April 15, a day that should live in infamy
July 19th 2005
Taxes & Your Money
April 17 was my mother's 84th birthday. Two days earlier on April 15, a day
that should live in infamy, the government took $72,000 from her.
A government that takes that much from an elderly woman of modest means is
not a moral government. It is a government of laws, but the laws are
The Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that whenever any form
of government becomes destructive of certain inalienable rights, "it is the
right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new
government." They wrote those words in angry response to the Stamp Act and
other British taxes and tariffs -- plunder that pales in comparison to the
criminality of today's tax code.
It is one thing for the government to take nearly half of my income and give
most of the purloined loot to other people and special-interest groups
instead of spending it on the common good. But it is quite another thing
for the government to plunder my 84-year-old mother.
I don't know what angers me more: that she had so much of her retirement
nest egg forcibly taken from her, or that most Americans don't give a damn,
because they are looking forward to getting a tax refund at the expense of
my mom and other victims of armed robbery.
The nation has passed the tax tipping point. The majority of Americans now
get more back in government services and entitlements than they pay in
taxes. We have become a nation of bloodsuckers, with a growing majority
sucking the savings out of a shrinking minority. Thus, there is no way that
the tax teeter-totter can ever be righted again. Those who think that it
can be righted by a flat tax or consumption tax are delusional. A democracy
will always increase the supply of plunder to meet the majority's demand for
Why did my mom have to pay $72,000? Because she and my dad had scrimped and
saved all of their working lives and had lived below their working-class
means. In an attempt to protect their nest egg and earn a return that was
greater than taxes and government-caused inflation, they invested in the
stock market. Last year, my mom sold the stock and transferred the money to
She had to pay capital gains taxes on the paper gains from the sale. I say
"paper gains," because most of the gains were due to inflation, and most of
the inflation was caused by the government printing money to cover its
profligate spending. To classify the gains as income is as preposterous as
classifying food and water as discretionary spending.
To add assault to armed robbery, the government also hit my mom with a
$4,000 Alternative Minimum Tax, which was originally enacted by Congress in
response to multi-millionaires using legal tax dodges authorized by Congress
to avoid paying any income tax.
Mom now lives in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in a retirement home. She
hopes that her money will last long enough to keep her from being a burden
on her family (or society). Shaken by her tax bill, she keeps asking me if
she has enough money left to live on for her remaining years. Meanwhile,
tens of thousands of people her age are living in nursing homes at the
expense of taxpayers. Many of them were either spendthrifts all of their
working lives and thus had no savings upon retirement, or had considerable
retirement savings that they surreptitiously gave to their families so that
they could be eligible for Medicaid.
To put the $72,000 in perspective, it represents more than half of the
proceeds from the 80-year-old house that my mom sold after my dad's death
two years ago. They had lived in the humble house for 60 years in a
working-class suburb of St. Louis.
As she was putting the house up for sale, the left-liberal St. Louis
Post-Dispatch ran a chirpy story about welfare recipients moving into new
public housing in St. Louis. Photos showed the exteriors and interiors of
townhouses that were considerably nicer than my mom's house, complete with
features and amenities that her house did not have. There were also photos
of the residents -- obese moms and their broods of obese kids, with no dads
The Post-Dispatch and others of its ilk call this social justice.
Completely out of touch with their working-class readers, they have no idea
how infuriating such stories are to people who have tried to live
productive, socially-responsible lives.
Now the press has stories about Democratic and Republican members of the
U.S. House of Lords setting up their adult children in lobbying firms and
extorting corporations to funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to them.
Other stories detail another form of payola: the exotic vacations that the
lords and their families take at corporate expense.
President Bush is no better. A fake conservative, he made millions from
Why aren't plundered Americans grabbing their pitchforks, storming the
castle, and putting the heads of their overlords on pikes for ravens to peck
at? Why aren't they taking the Founders' advice about altering or
abolishing a government that is so criminal and immoral that it takes
$72,000 from an 84-year-old widow?
I don't know the answer, but I do know that I'm sharpening my pitchfork and