Taxation: Murder on the Installment Plan


Column by Lawrence M. Ludlow.
Exclusive to STR
Government messages employ lots of slave-speech. For example, we are told that “children are the nation’s most precious resource.” Note the misuse of the possessive. The assumption is that people are the property of the state. In a similar way, we hear about “un-renewable resources.” Usually it’s a substance such as oil. With substances, however, there is a lot of give-and-take. For example, we can manufacture fuels from farm products, so the phrase un-renewable resource may not apply. There is, however, one genuine un-renewable resource that applies to everybody: time. And by that, I mean one’s time as a living creature on this planet. You’ve got only so many years – approximately 78.4 years according to the experts. It gives real meaning to the word finite.
And that brings us to the point of this article: Taxation drastically reduces your one truly un-renewable resource. It takes away your time. And since your life consists only of your time on this planet, taxation takes away your life. In that way, taxation is a form of murder, pure and simple. Of course, we are told by conservatives and liberals and other government-worshippers that taxation is something that we “do to ourselves” and that it is peaceful and civilized. But once you realize how short life is, you also realize that the amount of time you spend working to pay taxes is subtracted from your time on this planet. If you disagree, please continue reading. If you already agree, the rest of this article will give substance to your belief.
There are 24 hours in a day and 365 days in a year – 8,760 hours in a year. Since the average person in the United States is expected to live 78.4 years, there are about 686,784 hours in the average lifespan. Unfortunately, we spend about one-third of that time sleeping – about 228,928 hours. That leaves only 457,856 hours of consciousness to live out your dreams. We are going to return to this figure later, but for now, let’s just leave it hanging there.
Most of us (I’m not counting government employees) work for about 50 years of our lives. Since the typical person works about 2,000 hours each year full time, that’s about 100,000 hours spent working during the average lifetime. But wait. The world of work also includes commuting time, doesn’t it? After all, if we weren’t going to work, would we really spend all that time sitting in traffic twice a day? In 2008, the average commute time was 29 minutes each way, and the daily commute time was 58 minutes – about one hour per day. That’s about 250 hours each year. Over a 50-year period, that means about 12,500 hours of commuting time. It seems only fair to add that figure to the amount of time actually spent on the job. Consequently, our total “working” time is 112,500 hours.
Now we’re in the home stretch. When you add all of the sales taxes, income taxes (state, local and federal), and property/school taxes (for renters, these are included in your lease), you pay at least 40% of your earnings to some governmental authori-TAY. The various “Uncle Sams” (the federal kind and all of his local imitators) confiscate at least 40% of what you earn – even more in some states. Let’s apply this to the 112,500 hours you spend working. Forty percent of 112,500 is 45,000. So you spend at least 45,000 hours of your life as a slave to an authoritarian gas-bag with a gun and a red-white-and-blue outfit. If your tax rate is 45%, you spend nearly 51,000 hours as a tax-slave. Now let’s subtract these figures from the total number of conscious hours that you are given to live on this planet.
If you began with 457,856 hours of consciousness to live out your dreams, you must subtract the 45,000 to 51,000 “awake” hours confiscated by the various Uncle Sams to arrive at the amount of time you are actually allowed to live. The percentages are scary. The curse of taxation eliminates between 9.8% and 11.1% of your conscious hours (depending upon whether your tax rate is 40% or 45%). But percentages don’t tell the whole story. After all, we live in days and years, don’t we? Since the various taxing authorities confiscate at least 45,000 of your “awake” hours on this planet, that’s the equivalent of 2,812 16-hour days or 7.7 years. Why a 16-hour day? Aren’t there 24 hours in a day? The reason we use a 16-hour day is because you spend the rest of your day asleep. We want to compare apples with apples. Consequently, the various Uncle Sams take away 7.7 years of your conscious life. Even worse, if you are in the 45% tax-bracket, the total is 8.7 years!
Now let’s return to the average lifespan of 78.4 years. Do you think that there would be an outcry if some white-haired lunatic with a bad sense of color-coordination kidnapped every grandma and grandpa about halfway through their 70th year of life and executed them to “harvest” the remaining 7.7 years of their life? What if your grandma and grandpa were in that 45% tax bracket and were executed halfway through their 69th year to “recover” those final 8.7 years? Would it be called murder? Would it be called humane? Would high-tax liberals and conservatives still support taxation if its meaning were this obvious?
So the next time you are forced to pay a tax – whether a hotel tax, a sales tax, a property tax, school tax, or an income tax to the federal, state, or local government – remember that there is a gun pointed at hour head. In addition, remember that paying taxes is not really a matter of “your money or your life.” Your money is your life, and taxation is more than theft.

