I wrote in a post yesterday about surviving the next four years:
I'll engage in grey markets, black markets, and cheat on taxes as necessary.
I go first with Justice Learned Hand:
Any one may so arrange his affairs that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which will best pay the Treasury; there is not even a patriotic duty to increase one's taxes. Helvering v. Gregory, 69 F.2d 809, 810-11 (2d Cir. 1934).
Taxes are supposed to be about raising revenue for the government. Consider Article 1, Section 8 of the soon-to-be-obsolete US Constitution:
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
This article explicitly limits the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises to the function of pay[ing] the debts and provid[ing] for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.
That general welfare portion is defined in the following lines of the Constitution and refers to things like post roads, the militia, coining money, etc. etc.
That Americans understood the difference between taxes for revenue and taxes for social engineering is well-demonstrated in issues like the Parson's Cause and the decline of Sumptuary Laws. So it not fair to say that the idea of using tax codes to promote or reduce certain forms of behavior is a new one.
It is, in fact, one of the two major political dynamics from early American history: the Hamiltonian view that government exists to strategically mold and shape the future of society and the Libertarian view that government exists to protect society from external threats and internal coercion while allowing American citizens to mold and shape the future of their society themselves.
Recently, however, we have seen a Lakoffian push not only to rewrite history, but to revise the meaning of government and taxation into a patriotic duty to provide a portion of what each of us produces to support whatever causes of social engineering the government happens to be in love with that decade.
It's always such a good cause, like keeping those inferior people of color out of public accommodations or attacking the right of American citizens to ingest whatever substances they choose.
And now we're telling the fairy tale to our children that people who don't want to pay more taxes are selfish individuals who wish to have the benefits of all that wonderful government-provided infrastructure and security without paying for it.
What utter [wait for it--a technical term coming here]: horseshit.
We fought the goddamn American Revolution in large measure over the right to keep our own hard-earned money. Shays' Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebellion, the Dorrite Rebellion, the anti-Renter movement....
We used to teach an American history wherein resistance to tyranny was lauded, and the first two weapons of tyranny were taking the people's money and taking the people's guns.
I need to state this as plainly as possible: people who argue that paying taxes is patriotic are, simply, self-interested beings who desire to use my money for their purposes, and who are seeking a moral high ground for theft.
Don't give me that crap about regressive taxes and hurting the poor. As far as I am concerned you can completely exempt the poor from all taxes--it would be a good first step. But the argument that a system of progressive taxation is necessary to keep wealth from pooling upward only works if the government is engaging in taxation for purposes of social engineering. If the government is simply collecting revenue and not passing out goodies, the business cycle, the march of technology, and even global warming will take care of any necessary redistribution of the wealth.
[And no, Dana, you are not free to read in here the idea that all governmental regulatory authority should go away.]
I will, as an individual do exactly what George Soros does: I will engage in every mechanism to reduce my tax burden open to me: legal, quasi-legal, grey-market, black-market, and outright illegal.
After all, immoral laws have only force and not ethical constraints behind them.