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The First Law of Parasites

April 13th, 2011 by Myrhaf · 19 Comments · Business, Culture, Politics

It is amusing to see someone get excited about an IRS refund. He dances around and shouts, “I got $2,000! Partyyyyyy!!!”

Hey, you really screwed the government, huh?

Shmuck. The IRS loves to “give” you that money. Every refund represents a happy sheep.

It’s the First Law of Parasites: Don’t kill the host. That refund check is emotional fuel that keeps the producer working while the government bleeds him drop after drop, month after month…

Politicians love to give money away (not their money, yours). That’s why deductions are so complicated. All those deductions represent different pressure groups.

My California taxes include a category called Turkish Ottoman Empire Settlement. I didn’t take that deduction. I’ve always been cool with the Ottoman Empire. If a politicians suggested doing away with this category — because, you know, California is broke — he would lose Armenian-Americans. No politician wants to anger a pressure group.

The state is the great fiction by which everybody seeks to live at the expense of everybody else. — Frederic Bastiat

Deductions are also social engineering. You thought that was just something that happened in horrible totalitarian states like the USSR? Comrade, we must create Homo Sovieticus! All those housing deductions come from some idea that every American should own a home. Homo Americanus.

Somewhere, dead or alive, is the statist genius who thought up payroll tax withholding. If Americans had to write a check on April 15th for the full amount of the taxes they pay, there would be blood on the streets. Instead, with payroll tax withholding, they never see the money. They don’t miss the money because they never get it. The blood stays off the streets, and drips instead to the IRS. The man or woman who invented payroll tax withholding deserves a spot in the Wesley Mouch Bureaucrat Hall of Fame.

What does the worker see every year? A big fat refund check! The government gave me money! Oh, happy happy joy joy!

So go ahead, be happy to get your refund. It’s your money, you worked for it. But spare us the Happy Sheep Dance.

19 Comments so far ↓

  • Harvey Morrell

    Somewhere, dead or alive, is the statist genius who thought up payroll tax withholding.

    That happy statist was Milton Friedman.

  • John Sheahan

    This evaluation of the income tax system is concise and to the point regardless of whether it applies to the United States, Canada or any other supposedly free country. Well said. John Sheahan.

  • Myrhaf

    That is astonishing, Harvey.

    Thanks, John.

  • L-C

    “If Americans had to write a check on April 15th for the full amount of the taxes they pay, there would be blood on the streets.”

    Exactly. This works on victims that are concrete bound. It’s elementary school easy to figure out that there’s no difference between manual and automatic payments, but without principles, even adults won’t care since it “feels” different. There’s a certain school that says that if it feels different, it IS different. Many people enroll and graduate from there without knowing it.

    These are adults that are otherwise capable of holding jobs, maintaining a home and managing personal finances. But pragmatists are easy to dupe. You can dismantle a whole country of them by staying vaguely below their fuzzy radar.

  • C. August

    “The blood stays off the streets, and drips instead to the IRS.”

    It’s the Matrix. We’re fed nutrients and happy dreams, while our energy feeds the State.

    Good post, Myrhaf.

  • Inspector

    Good post!

    I like the poking at the fact of how concrete bound most people are. There is really so much that our government gets away with because everyone can’t (or doesn’t) think about what goes on.

    Really, the welfare state operates on the same premise. If it were clearly identified for what it is: not charity, but robbery which is then glossed over with really bad, inefficient charity, I don’t think it would last ten minutes.

    But because there are abstractions involved, like “taxes,” so that it actually requires a bit of thought and insight to call a spade a spade, they just get away with it.

  • c andrew

    Myrhaf,
    I’ve always thought that if tax day was on October 31st that subsequent November 2nd’s would bring an entirely different outcome. I don’t think it is an accident that taxday is antipodal to election day.

  • madmax

    Milton Friedman thought up the withholding tax as a way to finance WWII. Lovely. At least he regrets it. I guess that counts.

    It was also Friedman and Greenspan that talked Reagan out of abolishing the Federal Reserve Bank during his first year as President. Goodness knows what bullshit reasons they gave him.

    Friedman I can excuse. He was never philosophical. But Greenspan? That man is worse than 100 Paul Krugmans.

  • Some Odds and Ends Reading « Let's Get Political

    […] people to “The New Clarion”, a blog that is staffed by a number of contributors. The article of interest today speaks about the folly of dancing around with your refund check in hand thinking that you […]

  • Stephen Macklin

    I almost got my tax extortion right this year. After using the federal refund to pay the state I had positive balance of about $400.00. Not bad but it could be closer to zero.

  • Brianna

    Don’t be too harsh on Friedman for helping with the automatic withdrawl system. It was during WWII, and he always said afterward that while he wished he hadn’t been involved in it, he also said he didn’t know how else America would have gotten the money to pay for the war.

  • madmax

    Don’t be too harsh on Friedman for helping with the automatic withdrawl system. It was during WWII, and he always said afterward that while he wished he hadn’t been involved in it, he also said he didn’t know how else America would have gotten the money to pay for the war.

    Fair point. But as I understand it, Friedman (along with Greenspan) also helped talk Reagan out of abolishing the FED, which is what Reagan wanted to do when he was first elected.

  • Michael

    that actually raises a question to those who suggest we fund government voluntarily. How do you propose to pay for government funding during a war without increasing taxes?

  • JackDoitCrawford

    And you forgot to mention that these idiots who are happy about getting a refund have just recouped an interest-free loan they gave the government.

  • Bill Brown

    Today’s Urban Dictionary Word of the Day is intaxication.

  • Antacid

    For what it’s worth, getting a refund is better than finding out you owe more money when you thought you were already getting robbed blind.

  • Inspector

    Kind of? I mean it’s better if you’re short on liquid funds. But “owing” them is better inasmuch as it means they weren’t holding onto your money all year interest free.

    Since they don’t pay a cent of interest, it’s technically better if you were to not pay them anything at all, and then the lump sum in April. Which is another reason they don’t do that. Interest-free money.

  • Antacid

    I understand what you’re saying and why. I am not having taxes deducted out of my paychecks (well, as close little as our HR department allows). My point was about finding out that the leech wants more when you feel like it’s already sucked you dry.

  • Inspector

    It does feel bad in that way, yeah.