The Chairman’s Report - June 17th, 2016

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  • Source: FAIRtax
  • 04/09/2021


Purpose of Taxes
There has never been a government that did not have to obtain revenue from its citizens to perform its functions.  Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."  Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in a dissenting opinion in a 1927 case wrote, Taxes are the price we pay for civilization. I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization. 
No One Really Likes Paying Taxes
Governments have understood that its people don’t like paying taxes.  Their citizens understand that each time they pay a tax their ability to consume is reduced. 
In September of 1796, President George Washington had a letter published in the American Daily Advertiser that was a message to his fellow Americans as he was preparing to leave office.  Initially drafted by James Madison and edited by Alexander Hamilton, it was extensively rewritten by Washington and is very much worth reading.  In this letter, Washington said about taxes, that to have revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant…
Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury said, As to taxes, they are evidently inseparable from Government. It is impossible without them to pay the debts of the nation, to protect it from foreign danger, or to secure individuals from lawless violence and rapine.
The great English statesmen Edmund Burke, said, To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men. Winston Churchill said, There is no such thing as a good tax.
Most Taxes Are Ultimately Voluntary
The above statement may seem counter-intuitive if no one likes paying taxes, but few taxes can be collected without the agreement of the people taxed.  We see this not just by criminals selling stolen goods but also by the willingness of people to assist others evade the tax. 
For many years, the United States was regarded with awe by other governments because of its citizens’ willingness to pay income taxes.  It should also be remembered that until the 1960’s, the U.S. income tax did not require the types of extensive reports from third parties to verify income earned—such as the reporting of interest by banks.
In the 1940’s, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Jackson said, The United States has a system of taxation by confession. That a people so numerous, scattered and individualistic annually assess itself with a tax liability often in highly burdensome amounts, is a reassuring sign of the stability and vitality of our system of government.
In 1962, IRS Commissioner Caplin stated, No other nation in the world has ever equaled this record [of voluntary compliance.  It is a tribute to our people, their tradition of honesty, and their high sense of responsibility in supporting our … government.
However, by the late 1970’s, despite more and more attempts to “coerce” compliance, this attitude had changed.  In 1982, Justice Richard Neely wrote, Cheating on federal and state income tax is all pervasive in all classes of society; except among the compulsively honest, cheating usually occurs in direct proportion to opportunity.
COMING NEXT WEEK Part Two: The Evasion Solution -- FAIRtax the visible, simple, efficient fix

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