Harry Reid and the “Voluntary” Income Tax

One Jan Helfeld interviewed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada). The interview can be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/5az366

Mr. Helfeld argues that the U.S. income tax is not voluntary, because it is backed up by the threat of governmental force. Reid insists that it is voluntary.

In trying to sort out Reid’s reasons, I find three arguments.

1) In many other countries you would never file taxes. Especially in European countries, your government makes the employer deduct all taxes before you get paid.

2) Here, we have lots of — oops; not loopholes — ways that people can get deductions, such as on mortgage payments, health, etc. Reid calls these, “incentives for people to do business.”

3 ) In resposnse to Helfeld’s assertion that there is force involved since if you don’t pay you go to jail, Reid responded, “You don’t go to jail. Some people go to jail…” but we have civil penalty alternatives.

When I come upon someone who uses words equivocally — as Sen. Reid does — and who does not change when this is pointed out to him, as Mr. Helfeld did several times, I consider that person to be either stupid or dishonest. I include Reid in the dishonest category.

Words have meanings. When pinned to the wall, Reid acknowledges that government force is used in tax collection by saying that “ultimately, you can’t cheat on your taxes.” So he (barely) recognizes what “voluntary” means. But immediately thereafter he continues to insist that our income tax system is voluntary because it’s different from those of some European countries.

The concept “voluntary” refers to the distinguishing characteristic of an action, in this case the action of handing over money. Throughout history, governments have forcibly taken wealth from those who produced it, and that’s what is called taxation, of course. It is the opposite of what’s meant by “voluntary”, which denotes action one takes willingly, of one’s own accord.
Now, it is taken as a truism that all politicians are dishonest. Usually, that means that they all make campaign promises that don’t subsequently get fulfilled. But Harry Reid’s dishonesty is more blatant. He wants to make us believe that words don’t have meanings, really, that they can mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean. Thus, by destroying our language, do our leaders try to destroy our minds.

–Ken

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4 thoughts on “Harry Reid and the “Voluntary” Income Tax”

  1. Thank you for the analysis. It will save your readers time because they won’t need to dissect this pathological specimen.

    For me, two thoughts arise from reading it.

    >”Now, it is taken as a truism that all politicians are dishonest. Usually, that means that they all make campaign promises that don’t subsequently get fulfilled. But Harry Reid’s dishonesty is more blatant.”

    1. HONESTY AND DISHONESTY. Many politicians are indeed dishonest in the sense of lying to people. Reid is dishonest in a more fundamental (causal) way, in the sense of not facing facts of reality. In particular, Reid is evading the nature of the idea of “voluntary.”

    2. SUPPLANTING NOT CHANGING. Those of us who advocate individual rights (such as the right to property) will never change Reid and those who fervently support him. All we can do in the long-term–and that should be enough–is to make his fundamental dishonesty clear, as you have done, and offer a positive alternative in the appropriate context. Perhaps someone listening to our comments will someday run for office and win.

    Again, thank you for the article.

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  2. Hi Burgess,

    Thanks for the added insight.

    “Perhaps someone listening to our comments will someday run for office and win.” I would love for this wish to come true; however, I don’t see how it can without, first, a BIG change in the underlying philosophy (in particular, in epistemology and ethics) of the electorate.

    Reid’s fuzzy-headed “arguments” and the rank altruism that underlies his politics are shared by far too many of his contemporaries. I doubt that, without major philosophical changes by voters, your honest respecter of individual rights would ever be allowed into their club.
    –Ken

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  3. Thank you for your interest and promotion of my Harry Reid interview. If you liked that one, wait until you see my interview with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Bill Richardson, Congressman Pete Stark, former CIA Director James Woolsey, ABC News George Stephanopoulos, Sen. Joe Biden and many others at JanHelfeld.com or Youtube/Jan Helfeld. Please review them and let me and others know what you think.

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