The Frustration of Taxes

Over the past couple weeks in my school we’ve had the nice opportunity to have a small class on personal accounting, budgets, banking, taxes, etc. Everyone made a rough budget estimate for necessities they would have to provide for themselves once they were out on their own in the real world. Basics like rent, food, utilities, clothes, and so forth were all covered.

Then our guest teacher (who is a local accountant) got into taxes. And goodness gracious, that really made an impact on all the students. Now, I am lucky enough to go to a very small private school where the students are well informed on current events and have a very realistic and balanced approach to life. I think for all of us in the class, though, taxes for that one instant didn’t make any sense at all. The IRS never made sense to me, but this really hit it home. Now, for the people reading this, I’m sure it isn’t anything new. I’ve had more experience and exposure to taxes than most of my friends, but still this class managed to smack us all in the face with reality a little bit. The amount set aside for taxes in our de facto budget outdid any of the other categories.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, basic common sense is something that is lacking right now, especially when it comes to government, but even with individuals and businesses as well. This will be the first year that I have to file taxes, and even though what I pay (roughly 12%) is a relatively small amount, it doesn’t keep me from already getting frustrated in this system we’re forced to tolerate and comply with. Most of my taxes go to Social Security, a flawed government program that will most likely be bankrupt within 15-20 years. (That and probably many other areas of our government.) Just the rules that people come up with for this sort of stuff is pretty funny. Everyone in the class started cracking up when our teacher started to explain 401(k)’s, because none of us could see how such absurd rules and regulations could be justified. And our teacher was explaining it in all seriousness; the whole philosophy of taxes and the rules that come with them are what really got to the students. Taxes make saving and investing so much more difficult than they should be; any exchange of money is basically penalized. Basic common sense says this is not a system the Founding Fathers would have appreciated.

I think young people, both teens and young adults, are picking up on the ideas that it would be nice to just live their own lives without so much intrusion from the government. I’ve been constantly discussing politics and policies from the perspective of Austrian economics for more than a year, and the ideas simply make sense to them. Education is the number one way to spread the ideas of liberty, personal responsibility, and a non-intrusive government. I think all of us in the class started to realize that the IRS gives the notion that the government owns your labor and your property. This is not a good way to motivate young people to go out and get a job. Heck, it’s already hard enough to get a consistent job with the strict labor laws in the U.S. Now that we get a chance to go out and get a real job, we have a relatively massive tax burden to deal with.

When you analyze the IRS and Federal Reserve, both of which were created in 1913, you start to realize that this country is a lot less free than politicians would have you believe. The way I see it, the U.S. is becoming hostage to a huge national debt, over regulation, and central power. I honestly don’t think the young people of this country will want to sit back as they start to feel the accelerated impacts from these socialist, centrist policies. There is no way in hell that our current policies are paving the way for a more prosperous future. Debt, inflation, regulation have all been tried countless times throughout history in many different shapes and forms, and they never work. Logic says they can’t and won’t work, and as much as politicians in Washington might hope they can, the market cannot be suppressed forever. Luckily, more and more people are picking up on this across the country and starting to ask questions. The movement for liberty, responsibility, and a simple return to the Constitution can only go up from here.

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