Byline: Richard W. Rahn, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Americans, now 236 years removed from the Decla- ration of Independence, have acquiesced to far more tax tyranny - and I do not use that word lightly - than the British tax tyranny that ignited our revolt.
Modern-day apologists for the progressive income tax argue that it is just - because it is imposed by the consent of the governed - and that is merely their first lie. America was established as a constitutional republic to protect despised minorities from the tyranny of the democratically elected majority. Democracy and consent of the governed are distinctly different concepts. Once it becomes acceptable to divide a population into classes, majorities can easily take the right of consent from a minority. Did black Americans, despite living in a democratic country, consent to being forced to ride in the back of the bus before the civil rights movement? Democratic countries have been known to place higher taxes on religious minorities - without their consent. Racial, religious and ethnic discrimination may be out of fashion, but discrimination based on occupation and income is quite in fashion - and equally despicable.
The United States has the most progressive (i.e., unequal) tax system in the world. The bottom 50 percent of income earners, on average, receives more in tax benefits than they pay in taxes - while the highest earners pay a wildly disproportionate amount of their income in taxes - despite the myth that Warren Buffett has a lower tax rate than his secretary. A progressive income tax only meets the test of consent of the governed when a majority of each class of taxpayers consents to its tax rate. Otherwise, it is tax tyranny of a low-tax-rate majority against a vote-poor, high-tax-rate minority. The apologists for the progressive income tax claim it is only fair, ignoring the fact there is nothing at all fair about taxing at a higher tax rate those who work longer and harder and/or spend more time acquiring an education and work skills. It is destructive and tyrannical for a society to tax the most productive, innovative and job-creating people at a higher rate than others.
Most tyrannical regimes impose laws that are so extensive, complex and uncertain that the people can never know whether they are in compliance or not. This enables the state to target anyone, knowing they will almost certainly find some violation. The U.S. tax code now has something in the order of 77,000 pages. Obviously, no one person or even a group of tax professionals, including those at the …