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Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
Columns on STR: 37

Lawrence Ludlow is a freelance writer living in San Diego.  


Paul's picture

It's even worse than that.

Your scenario would work if the money was stolen from us, and immediately burned in a pile on the sidewalk. But it's not. It is taken from us, and then used to harm us in other ways than the pure theft did. We have to spend yet more precious years just getting around the obstacles that the ruling class has put in our way. More time complying with regulations, more time working to pay for goods priced higher by regulation and taxes...

It's simply hard to imagine how much better, how much longer in real terms our lives would be, without these parasites on our back. It's a bit like that old Heinlein book, "The Puppet Masters".

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Paul, thanks for writing, and I have to admit you are absolutely correct. The things that the government does with the money end up causing us even more harm. One easy example is this bogus "war on terrorism," by which the U.S. government's hit squads go abroad, kill and maim people, which creates angry victims, who may wish to retaliate against the civilians in the U.S., who are simply not "protected" from this blowback by the absolutely useless armed forces of the U.S.. So yes, there is indeed a "negative value" to the so-called services provided by government employees of any kind. And think of the mind-numbing damage caused by the public schooling system alone -- turning potential thinkers into automatons, criminals, and fools in mass quantity. Thanks for your thoughtful addition to my piece.

tzo's picture

And I would say that it's even worse than that.

The money is taken from you, it is used to put up obstacles in front of you, AND you are deprived of putting that money to use for yourself. With no taxes and no government obstacles and every individual being able to earn and save and invest the results of his own labor, well, it is indeed hard to imagine how much better off we all might be.

golefevre's picture

Awesome point, Paul. I like Heinlein too. Maybe there IS hope for me then? ;-)

What could a free people do with that part of capital and time that is taken in the name of taxation? At the very least, evil things could not be done in our name.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Tzo, like Paul, you are (sadly) correct. Every time I re-think this, it gets much worse. I'm going to have to read "The Puppetmasters," which I confess to not having seen yet. The level of impoverishment that we currently experience -- financially, psychologically as a result of the prevailing culture of "studied ignorance," moral degradation, and the outright oppression of government and the violent backlash of things like the War on Drugs (ask anyone who lives in a bad neighborhood, but only if they realize the connection; those who are wealthier prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the mayhem this policy has caused) are literally stupefying. There's an entire dimension that is un-touched by the article. Thanks for the thoughtful posts. And golefevre, you correctly identify the sense of guilt/shame that can hit us when things are done with our money that are positively mortifying -- like war and public schools and the drug oppression and all the rest of it. It makes me want to wear a bag over my head when I go outside; I'm that existentially embarrassed.

SensibleSolutions's picture

Hi. New to the site, but glad I found it.

I have been making this argument for years with regard to "work" in general - it is "life-time" that is being sold/traded. To the extent it is voluntary - fine, but some things in life aren't "optional" (I'll save that for another thread). Your application to this model for taxes is right on the mark - also the comments which follow on how those taxes are used to harm us.

Granted, there are a few 'returns' on that investment in terms of roads and the like which would need to be paid for in some fashion - I think a gas-tax which *only* pays for roads (no general fund) is fair.

On the last comment you made, Lawrence, I am with you 100% on the school bit - I still shudder (20+ years later) when I think of being locked up in that institution every day throughout my childhood. I shudder even more still when I realize that the means of payment for future generations' suffering is rent to the government, forever, to live in a house one "owns." A tax on one's primary residence amounts to permanent servitude - it is the complete obliteration of any guise of "freedom".

Certainly we can come up with a sensible way to provide educational opportunity for all kids (even those with irresponsible parents) without using the Prussian-Serf military-brainwashing model funded by property taxes; there is always that Internet thing.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

Dear DensibleSolutions: Thanks for the comments on the life-work situation. Our life-time really is very limited, and the parasitical state is the worst type of leech. There's no respect for boundaries. I suspect that at some future time, the idea of politically controlling people will be considered (and rightly so) a form of mental illness. It violates all psychological thinking on boundaries and healthy development and individuation and autonomy in thought and life. There is a new "un-schooling" movement afoot, and the non-violent forms of communication and child-rearing are also next steps, eh?