Prior to delving into this article I should note that I hate, hate taxes but recognize them as a fixture of a stable, progressive society.
America was founded on a previously unprecedented principle: regardless of creed or class, all citizens have the ability to move up or down in economic class. Anyone can become rich beyond their wildest dreams (like Russell Simmons), and anyone rich beyond their wildest dreams can go broke (like MC Hammer). Of course this wasn’t the only founding principle that makes America an important historical milestone, but in our current atmosphere of tax averse, debt-ridden and impotent political squawking, it is this principle that perhaps continues to most set America apart from its European peers.
The Folksy Argument
The evidence of this is ample. Anyone having paid even moderate attention to the ‘debt crisis’ can recite the largest divide between the two parties: Democrats want to tax, or increase revenue, and Republicans was to cut spending. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of finance will know that increasing income and investment is the most surefire way to become rich and secure, although keeping a tight lid on spending is certainly important too (but the two are in that order). I have made many examples and illustrations of families with debts piled high above their income’s ability to pay them—and so I can only shake my head in bewilderment as Republicans harp on about America “getting its fiscal house in order”. I’ll give it to the Karl Rove types in the GOP: this is a bit of folksy talking point gold, but is a bit financially laymen. Using their government-is-a-big-ol’-family logic, if a family can only cut expenses to pay down debt so much before they need to seek increased income, then so too is it for the government. It seems Republicans should join my email list.
The Psychology of Hating Taxes
Now if you braced at that last jab, it’s time for a bit of amateur psychology. People who are tax averse first and foremost because they want to keep their money. That is incredibly obvious. They want to keep their money because money has utility in America, and thusly the less we have of this the less “utilizing” of America’s economic offerings we can do. Americans feel they have a right to keep the money they work to earn, and we are hungry for this righteousness as a society in general. I love this about America; it’s why we have been the economic machine that has changed the world time and again. It’s why Europe is generally less entrepreneurial than America. On the flip side, it’s why Europeans have a better social safety net, better health care for the poor, better public transportation, and better grade schools. Of course all of this is broadly stated—take it with a meth-rock sized grain of salt. I mention it to highlight a point: on a deeper level American’s hate taxes because Americans covet a culture of self-dependence. Paramount is our belief in our ability to succeed as individuals. In this light, we view taxes as a penalty on our success.
Work Hard, Get More… right?
Inherently we all believe in our own ability to succeed, or have at one point before life got in the way of our dreams. We have been taught that hard work broaches success, starting with check plus’s in grade school to letter grades in high school and college, to pay raises, to running faster, lifting more, on and on. It’s been conditioned into our very fiber as a people. In this light, the IRS would be the slacker “cool kids” who hand out wedgies and give the dorky kids chocolate swirlie.
If you didn’t brace at the above jab at Republicans, you probably feel taxes are a necessary evil, whose good outweighs its bad. Good for you. I applaud you for recognizing that as individual’s succeed, with taxes, we all succeed—if slightly unevenly. Very balanced of you. Now move to Europe, commie.
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 By inviting himself out with you again even though you didn’t ask him or tell him your plans and then he—as always—drinks too much and then hits on your girlfriend super hardcore and when you tell him to back off he is all like, “hey comrade, just being friendly!” and then proceeds to say how much he loves you and that he would never hurt you because bro, like, our kids are going to know each other and stuff and at that point you know your night has been ruined once again by Email List and his needless drunken drama which for some reason follows him around like cats to a cheese cart, which there are a lot of in Soviet Russia because everyone is super poor. America! America!