As I finished my tax returns, and sent a check to the federal government, I couldn’t help but think about all the articles I had looked through to help me maximize my “tax breaks.” Of course, the software I used ensured that I got them all. And then it really hit me — why in the world do we call them tax breaks? To do so actually concedes that our federal government is rightfully entitled to the monies and it is kindly letting me get some of it back. This, as in so many other areas, reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of a key feature of our Constitution — the federal government is one of limited, enumerated powers.
The Constitution lays out specific, delegated powers for each branch of government. Congress, which controls the purse strings, is specifically delegated approximately 18 powers in Article I of the Constitution. Congress’ authority to tax us is supposed to be tied directly to appropriating funds in order to pay for those few matters over which Congress has authority. Instead, as the federal government has grown incredibly larger and Congress oversteps its authority with almost every step it takes, we continue to pay taxes to fund things for which our federal government has no authority.
Let me give just a few examples: taxpayers fund public education, social security, and medicare even though nothing in the Constitution gives Congress authority to legislate over these matters. Of course, unless the Supreme Court properly strikes down Obama Care, we’ll soon be funding abortions as well.
So, let me close this short post with the following thought as millions rush to file their taxes tomorrow: if a thief came to my house and demanded all my belongings, yet let me keep my wedding ring because I successfully pleaded my case — would we say the thief kindly gave me a break? No, he’s a thief and deserves to go to jail! So why in the world do we say the government is giving us a tax break when it allows us to keep some of our money — almost none of which the government is entitled to in the first place? The government is the thief — when will we rein it in and, as necessary, replace it with a government that understands its proper role?