Feb 122009

Evidently, in the opinion of Harry Reid (D), Senate Majority Leader, paying taxes in the US is voluntary, whereby ‘voluntary’ means ‘your employer doesn’t withhold the full amount owed.’ Because you can cheat on your taxes, says he, the American taxation system must be described as voluntary. He contrasts this with ‘many European countries’ where the full amount owed is withheld by employers. Because in ‘many European countries’ people do not file their own income tax returns, those systems must be described as forced taxation.

The interviewer really sticks it to him at 2.20. And what, may I ask, is this word ‘phrase-ology?’


  3 Responses to “The new meaning of ‘voluntary’”

  1. Weasel words!

  2. Erm, I worked for several decades and never had to send a check to the Feds/State because my multiple employers always took out five to ten percent more than even the 1040E (no listed deductions) said was required.

    And our system is voluntary in just the same way as those European systems – politicians voted for them, they were [generally] not forced to do so.

    Voluntary? I do not think that word means what Reid claims it does.

  3. How much your employers withhold rather depends, I think. My employers never withheld enough, and every year I found myself sending off cheques to the IRS of several hundred dollars.

    To be perfectly honest, I understand what Reid is trying to say (although he’s doing a dreadful job of getting his point across). If Americans don’t want to pay taxes, they can vote for politicians who run on a no-tax platform. The only problem with his thesis (which, I freely admit, I do him the service of imputing) is that there aren’t any politicians who run on a no-tax platform, except for maybe Ron Paul. And why would there be? They’d be voting themselves out of a salary.

    Thus negating this whole ‘voluntary’ business. Where there is no choice, there is also no free will.

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