No Matter How many Times You Say It, It Doesn't Make It True!

Found via Digg by fellow Digger Bradspangler, the funniest interview I have ever seen about a subject as serious as taxation.

From Check Your Premises the Taxation is Voluntary, by Harry Reid:

Jan Helfeld: …if the government is in the business of forcefully taking money from some people in order to provide welfare benefits to others, how will the people whose money is being taken feel about the government?

Harry Reid: Well, I don’t accept your phraseology. I don’t think we “force” people…

Helfeld: Taxation is not forceful?

Reid: Well, no.

Helfeld: It’s voluntary?

Reid: In fact, quite to the contrary. Our system of government is a voluntary tax system.

Helfeld: Oh… if you don’t want to pay your taxes, you don’t have to?

Reid: Of course you have to pay your taxes, but…

Helfeld: The government will force you to pay, or they’ll fine you or imprison you. Won’t they?

Reid: We have a voluntary system. The fact of the matter is, that if when you pay your taxes — you see, in many other countries, it’s not voluntary. For example, in many countries, the government makes sure that your employer takes out every penny. Many countries don’t file income tax returns. Why?

Helfeld: We have withholding here too, don’t we?

Reid: Pardon me?

Helfeld: Withholding.

Reid: With some program, yes. But I’m talking about in some countries, European countries as an example, there… you don’t file an income tax return. There is no need to, because your employer takes all the money out. That’s the difference between a voluntary and an involuntary system.

Helfeld: But can…? Can…?

Reid: You can choose to not pay your taxes, but I don’t accept your phraseology, that you forcibly take money from somebody else and give it to others. You know, that’s the way it is on any program. I mean…

Helfeld: Can the taxpayer…?

Reid: …highway program is the same. We…

Helfeld: Excuse me.

Reid: We take money, we “forcibly” take money in your phraseology, but…

Helfeld: But can…? Let me ask you something.

Reid: …build highways with it, put people in the Army.

Helfeld: Can the taxpayer decide not to pay his taxes if he wants?

Reid: He can… He can not pay his taxes if he wants.

Helfeld: What will be the…? What will happen?

Reid: He’ll be subject to civil and criminal penalties.

Helfeld: They’ll put him in jail — they’ll use force against him. He pays… everybody pays taxes under threat of jail or fines: on the threat of force. In other words, you are forced to pay your taxes. Whether you fill out your form voluntarily or whether its withheld by your employer, you don’t have a choice on whether you can pay taxes that are going to be used for welfare programs — you can’t make that choice.

Reid: Well, but the reason our system is called a voluntary tax system — and I recognize, you know, that ultimately you can’t cheat your taxes, but our… We have many provisions in the law they don’t have in most countries: we have deductibility for home interest on mortgage payment, they don’t have that in most countries, we have deductibility for certain excessive expenses as relates to health — doctors, hospitals — we have all kinds of tax — some people call them “loopholes” but others would call them “incentives for people to do business” — and that’s why… You know, you’re not “forced” to pay certain taxes. There are ways… if you decide to buy a home and…

Helfeld: You can decide not to pay taxes? In the United States?

Reid: I mean, I really don’t understand what you’re trying to get at. If you’re… What… the point of the matter is…

Helfeld: Because you objected to my phraseology. You said that… you say that the government isn’t forcefully taking money from some people to provide welfare benefits to others, and, in fact, that’s what it’s doing, because all taxation is forceful. It’s backed up by physical force. If you don’t pay your taxes, the government will intervene with you forcefully. So you don’t have a choice. It’s not voluntary. You can’t decide not to pay and not suffer consequences. If you don’t pay, you’ll go to jail. So: you’re forced to pay.

Reid: You don’t… you don’t go to jail. Some people go to jail. There are all kind of civil penalties if you don’t pay your taxes: you pay interest and you pay penalties. The fact of the matter is, our system is a voluntary system.

Watch the Video of the train wreck interview over at Free for All.

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AmmoBob said...

Reid is freaking moron and this is just another example...

kdawg68 said...

Oh my dear god. Trainwreck isn't the word for it.

Tar and feather the bastard!!! :)

Seriously though, our ancestors are rolling in their graves. They tried to tax stamps and tea for chrissakes and we rebelled.

Now you don't even see anywhere from 1/5 to 1/3 of your paycheck, depending on exemptions, etc.

I recognize there are basic things we should probably pay for, but what if you don't agree with the "benefits" you are supposedly receiving?

Don Lewis said...

Thanks Anok.

I was having kind of a crappy evening. Now, having read this, it's actually kind of a crappier evening, but at least I've got a smile on my face.

What a waste of skin.

FriedClyde said...

When are you guys gonna stop paying your taxes and fund the revolution?

Daniel Owen said...

I'm totally against taxes. What a load of bollocks. Involuntary, oppressive, anti-worker rubbish...

Ian Thal said...

Helfield is clearly an anti-taxation libertarian (which, policy-wise, I consider a foolish political philosophy) and Reid is answering in double-speak. What's actually going on is a monomaniacal zealot is starting a confrontation, and Reid is trying to be dismissive so he can talk about other things but gets caught in the zealot's rhetorical trap.

The folk who would benefit the most from the elimination of taxes are the corporate elites-- not workers.

Daniel Owen said...

Ian, I totally disagree with you. If working people were freed from taxes (and, heck, rent as long as we're talking about unjust Statist interventions in society!) we'd all be able to throw of that god-damn yoke of wage-slavery. As Marx said, capitalism depends for its existence on the expropriation of the labourer.

So on this one, I have to side with Mr. Helfield.


Ian Thal said...

As Marx said, capitalism depends for its existence on the expropriation of the labourer.

And socialism doesn't? The question is who is gaining from expropriatian or from the lack thereof. Your attempt to fuse Marxian critique with atomistic individualism will not birth a coherent political philosophy.

With all those taxes not being collected, how do you propose to keep schools open (or prevent the teachers from being paupers?)


As all the evidence suggest the Revolution will be sooner then we think I can't wait.Like you I'm friendly,nice,kind but when it comes time for all these evil "powerful" people to be dragged out into the streets I won't be having their back thats for sure.
Like an old Irish mobster used to say when I was a kid and someone we knew got killed,He'd say they had it coming.Email me when it's time I'm READY.

an average patriot said...

What a mess that was from beginning to end. I don't know why but after that I want to say like death taxes are unavoidable. You can avoid natural death by killing yourself and you can avoid paying taxes at tax time by paying them early otherwise there is no avoiding either.
That said I like what he said about paying for Highways but if that is true why aren't we fixing our massively failing infrastructure and I am honored to help those who need it and not those that take it needlessly.