January 28 - Article - Tax Blindness, by Edwin Lefévre
"And they call this a civilized country!" The school teacher glared at me. I merely had inquired into the state of her health. Knowing that I could not be her pet grievance, I ventured, soothingly: "No country where education is both compulsory and expensive can, in times of depression, be regarded as civilized, according to what travelers from other countries tell us. In a country where everybody is civilized, naturally nobody needs to be taught anything. Be glad that you have a permanent job."
"I don't think that's funny," she reproved. We teachers have had two cuts, and today we were told that there was no money to pay us our December salaries because people won't pay their taxes. I had planned to go to Bermuda for Christmas, and now, how can I?"
"That's an infernal outrage!" I told her. "Excepting that you have a home where you don't have to pay board, you are practically on par with fourteen millions of unemployed. You have a life job, but scoundrelly taxpayers who are out of work force you to stay at home at Christmas and listen to stories of people who have taken only one cut in wages, amounting to a scant 100%, instead of enjoying life in Bermuda. To stay home is always a hardship for a girl, but when most of your friends have lost their jobs, it is doubly hard to wait for back pay in your own house."
"If I work hard, I'm entitled to my pay, and what I do with my salary is nobody's business," she asserted.
"Is that all you can see?" I asked her, hoping against hope.
"What else is there to see? If this city were run on business principles, we wouldn't be in this plight. I have to pay my bills. Why won't they make people pay their taxes? And I had planned......" Not a word about excessive taxes or governmental inefficiency. (pg. 3)
"In your own state of New Jersey, public school teachers draw, on an average, more than $2000 for nine and one-quarter months' work." (pg. 4)
A Communistic state has been defined by Charles N. Edge as one where the only taxes are income taxes, since there can be no capital taxes where there is no private capital to tax. When taxation consists of 100% income taxes, you have perfect Communism, because what you get is the pooling of the results of the work of all individuals for the benefit of the entire community. It is plain that the moment we tax incomes we take the first step toward Communism......
With the taxing power lodged with the politicians who try to please the voters who elect them to office, it stands to reason that since the non-taxpayers greatly outnumber the taxpayers, and it is the majority who benefit by income taxes collected from the minority, there does not seem to be any possible way to stop the drift towards Communism. (pg. 57)
At present, taxation is not levied upon the individual. No man, woman or child in the United States pays taxes for being - that is, being alive here. (pg. 58)
Comments: As we shall see in future articles, less that 3% of the population filed and paid federal income tax at this time. In 1933, a person who made around $2000/ year could live comfortably and afford vacations to Bermuda. We can see that human nature doesn't change when it comes to people's selfishness. The teacher in this article understandably wanted her pay, and wanted the government to force tax collections on others, many of whom were unemployed, so that she could get her pay. She wanted blood from turnips. Today is no different. For example, if millions of social security recipients stopped receiving benefits, would they not cry out to the politicians to restore those benefits? Would they care about the hardships imposed upon working people if forcing oppressive taxes on working people were necessary to restore those benefits? I submit that most would not.