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  • Writer's picturePeter Serefine

Citizens or Surfs?

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

Taxes are sprinkled throughout our lives. Why?

So, you are a productive member of society. You work, plan for the future, pay your taxes, and try to leave something for your children when you're gone. Good for you! The government thanks you too.

You have a job. You earn a paycheck. That feels great. Uncle Sam needs a cut. He will take 10-50%. No problem. The government provides for you, so you're happy to pay your share.

You drive to your job, so you need a vehicle. Your vehicle needs to be registered every year. There is a fee (tax) for registration. Your vehicle needs gasoline to get you to work. The cost of gasoline includes 50 cents - $1 or more per gallon gasoline tax. Oh well, you have to get to work.

You work and you have a life, so you need stuff. With stuff, comes sales tax. Your state takes 5 - 10% of the cost of your stuff. If what you buy happens to be imported, then built into the cost is the import tariffs (tax) too. In that case, now you are paying sales tax calculated and compounded, in part, on top of the import tax. Once you buy your stuff, you need a place to store your stuff. Your rental property needs utilities. Our government taxes those too.

Now after paying sales and utility tax with your already taxed income, you still manage to save enough to buy a house. You guessed it, taxes on the real estate transaction. Once you own the house, you have to pay thousands of dollars every year in property tax. If you want to improve or expand your house, then you need to get a building permit and pay the associated fee (tax).

Somehow you are still successful enough to have a little disposable income, so you invest it. You take your already taxed income and hope to earn something more with it. If you fail, you can only deduct $3,000 as a loss when calculating your income tax. If you are successful, then you have to pay capital gains tax.

What if you want to take a vacation from taxation? Well don't leave your house or you will pay travel taxes. Taxes on airline tickets, cruises, rental cars, and hotel rooms make sure that the government continues to get their share.

You've worked hard. You have been successful and want to pass some of your fortune on to your children. When you die, your kids have to pay inheritance tax for the money that you already paid taxes on.

Why do you think everything we do is taxed? Why can't there be just one type of tax? Because the government doesn't want you to sit down and figure out how much you are really paying in taxes. If they spread it out across everything that you do, then you hopefully won't realize what a huge portion of your hard-earned income goes to feed themassive bloated government machine.

Taxes and government fees are so integrated in our day to day lives, there is no way to sort them all out. Even if you wanted to take the time to add them up, you probably couldn't do it. If somehow you managed the daunting task, you'd be disgusted with what you find.

Remember the Boston Tea Party? The rebellious act the preceded the American Revolution was to protest the Tea Act of 1773. That was over a tax on what was essentially one luxury item. The Tea Act levied a 6 pence tax per pound of tea imported to the British Colonies. That would be about $2.50 per pound today. In total, the Tea act would have cost the thirteenth colonies less than $300,000 a year in today's dollars.

Our federal government alone spends $6,850,000 per minute in the United States, according to CBS. That means a full year of the taxes raised by the Tax Act of 1773 would fund our current federal government for less than 3 seconds in today's dollars. That is just Washington DC. Your state, county, and local governments collect and spend your tax money too.

It is your money. You worked for it. You earned it. You deserve the transparency to see how much you pay your government.

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