Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 85
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for April 19, 2001 - never published

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

As I write this, people are lining up at the post office in the annual ritual of sending in their income tax. I sent in over 20 pages of forms to the feds and six to the state (not counting the checks). The income tax is on top of the personal property tax, real property tax, retail sales tax, phone tax, utility franchise fees, etc. There’s Social Security tax, medicare tax, business license fees, capital gains tax, corporate taxes (which they pass on to the customer) and more. All taken, they estimate that federal taxes alone take up over 20% of the total economy (GDP), and this doesn’t include state and local tax burdens. For some people, total tax burden is over half of everything they earn.

However, the actual taxes aren’t where they have their greatest impact. The cost of complying with tax laws, including record keeping, non-productive accounting costs, and tax preparation fees, is enormous. Also well hidden is the cost in personal privacy rights, as the government demands to know every aspect of your financial life and keeps all this data on computers. There have been accusations of politically motivated audits of people or groups opposed to whatever administration is in power.

Part of the problem is that the government has cleverly hidden its take through use of withholding taxes. Many people actually give the government an interest-free loan by having too much money withheld during the year; try underpaying and see if the government returns the favor. If the taxes weren’t disguised and everyone had to write a huge check at tax time, there’d certainly be more outcry for reform.

Actually, there is a movement to do away with the income tax and replace it with consumption-based taxes (a national sales tax). The concept is simple: those who buy more, pay more. Allowing for certain exemptions for necessities such as groceries and prescription drugs would protect low-income people, but would still give everyone a stake in paying for the government. The system for collecting such taxes is in place in virtually every state and both government and business benefit as it costs a lot less to administer. Plus, no one has to know your personal financial data! If you’re sick and tired of the paperwork and the stress, take a look at

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