Taxed to Death

 April 15, in picture form

The following article is dated April 15, 1999 but don't let the fact that it is 12 years old keep you from getting it. In fact, this article is more relevant today than ever.

Funny, in 1999 I used my tax refund check to get me out of Wisconsin forever at the ripe old age of 18. And now, at 30, I write about tax issues for a living. How the hell did that happen? And how the hell are we now in a worse tax situation than we were back then? Oh yeah, fucking inflation, the most scandalous tax of them all. The inflation rate in the U.S. from April 1999 to January of 2011? A whopping 32.50% and let's keep in mind that's using the bullshit CPI numbers that don't include food or energy. Ouch.

Check out Ralph Reiland via Mises Daily:

It ain't over on April 15! If you stop, for example, for a $10 pizza on Thursday night to celebrate being done with the IRS for another year, the taxman will be right there to grab a slice or two. On top of paying the sales tax, you'll also be picking up a major chunk of what the government charges the pizza shop owner for local property taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, federal payroll taxes, federal and state and local income taxes, and worker's compensation taxes. Altogether, according to a study by the Americans for Tax Reform, that comes to $3.80 on a $10 pizza for the omnipresent taxman.

If you pick up a Bud six-pack to go with the pizza, there's another 43 cents of each beer dollar that goes straight to the taxman for excise taxes, income taxes, property taxes, etc. For something stronger, say Jack Daniels, the taxman's share is $7.20, on average, out of every $10. Go lighter and just drink a Pepsi and it's 35 percent of what you pay that goes for taxes at all levels. Add some Marlboros and it's 75 percent of the retail price that's funneled directly into the state's coffers. Get home and hit the light switch and another $26 out of every $100 on the electric bill goes for government rather than electricity.

If you're flying the next day, the taxman is up early and waiting at the airport, pocketing $40 on every $100 airline ticket. And he's there in the hotel lobby when you land, snatching $43 on every $100 of the hotel bill. Go out to dinner and it's another $28 of every $100 of the tab that ends up with the government rather than with the restaurant, the farmers, truckers and everyone else who worked together to produce the meal.

At each and every stop, in items large and small, the greedy hand of government has its sticky fingers in every pocket. With bread, a recent study by Price Waterhouse shows that 30 different taxes imposed on the production and sale of a loaf of bread account for 27 percent of the average retail price. Buy some new tires and it's $36 on every $100 that goes to the taxman. On the price of a new car, an Americans for Tax Reform study shows that total taxes reach 45 percent of the showroom sticker price. Add some gas and 54 percent of what you pay for a fill-up goes for 43 different federal, state and local taxes rather than to the oil producer and retailer.

Related from R. Thomas Herman via the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, who says "most reporters would rather undergo root-canal surgery than cover a tax story":

For an idea of what the IRS considers frivolous, go to the IRS site and type “frivolous” in the search box.

No need. I will say, however, that I'm honored to be a part of the handful of freaks in media sick and twisted enough to cover taxes. You know, when I'm not all up in central banking.

Don't tell 18-year-old me this is where we end up, she'll send that check back and tell the IRS to stick their refund right up their... well, you get it.

Jr Deputy Accountant

Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.