The so-called Tea Party tax protestors are suddenly all the rage. They had
a little rally in Washington, D.C. back on September 12. Police estimated
the crowd at about 70,000 while rally organizers said more than a million
Well, good for them. In fact, I say lets not just lower taxes, lets do
away with them altogether. No federal or state income taxes, no sales
taxes, no property taxes. As renowned tax hater Grover Norquist once said,
lets shrink government to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.
There should be a small catch accompanying this policy shift. If you pay
no taxes you dont get to avail yourself of any services or regulations
that result from the taxes the rest of us do pay.
Well start at home. Youll have to figure out some way to get clean
drinking water and a way to dispose of your personal waste without
availing yourself of any services using tax dollars. Youll probably have
to relocate, anyway zoning is a government function paid for by taxes.
You wont be able to live in any areas that are government zoned.
Then theres that pesky car. You wont be able to gas up at a typical
filling station because the gasoline your vehicle burns is regulated by
the government. Not that it particularly matters since you wont be able
to register your vehicle, obtain a drivers
license, or drive on any federal, state, county or city roads because they
are all paid for by taxes.
Food might be an issue, too. Despite the occasional highly publicized food
recall, billions of food items are safely consumed every day. Food safety
is a government function and there are those darned taxes, again. In
fact, plenty of food production is either regulated or subsidized by the
government and the accompanying taxes. So you can hunt and forage for your
sustenance. Just dont do it on state or federal land. No doubt you can
find some nice tree bark and worms on your own property if you can figure
out how to own land without a deed. Thats a government function paid for
Employment might be troublesome. Nearly all businesses must meet some
kind of regulation so youll need to find a way around that. Maybe you
can work from your wilderness home. Just dont use a telephone or
computer and no television for you rugged individualists; communications
are either regulated or licensed by the government and the taxes that
Youll need some good luck, too. If your house catches fire or someone
tries to break in or if you or a family member has a health emergency or
accident, dont call 9-1-1. Police and fire services are government
operations and we taxpayers would like to keep them for ourselves.
Doctors and hospitals are also licensed by the government and your taxes.
Just rub some dirt on that broken limb. Youll be fine.
Trillions of tax dollars are collected and spent every year by various
levels of government. With that much money and that many programs there
is surely fraud, waste and duplication. It should all be rooted out and
eliminated. One can also argue there is too much government, too many
programs and too many regulations. There does seem to be some level of
government involved in virtually every aspect of our lives. Eliminating
the waste and excess could give us some welcome tax relief.
So, what should we cut? Which programs should be eliminated? Which
regulations are intrusive and unnecessary?
At the federal level the bulk of spending is for Medicare, Social Security
and national defense. At the state level it is public education, public
safety and either health care or transportation. Weve already seen most
state and local governments hack away at their budgets as revenues crashed
during the current recession. Does that seem to be working out? Are we
better off with fewer teachers and more students in classrooms? Do we
need fewer police officers and fire fighters and ever increasing response
times for emergencies? How about less maintenance on our roads and less
plowing in the winter? Do we want fewer programs for both our children
and our parents?
Thats really the problem, isnt it? Its easy to yammer on about too
many taxes and too much regulation, unless the resulting cuts have a
direct impact on us. And theres a good bet those taxes provide jobs or
lifelines for someone right down the street.
Every one of us benefits directly from the taxes we all pay and none of us
seems yet ready to forego the programs we need or want. We just want to
cut what benefits somebody else.