Monday, January 29, 2007

The power to destroy.

Man has long dreamed of traveling to the stars. And Brian Emmett was one of those men. He is a space buff. Space tourism is still in its infancy and well beyond the price of most people. So it just didn’t seem possible.

But Oracle Corp. is moving into this field and they had an on-line contest. Emmett entered the contest which required answering some questions about the Java computer code. And he was absolutely thrilled when he found out that he won. His lifelong dream of traveling into space seemed one very giant step closer to reality.

And then the dream smashers stepped in. US tax codes require that a prize like this be taxed as income. And the normal cost of the flight was $138,000. Even though Emmett would never see the cash the greedy government has to grab a share of everything. If Emmett took his prize he would still have to pay the government $25,000 in taxes. And Emmett just can’t afford that.

He had to turn down his dream, it was smashed to tiny pieces by the voracious appetite of big government. He said: “There was definitely a period of mourning. I was totally crestfallen. Everything you had hoped for as a kid sort of evaporates in front of you.”

Two other winners are still planning on collecting their prize but they don’t live in the United States -- formerly known as the “land of the free”. Odd that a country that kicked off its independence by a revolt over a small tax on tea is so oppressed by the heavy hand of taxation today.

Emmett’s misfortune is compounded daily. US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall once said: “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” Government taxed Emmett’s dream and they destroyed his dream.

Every day taxes destroy dreams, reduce the standard of living people but the subsidies make major corporations wealthier, they pay for useless studies, subsidize dysfunctional lifestyles, pay for “bridges to nowhere” and the like. Every single tax is destructive. No tax does more good than harm. It can’t.

Whether or not they are necessary can be debated. That they are destructive can not. At the very least they need to be cut.

Government knows taxes inhibit and destroy. They tax cigarettes highly because they know it will reduce the activity that is taxed. And then they pretend that in other fields it won’t inhibit at all. Taxes on labor destroy jobs but government pretends that is not the case. Taxes on housing destroys housing reducing the quality of living of citizens. The capital gains tax punishes people for investing their money thus reducing investment -- reducing innovation and job creation.

An income tax and sale tax inhibits everything! People buy less food because it is taxed. They buy fewer books because they are taxed and hence learn less. To the degree that medicine and health care is taxed people are forced to forgo some treatment. Taxes on income reduces an individuals ability to plan for his own retirement, or find quality education for his children outside the state asylums called “public schools”. Taxation is everywhere the enemy of progress and human well being. Taxes smash dreams.