Is There Hope?

Richard Swerdlin swerdlin at GTE.NET
Mon Jun 9 09:12:41 MDT 1997

> From: Robert Neil <uarn at MCK-UAII.MCK.NCSU.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Is There Hope?
> Date: Monday, June 09, 1997 8:57 AM
> On  7 Jun 97 at 21:37, Richard Swerdlin wrote:
> > The word "confiscatory" is being diddled with, when a person pays
> > income tax.  This is comparable to claiming that each "cold" is
> > "pneumonia", or that there is little difference between a "pimple"
> > and a "cancer".  By further analogy, a poor detective would accept
> > another "confession" or "eye witness" account, without seeking
> > corroboration.  The "suffering" experienced by what you call
> > "confiscatory" taxation ignores the reality of looking out the
> > window.  It is not verified by the life style of the complainers.
> I thought "confiscatory" referred to the *method* of collection, not
> the *magnitude*. In other words, the government upon pain of
> imprisonment requires monetary payment. You no go to jail
> (or they seize your house)! In this sense it is confiscatory.
> If the sum of all local, state, and federal government taxes is
> indeed 60% of one's income, then I think the government is far too
> involved in the economy. At this level of confiscation the term
> 'socialist' would certainly be appropriate. Much higher and the word
> 'slavery' comes to mind. After all, what is a slave but a person
> whose labor is owned by another?
> ===============================================================
> Robert Neil
> Computing Consultant II
> Urban Affairs - NC State University, Box 7401
> Raleigh NC 27695   fax: (919) 515-3642

        The word "confiscatory", as commonly used, implies a situation in
which property, such as a ship, land, car,etc.  is being seized for
non-payment of taxes and/or illegal activities involving them.  In a broad
sense however, even a vary low tax of one percent (1%) could be called
"confiscatory".  In reality, "confiscatory" is used rather negatively here.
 Perhaps it would be simpler to say that a given tax rate is "too high".

        Your remarks exaggerate the situation.  Having lived in New York
City, Cincinnati, Dayton, Denton, Biloxi, Montgomery, etc., the presumed
suffering from an "overwhelming" tax burden remains just that, a
questionable assumption.  Life style and related spending  is a better
criterion of "suffering", than lamentations in the matter.

        Anecdotally, recalled easily is the next door neighbor in Illinois,
who claimed that LBJ was choking him.  I smiled, especially since the man's
painting business continued to prosper.  Only a naive listener would
believe that this man was suffering.

        Overall, conditions are seldom as good or as bad, as people claim.
Reality is more likely to appear near the middle of these extremes.

Richard Swerdlin
(swerdlin at

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