Roger’s Rules

The power to tax . . .

The power to tax, said John Marshall, is the power to destroy. Jerry Pournelle (via Instapundit) has some thoughts on Black Tuesday (that would be April 15):

I discovered to my horror just how much the Feds tax retirement including Social Security! Having collected taxes for my lifetime — including to this day — on self-employment to pay into the Social Security account, they hand me a miserable pittance compared to what I would have got had I simply put the money into a money market account; then they tax part of it away.

Same with retirement accounts. They tax Roberta’s State Teacher’s Retirement income. They tax my TIAA retirement income from my academic years. Incidentally, a few years of TIAA/CREF generated a very sizable fraction of the income I get from Social Security from paying into that all my life. I have taken the “minimum distribution” option from TIAA, so I could get a lot more; my theory is that Mr. Heinlein was right, we writers are professional gamblers, and it’s well to have your house and car paid for and sock something away for a bad year, because you are likely to have one. Robert ran scared all his life.

Clearly the government wants us to spend ourselves broke and throw ourselves on welfare. Then they will stop fining us every year. They fine us for speeding, for spitting in the streets, for doing things they don’t want us to do: they also fine us for improving our property, investing money to grow the economy, saving money; the implications are pretty clear?

Actually, of course, it’s just that government employees consider themselves entitled to annual raises whatever they may accomplish for us, and that means they consider themselves entitled to a share of any money that can be found anywhere in the world. It’s not that they want to fine you for saving money: it’s that you have saved money, and there’s some out there, and government employees are entitled to have raises, Q.E.D. See the Iron Law of Bureaucracy. If money exists, government considers itself entitled to it, and if you ask why, they have no answer except blank stares: after all, it’s obvious isn’t it? Good grief!

Depressing, isn’t it?