Tax Quotes

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Some things are unavoidable, or so they say. These things definitely include being born and dying, and it seems taxes too. Here we look at some quotes on tax and taxpayers:

The taxpayer - that's someone who works for the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.
- Ronald Reagan

Most people, if they think about it, are slaves to the government. Depending on which country you live in and which tax band you occupy, approximately half your earnings you never see. Yet if you want to work - which you have to - then that's the only deal open to you. If a normal shopkeeper set up shop and said that if you worked for him, he would only take half the money you earn, you wouldn't be too impressed. But if the shopkeeper is the government, well that's a different story.

An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, the power to destroy.
- Daniel Webster

For Webster, the implications of being able to tax are quite far reaching - in fact if you have the power to tax to any extreme, you also have the power to destroy.

Taxation without representation is tyranny. (Watchword of the American Revolution.)
- James Otis

One of the great successes of modern democracies is how easily they have convinced us that our views on such matters as taxation - and where the tax is spent on - are represented. In reality a few people make the decisions about taxation levels and to what ends the tax is put, and we have no say in the matter whatsoever.

I wish the government would put a tax on pianos for the incompetent.
- Dame Edith Sitwell

Although light-hearted in its idea, the message is interesting - if people were genuinely represented in what uses their taxes were put to, perhaps by a poll of all voters, the spending plans of any government would probably look radically different!

The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality.
- Andrew Jackson

As Jackson observes, no system of tax appears that equal. Whilst on one hand it seems fair to charge more tax to those that earn more, on the other hand why should people be penalised for working hard and being a great success?

The final words here, like the first, to Ronald Reagan, expressing a view that a very many people would agree with, extrapolated to pretty much every government in existence:

The government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

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