer funds to favored political groups. Until governments master this technique usually they stay small simply because taxpayers hate paying taxes. This taxpayer resistance is overcome when government is able to claim the allegiance of large groups that view themselves as net beneficiaries from taxation. When sufficient funds are not available, governments simply wish them into being through borrowing and the printing press. The best argument against big government is to closely watch how the funds taken and manufactured are used by the government each fiscal year. 63 % of the federal budget consists of transfer payments from collective Peters to collective Pauls. Christ noted that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar. It is instructive that He never breathed a word about the care of the poor being a responsibility of Caesar, instead making it the duty of each of His followers. Relying upon Caesar to do this task is rather like using an army to provide day care services. Thus we have the modern welfare states that attempt at great cost to do what people should do for themselves or what should be the province of private charity. Government thus becomes ever larger and eventually begins to kill its host, the private sector. So here is to Tax Day, that monument to human hubris, chicanery and avarice!