Taxation in America

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Taxation is very important, therefore everyone is effected by it. Even America itself was founded because of unfair taxes (McDougal 206). When America was still a colony of Great Britain, the British heavily taxed them on imports (McDougal 206). The final straw that caused the revolution to occur was the Stamp Act (McDougal 207). In 1765 the British Empire passed the Stamp Act which made it so that colonists had to pay a tax to have the official stamp (McDougal). This meant that without the stamp, colonists could not have official wills, deeds, or other printed materials. Heavily taxing such a major thing was a leading cause of the revolution; today is no different in the sense that taxes still play a major part in the lives of every citizen in the United States. Everyone who has received income in the United States pays an income tax, and people who receive more income have to pay a higher percentage of taxation (Barton).

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While some might argue that it is fair and just that those who make more should pay more. However, it might also be argued that those who work harder to obtain success are punished by progressive taxation. History has proven that taxes are important enough to go to war over and that unfair taxation undoubtedly leads to war (McDougal 206). Taxes should not be based upon total income. The taxation system should be merit based; if the American people wish to have a project completed, then they can put money into it as they feel it worthy of attention. That is the only way to have a completely fair taxation system. One of the most essential parts of the Declaration of Independence was the fact that all men are equal and have the right to be free from tyranny (McDougal 207). When the government sets regulations on taxes, it is unjust because it is not in accord with the ideals that were essential in the foundation of America. Every year the government collects 2.44 trillion dollars in income tax, 1.49 trillion dollars in social insurance, 1.58 trillion dollars in ad-valorem, and .56 trillion dollars from businesses, totaling 6.54 trillion dollars of revenue for the government (Chantrill).

This money is supposed to go to paying politicians, keeping public schools open, paying veterans, and keeping the country running. However, public schools get 52.2 billion dollars and defense as a whole gets 951.5 billion (Chantrill). This means that public schools procure less than eight tenths of a percent of what is received annually by the government. On the other hand, federal politicians as a whole receive 10.55 billion dollars annually (Chantrill). The president alone makes 400,000 dollars a year, while members of Congress make 174,000 dollars annually, the Vice President makes 230,700 dollars annually, the Speaker of the House makes 223,500 dollars annually, and the House Leaders make 193,400 dollars every year (Philips). The 10.55 billion does not account for the lower level employees of the government; many of the governments lower level employees, such as DMV workers, only make 35 thousand dollars annually. If politicians were to receive more reasonable salaries, one of two options could be pursued. The first option would be that taxes could be lowered, and the American people could could keep a higher percentage of what the make.

The other option is that those taxes to be put back into America to help the needy in our nation. That extra money could go to help paying our national debt, helping lower the unemployment rate, fund research for deadly diseases, help support those with physical and mental disabilities, or to expand our national defense. The average American from age 25-65 brings home 48,009 dollars every year, but ends up losing 10-39% taken based on income level (Martin). This does not account for what the money is spent on, so the farmer who has to pay very high rent in order to keep the fields he uses to plow and keep cattle has to pay the same amount as everyone else who does not pay these high rental prices. The result is smaller population in the agricultural field in the United States. So one thing that needs to be changed with taxes is also looking at not just the income, but at what that money is being spent on. That is the only way to have a truly fair system, because people spending money on luxury items, while they have earned the right to get those items, are quite different from the farmers who not only use that money for pleasure, but to keep their business running.

The government also takes taxes to fund projects that not all of the American people would agree should be funded with their tax dollars. For instance, in 1930 Congress signed to purchase 1.5 million dollars worth of books, which would be about 21,550,000 dollars in today’s money (Ahlers, et all). This is a prime example of unnecessary government spending, as a purchase of that magnitude should be approved by the American citizens before being purchased. Another example of unfair government consumption of money is collecting taxes to pay for Planned Parenthood (Chantrill). As religious freedom is the reason pilgrims came to America, and is one of the founding principles of the constitution, it is not right to ask American citizens to pay for something that directly violates their religious beliefs. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, argues that higher taxes would benefit Americans more than lower taxes (Barton). Their belief is that, with more money for spending at their disposal, government spending would provide more jobs for the community (Barton). Keynesian economics is the belief that when the government funds programs, that program could provide jobs, and then those jobs would give money to more people, which would help put money back into the economy (Barton).

Another benefit to this ideology is that its followers believe that it helps keep prices relatively steady, so that “any kind of spending, whether by consumers or the government, will grow the economy” (Barton). The two major problems with this idea are that this is very close to socialist values, which have not worked in other countries, and that taxes do not have to be raised to allow more government spending. An example of a country that has tried a very powerful government would be the Soviet Union (McDougal 554). The Soviet Union tried putting all earnings except what was needed for survival into the government, and the results were less than ideal for its citizens; in satellite countries, countries controlled by the mother state, the local government was not even allowed to direct or develop their own economies (McDougal 554). As people starved, the Soviet Union used all of the money that was made to try to be the First Nation to send people and satellites into space (McDougal). In 1954, the Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact, which formed all of the satellite countries profits together to develop the ICBM rocket (McDougal). The other problem is that taxes do not have to be raised for the government to put more money into providing jobs to the American people.

If the president’s salary, for example, were to be lowered to 100,000 dollars a year, over 50 thousand above average (Martin), that would allow for 6 jobs where people were paid 2,000 dollars more than the average person (Philips). This means that if politician’s salaries were to be lowered to even just slightly above what the average American makes, the extra money could be used to provide more jobs, which would help lower the unemployment rate. To summarize, the current tax system is not in accordance with the ideals that founded America. The taxes are not just being used to pay for essential aspects of life such as public schools or national defense; rather, they are used to pay very high salaries to upper level politicians. While the left argues for higher taxes, very close to becoming a communist country where all earnings other than what is vital for survival go directly to the government. This is so important because it shows what America as a nation has been allowing. After going to war to gain independence from high taxes, we have started slipping back into allowing the government to use our taxes for things that might even go as far as to violate American’s religious beliefs.

Works Cited

  1. Ahlers, John. “The Capitol”. U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D.C.20402.
  2. Barton, Stephanie. “Parties For Taxes: Republicans Vs. Democrats”. Investopedia, 26 October,2018, www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/09/us-parties-republican-democrat-taxes.asp
  3. Chantrill, Christopher. usgovernmentrevenue. www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/revenue
  4. Chantrill, Christopher. usgovernmentspending, www.usgovernmentspending.com/us_spending.
  5. Martin, Emmie. “Here’s how much the average American earns at every age”. CNBC, 24
  6. August, 2017, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/24/how-much-americans-earn-at-every-age.html
  7. McDougal, Holt. “Modern World History: Patterns of Interactions” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.2012
  8. Philips, Kelley. “Trump Says No To Presidential Salary: Could You Decline Your Pay & Cut
  9. Your Tax Bill?”. Ecobase, 14 November, 2016, www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2016/11/14/trump-says-no-to-presidential-salary-could-you-do-the-same-cut-your-tax-bill/#4b914e634c56
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