Classic quotes against the income tax

Plato: “When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.”

Adam Smith in the section “Taxes upon the Wages of Labour” of The Wealth of Nations“Absurd and destructive as such taxes are, however, they take place in many countries.”

Albert Einstein: “The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.”

Will Rogers: “Income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf.”

Please post more quotes in the comments.

6 responses to “Classic quotes against the income tax

  1. Austin O’Malley:
    “In levying taxes and in shearing sheep it is well to stop when you get down to the skin.”

    Dick Gregory:
    “I wouldn’t mind paying taxes… if I knew they were going to a friendly country.”

    Rush Limbaugh:
    “If Thomas Jefferson thought taxation without representation was bad, he should see how it is with representation.”

    Thomas Paine:
    “What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue.”

    Ronald Reagan:
    “Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

    • That first quote seems to be copying “To the governors who recommended burdensome taxes for his provinces, he wrote in answer that it was the part of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not skin it.” Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars Tiberius 32.2.

      BTW, I was writing about income taxes only based on Adam Smith’s opinion that income taxes were a poor idea. Hamilton also wrote about how consumption taxes were the best, as opposed to property taxes.

  2. That could be the origin – on the other hand, I grew up in sheep farming country, and variations on the theme were in common use with respect to anyone who drove a hard bargain!

    Regarding Consumption vs. Income taxes, I find myself strangely ambivalent… tax, like the government it supports, is a necessary evil if we are to be organized as a society rather than live in anarchy, but I have yet to read of a solution that would satisfy a majority of Americans that it fair and just.

    A ‘Fair Tax’ vs. a ‘Flat Tax’ seem to be the options with the most weight behind them in the debate on minimally complex and minimally predatory taxation – given what I have read of each argument, I believe I would lean towards a Flat Tax on the grounds that a Fair Tax penalizes the poor unfairly, since they must of necessity spend all their income just to get by, and so a greater portion of their income is necessarily taxed than of those with greater means.

    Whichever way we go, my stipulation is that the entire tax code must fit into a single page of rules, enabling us to effectively abolish the IRS (and as a fringe benefit, retire all the tax lawyers!).

    • Sales taxes encourage savings/investment. So why not a sales tax but exclude food and shelter? That will help the poor pay less in tax.

      • Well, necessities for the poor include transportation and entertainment and communications as well as food and drink… so do you exclude public transport and gasoline, and tobacco and alcohol and cable TV and the internet and phone bills and, and, and? If you do, under the Fair Tax you are you are excluding these categories for everyone, and in the process dramatically lowering the total tax take. I can more easily conceive of a one-page tax code for a Flat Tax than for the Fair Tax – but honestly, either offers the opportunity for a far better solution than our current 67,000 page tax code provides.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s