Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why Should People Who Pay No Federal Income Tax Have the Right to Vote?

My husband and I filed our federal income tax this past April, on schedule, a remarkable feat considering this middle class family owed in excess of $25,000 dollars. Yep, $25,000+. That’s in addition to the $29,000+ we’d already had withheld from our pay or paid into 2011 quarterly “estimated tax.” And by “paid on schedule” I mean we paid the IRS. The money to ward those sharks off still has to be paid back to the credit card we’d just gotten out from under. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to deal with those people—I tell them how much I can afford to pay each month, then they look at my finances and tell me how much I will pay each month. That’s the point where I’d have been arrested for sedition.

The whys and wherefores of our April shocker aren’t really relative to the point I want to make. Suffice it to say a modest inheritance, early dipping into a retirement account for needed farm equipment, and contract work amounting to another forty-hour plus work week pushed us, without our realizing it, into a higher income bracket. Our actually buying a few items we’d been putting off, for years, and doing things we’d always wanted to do, but had been reluctant to spend money on, should have raised the red flag. It didn’t. We won’t make that mistake again. We need to stay home, drive dilapidated automobiles, and jury rig everything that goes wrong in this house and let our grown kids—who can’t make ends meet—go on welfare instead of trying to help them.

What we really need to do is quit working and draw social security—early. But I’m sure there’s a hitch there, too.

I’m ranting now and getting farther off point. Our taxes were, according to the law, legitimate and have been paid. But it’s less about paying an exorbitant amount like that in one fell swoop than it is about the way the politicians in Washington waste our money without making any effort to cut back. It’s about how taxpayers are the ones who are threatened with a felony conviction for failure to pay enough while someone who doesn’t even file gets hit with a misdemeanor. The IRS goes after responsible people who are paying taxes, no matter how little they have or what they need it for. But the real question is this: Why do people who pay no income tax vote? They shouldn’t. They didn’t when this nation was founded. Only those with a vested interest (property) paid taxes, and they were the ones who had the right to vote. I’m not saying we should return to the days of the landed gentry, but allowing people who pay no federal income tax and share the benefits of, even going as far as live off, those who do is tantamount to thieving politicians buying votes with the taxpayers’ money. Votes that now outnumber the taxpayer. Yeah, speaking about paying “their fair share,” how about the fifty percent of the population that pays nothing at all? They’re the ones failing to do their part. I don’t want the rich to pay more. Jiminy—I think in 2011 I must be considered among the rich. And I ain’t rich, folks.

I highlight this point in my novel Wolf Dawson, the setting of which is late Congressional Reconstruction following the South’s loss in the War Between the States. In the book, I reference a rebellion that occurred in Warren County, Mississippi in 1874 when its tax-payer league arrested a crooked sheriff (under indictment in New York for malfeasance before he ever arrived in Mississippi) and ran him out of the county. The incident ended in bloodshed and ultimately the arrival of Phil Sheridan with federal troops and the reinstatement of the crooked parties, but marshal law in Mississippi was not reinstated and with the election the following year, tax-paying Mississippians won back their state and the Republicans scurried north like cockroaches scramble for cover when the lights turn on. Truth is, Mississippians had kept cockroaches out of the state (I’m speaking metaphorically here. We’ve got plenty of cockroaches in Mississippi and always have had) until they lost the War, at which time the occupying Republicans invited them in and kept them—and themselves—well-heeled with tax-payer’s dollars. Taxpayers, I should add, who were not allowed to vote. Today Americans, even many Southerners forget that crucial point. The taxpayer was not allowed to vote. Even after returning Confederate soldiers swore allegiance to the United States and were reinstated as citizens, they couldn’t “fight” their way to the polling booth, so don’t even go there with me.

Now go back another century to Sam Adams and cohorts who dressed up like Indians and poured British tea into Boston harbor. Same thing. No vote, no tax (vice versa in our case here). It’s one of the basic tenants of this nation. Universal suffrage is not. Universal suffrage is a politician’s way of putting into place an electorate that will put and keep him in power while he, his ilk, and his constituents steal, then squander the taxpayers’ money (buying more votes).

A flat tax is necessary to capture the fifty percent of Americans who are not paying federal income tax.

No tax, no vote.

Thanks for listening to me vent,