Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.
The disposition to hunt down rich men as if they
were noxious beasts is a very attractive sport. But
confidence is shaken and enterprise chilled, and the
unemployed queue up at the soup kitchen or march out to
the public works with ever growing expense to the
taxpayers and nothing more appetizing to take home to
their families than the leg or wing of what was once
a millionaire. It is indespensable to the wealth of
nations and to the wage and life standards of labour,
that capital and credit should be honoured and cherished
partners in the economic system.
Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., 1904
The federal income tax was established in 1913, when
by some definitions, we had more civilization back then,
than we have now.
Officials are less inclined to squander what is not there.
Government rarely pauses to consider what income is.
A little before the introduction of this unprincipled scheme
of plunder called the income tax, the law of perjury
applicable to taxpayers who made a false return, was amended
so as to make the offense punishable by transportation to
If we ride in a chaise, or a coach, or on a horse; if we
keep a dog; if we have a window to see through, a servant
to assist us, a large part of the cost is tax. We can have
no title to property, no right of occupation; we can neither
lend or borrow nor pay nor receive money; nor can we ask for
law or justice without paying a tax and when the breath
is out of our bodies, the government demands a strict
account of our bequests, and takes from our children or
others, a large part of what we leave behind.
William Colbert, 1829
The average citizen, thru taxation, in effect does
unrenumerated work for the various levels of government for
the equivalent of four months of the year.
Tax graduation is not an evil to be paltered with.
The moment you abandon, in framing of such taxes, the
cardinal principle of exacting from all individuals the
same proportion of their income or their property, you are
at sea without a rudder or compass and there is no amount of
injustice and folly you may not commit.
J.R. McCulloch, 1862
It is one thing in principle, to ask from the wealthier
citizens a disproportionate contribution towards common
defense and general welfare. It is another thing to ask
them to contribute directly towards the welfare of those
Government is an organization which combines the maximum of
effort with the minimum of results, attempting little and
achieving less. Every government official prolongs his
business until they have all become pensionable...
Giving money to governments is just like giving whiskey and
shotguns to teenagers.
Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force.
Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.