"The war against illegal plunder has been fought since the beginning of the world. But how is... legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay ... If such a law is not abolished immediately it will spread, multiply and develop into a system." ~ Frederic Bastiat
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.