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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Monday, April 14, 2008

Statement from Bob Barr Statement on Taxes

As Americans rush to complete their tax returns on time, Rep. Bob Barr commented on the expansive, intrusive and burdensome nature of the tax code:

Another April 15th means another year of the American people being over-taxed. Federal revenues already account for nearly 19 percent of GDP, high by historical standards. If the Bush tax cuts expire, the personal income tax burden will jump by a quarter.

Even without such a massive tax hike, the total tax burden is expected to rise. Tax Freedom Day, when Americans finally start working for themselves rather than government, hit April 30th last year, up nearly two weeks over 2003.

The income tax does more than take too much of our money. It violates too much of our privacy and sacrifices too much of our freedom.

The tax code is incomprehensibly complex—constituting nearly six million words, requiring almost ten million pages of forms, and including some 62 million lines of code. Tens of thousands of IRS employees labor to squeeze money out of taxpayers, rooting through financial records, sending out dunning notices, assessing civil penalties, initiating audits, and prosecuting resisters. For most people there is no more feared return address on an envelope than “Internal Revenue Service.”

We must reform the tax system. We need to do more than make marginal adjustments and engage in minor tinkering. We need fundamental change that will both dramatically reduce the burden on American families and ease the process of payment.

The first requires that we cut unnecessary federal spending, eliminating the deficit and enabling Congress to provide significant tax relief to all taxpayers. To do this we must cut spending across-the-board. As president I would target corporate welfare, middle class subsidies, industry bail-outs, foreign aid, defense subsidies for wealthy allies, and the many other nonessential programs and bureaucracies that fill Washington.

Simplification requires scrapping the income tax, allowing Congress to eliminate the IRS and all of its intrusive enforcement practices. One vehicle for doing so would be a plan similar to the so-called “Fair Tax,” which would replace the income tax with a sales tax. But the exact details are less important than the principle: we must replace the personal income tax, which opens every Americans’ life to government scrutiny, with a consumption tax, which is much simpler to administer. At the same time we must repeal the 16th Amendment to ensure that no future Congress re-imposes a levy on Americans’ personal incomes while taxing their purchases.

Americans spend four months of every year working for government before they start working for themselves. That’s a far higher burden than that which caused the colonists to rebel. At same time, today’s Americans live in fear of government agents ransacking their personal and business lives. In comparison, the British Stamp Act was a minor imposition.

The United States once was known as the land of the free. It is time Americans reclaimed their precious heritage of liberty.

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