Rendering to Uncle Sam

Meredith Turney
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Posted: Apr 19, 2010 2:32 PM
Rendering to Uncle Sam

Tax Day. Perhaps the most reviled day on the calendar. This year, rendering to Uncle Sam what he deems his was a particularly odious task. Writing that check to the federal government stung even more than usual considering the latest bureaucratic nightmare it will eventually fund: ObamaCare. But the amount of their income taxpayers send to Washington, D.C. every year is only the final insult in the torturous process of filing annual tax returns.

Many tax filers spent the two months preceding April 15th bowed over their kitchen table, calculator in hand, poring over W-2s, 1044s or other puzzling tax forms, trying to figure out how much of their hard-earned income they’d be forced to part with. Some taxpayers invested in online software programs to help with tax preparation.

Sean Hannity FREE

According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, “one-third (33.6%) of consumers will prepare their taxes using computer software, 23.5 percent will use an accountant, 17.6 percent will use a tax preparation service, 11.8 percent will have a friend, spouse or other relative prepare their taxes for them and will prepare their taxes by hand.” The tax filing process has become so convoluted and complex that average, intelligent Americans must seek outside assistance to make sure they file correctly.

As some co-workers and I commiserated with each other over our tax preparation woes last week, we discussed how wrong it was that three college-educated women (I have a law degree!) are forced to seek professional help in filing what should be a simple tax return. Instead, we're lost in a maze of acronyms, numbered forms and complex math equations. The tax forms, receipts, and paperwork littering my dining room table looked like John Nash’s office in A Beautiful Mind. Filing taxes shouldn't take degrees in advanced mathematics and cryptography.

The common sentiment I've encountered during tax season is absolute disdain for tax filing process and the government it represents. It’s not disdain for the form of government, but how that form has been so bastardized that it now abuses the taxpayers who prop it up with their income. A new Pew Research Center survey found that an astonishing 80 percent of Americans distrust their government.

Like most Americans, I have no problem paying taxes—but only when it is to a government that uses that money prudently and within its constitutional boundaries. The Tea Party movement is a response to the prosperity-destroying level of taxation and the wasteful manner in which public funds are spent. The redistributive system we have now penalizes success and rewards laziness.

As John Marshall wrote in 1819, “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.” American taxpayers are at the point where they can no longer bear their level of taxation. Yet, politicians plow forward with their plans to increase taxes—always the solution of an irresponsible, spendthrift government. It defies logic for hard working taxpayers to subsidize a system that every day finds new ways to take away our ability to make the money necessary to sustain the bureaucracy.

The Founding Fathers established the most ingenious government system the world had ever seen in a simple, straightforward 14-page document that has governed our nation for over two centuries. The IRS tax code is now over 60,000 pages long. As we move further away from the simple yet profound principles that established our nation, the bureaucratic red tape and confiscatory tax rate increases. Although never pleasant, the once uncomplicated task of paying taxes has now become a burdensome, onerous process of rendering to Uncle Sam.