Brian J. Noggle: Tax Hypocrite

Time for me to come out of the closet as it were: I am a tax hypocrite.

Not to get too deeply into it, but one of the advantages of government-sanctioned marriage is the tax benefits, or at least the fact we get to only have to pay the accountant for one form. Since I think the government should probably get out of the marriage sanctioning business entirely but I take advantage of the offer, I am a hypocrite!

I don’t think that the government should ladle out tax credits for behavior it likes, such as buying the right air conditioner, buying a house, or buying the correct clothes washing machine, but I sometimes take those tax credits (although I missed out on the washing machine stimulus payola I mentioned due to laziness and, frankly, lack of enthusiasm for the project). Ergo, I am a hypocrite!

On the other hand, I have argued passionately against the government taking tax money to redistribute to individuals for individual benefit even above the lofty arguments that every individual having more (of others’ property) makes a better, more egalitarian nation. However, I still pay my FICA and social security taxes. Because I don’t practice what I preach!

I think there are a lot of Federal government programs that are not just a bad idea, such as the Department of Education or Department of Energy, but some are damn immoral (funding abortions around the world). However, I don’t deduct that percentage from my quarterly taxes because I am a damned hypocrite!

Now that we have my admission out of the way, can we separate the tax code and its thousands of pages of rulings and regulations from a reasoned discussion of principles?

No, of course not. Many of the people I discuss issues with proudly lack principles, and all they have going for them is ad homenims, tu quoques, and day-old bon mots.

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2 thoughts on “Brian J. Noggle: Tax Hypocrite

  1. You’re being too hard on yourself.

    Let’s say you’re walking through the streets of Milwaukee. Foolishly, you forgot to strap on your Mosin-Nagant (or put on your pants) before leaving home. A mugger holds a gun on you and demands your wallet. You hand it over (it was in a coat, not pants pocket), saying goodbye to your treasured Sailor Moon Fan Club lifetime membership card and twenty dollars in cash. The mugger hands over a five dollar bill and leaves.

    Are you a hypocrite because you took the money? No. You just avoided getting robbed as much as you would have otherwise. You’re not under any obligation to say “I won’t accept that five dollar bill! I won’t take any money from this thief!” It was your money to begin with. The fact that the mugger didn’t return part of his take to another victim doesn’t make you an accomplice.

    You would only be a hypocrite if, when given the opportunity, you lobbied against or voted against the elimination of the special tax break.

    A couple other scenarios:

    1. The mugger demands your wallet. You successfully evade him. This is called “tax evasion”.

    2. The mugger demands your wallet. You beat him up and take his wallet. This is called “tax fraud”.

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