Monday, October 13, 2008


Returning Money Isn't A Benevolent Act

An argument conservatives need to make

Ed Morrissey is disappointed in the GOP's reaction to the Democrats proposed economic stimulus plan:
Earlier this year, Congress passed a “stimulus plan” that consisted of sending a small part of our own money back to us in hope of boosting the economy. One might have thought that conservatives would have used that as evidence that the best way to stimulate taxpayers would be to take less taxes in the first place, but apparently we’re still content to fight on populist turf instead.
This is exactly the problem.

People don't realize that its their own money. Conservatives have conceded to the liberal narrative regarding taxes, as have the American people. I do not understand why.

I will never forget the time I laid my eyes on my first legitimate paycheck. I knew taxes would be deducted for various reasons but still, I thought it was light. I noted how much was taken out for "withholding" and asked my mother about it. I didn't like her explanation. In talking to my friends and co-workers, I was surprised nobody was angry or upset about . The predominant attitude was that's what the government does, and what can you do about it.

It didn't make sense to me then, and it still doesn't. In fact, the rationale behind the withholding tax has made me ever less tolerant of liberal narratives in particular and paying taxes in general. Over the years, in talking with friends and co-workers, I've come to the conclusion that it is the most pernicious of all taxes and should be eliminated. That conservatives don't push for this frustrates me.

Like most liberal notions, the logic underpinning the concept of a "withholding" tax is absurd. After all, what gives the government the right to -- even temporarily -- deprive me of my property without any compensation at all based on nothing more than an assumption? Brute force, something which is lost on most people, and paradoxically reinforces the notion that government is benevolent.

The whole concept of "withholding" both instills and reinforces within the minds of taxpayers the notion that their hard earned money -- and thus the resources of society -- first belongs to the government. Many people I have talked to over the years hope to receive a tax refund from the government every April. When I have I've pointed out that receiving a refund means that the government has kept their money for a year or longer without offering them any compensation, the general reaction I get is, "So what. I'm just hoping the government gives me something and I'll be happy if it does." They are actually thankful that the government returned to them on its own time table and without any compensation what so ever what was rightfully theirs in the first place, an attitude which is disturbingly deferential to government power. Until this attitude is changed, the Democrats will win the argument over what constitutes an economic stimulus package every time.


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