WASHINGTON April 16, 2015 – Wednesday was the deadline to file your federal income tax return. If that is news to you, then please close this article and get your life together. As millions of Americans, roughly 53 percent of the population, filed their returns and prayed to the lord of taxation and bureaucracy that they would not be audited. Given the current state of government affairs, several glaring questions come to mind as we wait with bated breath.
How is it that a government that is $18 trillion in debt has the right to demand that Americans pay their taxes speedily and responsibly?
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How can a government that is expected to run a half a trillion dollar budget deficit for 2015 demand fiscal responsibility of its citizens?
And how is it that the president can take a $2 million dollar golf vacation to South Florida and still lecture the American people about needless spending?
The answer to all of these things is that he rightly cannot, but he most certainly does.
These questions address some of the most glaring and obvious double standards of our time when it comes to the issue of fiscal responsibility.
As an American, if you do not pay your taxes, if you lie on your return or claim deductions that are not correct, it is possible that you will spend time in jail.
You will lose your job, and you will spend time in what is essentially a debtors’ prison as your liberty is significantly diminished. In short, if you fail to pay the government what it believes to be its due, men with guns will come to your house, put you in shackles and carry you away to face justice.
But not if you are the government.
If you are the government, and you cannot pay your debt, you simply vote to raise the limit you can borrow. There are no punishments, there are no trials, life for the government simply goes on. If Congress and the president cannot balance the budget, bills simply go unpaid, and when they can agree on a budget they live well above their means.
This argument has been made before, but if the people are required to live at or below their means, then so should the government. But the very idea that it does not seem concerned with adjusting its spending displays either a gross amount of ineptitude or a treasonous level of dismissiveness.
Tax evasion carries a prison sentence of five years; various statutes in the U.S. code deal with varying levels of evasion and failure to pay. However if the penalty for the citizens of the United States failing to pay taxes in some way or another is five years, to what standards do we hold the government?
What penalty do we levy on politicians who plunge a nation into financial decline and ruin? As of now, the going rate is several years in the federal legislature, and then a comfortable life writing books, making speeches and working for special interest groups. There is no accountability, no equal footing, when it comes to the laws and reasoning that govern the rulers and the ruled of this country.
A man can be audited if he cannot prove where certain deductions came from or if he claims family dinners were “business meetings,” and that could be ruled tax fraud and carry a prison sentence.
Yet a government that spends half a trillion dollars more than it takes in, gives billions in foreign aid while children are starving domestically and then lectures the American people about fiscal responsibility does not govern legitimately.
Legitimacy is what this entire issue boils down to. The actions of our government when it comes to fiscal responsibility border on the treasonous. A government that is not held to the same standards of its citizens and exacts from them the fruits of their labor by force cannot be considered legitimate.
A government that is $18 trillion in debt and demands that its citizens pay their fair share for its mistakes cannot be considered legitimate. Finally, a government that spends half a trillion dollars a year more than it takes in and then jails citizens for tax evasion, cannot be considered legitimate.