Comedy gold: Harry Reid on whether taxes are voluntary

posted at 12:45 pm on April 1, 2008 by Allahpundit

In which a semantic quibble is teased out into a contentious, Colbert-esque five-minute “who’s on first?” bit over whether you’ll actually go to prison if you refuse to pay your taxes. Reid’s point, as I understand it, is that taxes are “voluntary” in the sense that the taxpayer can avail himself of ways to minimize his liability — charitable donations, tax shelters, etc. A better argument is that taxes are always voluntary in a democratic country since they’re imposed by elected representatives. Don’t want to pay? Then elect Ron Paul and a Congress that’ll repeal the Sixteenth Amendment. He’s not nimble enough to make that point, though, so the Abbott and Costello routine rolls on. Third base! Click the image to watch.

reid-voluntary.jpg


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He rejects the “phraseology” that you’re “forced” to pay your taxes. You’re just not allowed to cheat and not pay them. Uh…so you are required to pay them? If not paying them amounts to “cheating” and you can be prosecuted, how are they voluntary?

amerpundit on April 1, 2008 at 12:52 PM

What a complete jacka$$

RobG on April 1, 2008 at 12:53 PM

Ever heard of the so-called Alternative Minimum Tax, Harry?

corona on April 1, 2008 at 12:53 PM

The government voluntarily forces us to pay taxes is how it should read.
Reid needs some medicine.

Geronimo on April 1, 2008 at 12:54 PM

With Dee-da-Dee Reed its April 1st 365 days a year!

dmann on April 1, 2008 at 12:54 PM

It’s hard to believe that he sits there and argues that water is not wet. Does he believe himself?

I guess his argument is that if you don’t make any money then you don’t have to pay any taxes. . . which isn’t really true either. But the federal income tax is unconstitutional.

I guess he means you don’t have to pay anything if you don’t have anything. . . unless you volunteer to pay something. Some of the people in DC are really ridiculous.

ThackerAgency on April 1, 2008 at 12:54 PM

It’s good to pay taxes
Paying taxes is optional
The IRS are there to help you
Higher taxes help your fellow man

All equal…..wealthy, power hungry, beta males that get elected for life and live off of the hard work of others.

Hening on April 1, 2008 at 12:55 PM

Talk about The Missing Link… who dusted him off???

D2Boston on April 1, 2008 at 12:56 PM

Control the meaning of words, and you control the debate…

This is SOOOOo 1984.

vol·un·tar·y /ˈvɒlənˌtɛri/ Pronunciation Key – Show Spelled Pronunciation[vol-uhn-ter-ee] Pronunciation Key – Show IPA Pronunciation adjective, noun, plural -tar·ies.
–adjective 1. done, made, brought about, undertaken, etc., of one’s own accord or by free choice: a voluntary contribution.
2. of, pertaining to, or acting in accord with the will: voluntary cooperation.
3. of, pertaining to, or depending on voluntary action: voluntary hospitals.
4. Law. a. acting or done without compulsion or obligation.
b. done by intention, and not by accident: voluntary manslaughter.
c. made without valuable consideration: a voluntary settlement

Empahsis mine…

Romeo13 on April 1, 2008 at 12:57 PM

This is the most unbelievable double talk I have ever heard.

You have to give Harry credit for sticking to his story. I can’t believe he didn’t bust out laughing.

cat-scratch on April 1, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Taxes are voluntary like my property is mine. I can own it, but the government tells me how I can use it.

petefrt on April 1, 2008 at 12:57 PM

Pretty weak argument there, Dingy. What have you been smokin’?

txsurveyor on April 1, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Hey, you have the option of paying your taxes or spending a long vacation at Hotel Grey Bar, during which time your friendly Uncle Sam will help himself to whatever of your property he thinks is his.

See, completely voluntary.

rbj on April 1, 2008 at 1:04 PM

Taxes are voluntary like my property is mine. I can own it, but the government tells me how I can use it if I quit paying taxes, the government takes it away from me and sells it to pay the taxes.

petefrt on April 1, 2008 at 12:57 PM

FIFY

txsurveyor on April 1, 2008 at 1:04 PM

He’s the perfect democrap.

Zorro on April 1, 2008 at 1:05 PM

Dear Sen. Reid,

Please make your last 5 years of tax returns available to us.

V/R
IRS

ic1redeye on April 1, 2008 at 1:07 PM

I think Reid’s point is that we have a “voluntary tax” system by the definition – which is true. He doesn’t mean that obeying the law is voluntary.

We live in a voluntary tax system based on the fact that we have elected officials and our elected officials are the ones who set up the tax system. In theory, we could elect an entire congress made up of senators and reps that think we shouldn’t have to pay any tax. Voluntary.

I hate to agree with Dingy! :(

ApartforHaShem on April 1, 2008 at 1:07 PM

Taxes are voluntary, huh? OK, Harriet, don’t pay your voluntary taxes, and see what happens to your house, and to your wages, etc. Voluntary? Sure, just like going to the Gulag was voluntary.

These political pigs in perpetuity lose all concepts of reality, once they get inside the Beltway.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 1, 2008 at 1:08 PM

Lurch has said the same stupid thing. No one can choose NOT to pay them. Look what happened recently to those who wanted to refuse.

And you know, Mr. Roosevelt said they would only be temporary, too.

dogsoldier on April 1, 2008 at 1:09 PM

That was the most amazing piece of double talk. Perhaps Harry Reid should check the docket of the federal court in his own state where a tax evasion case was recently prosecuted. I am pretty sure the defendants were exercising their rights to volutarily decide what taxes, if any, to pay. Unfortunately, the IRS and the US Attorneys had a different opinion.

HawaiiLwyr on April 1, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Sorry, but Bud Abbott makes sense!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on April 1, 2008 at 1:13 PM

What an absolute dumb ass. These idiot dems never cease to amaze me with their insane babble.

What a reflection on the utter stupidity of their constituants. I wish someone would explain to me how someone could possibly rationalize that electing this moron is a wise move.

We are in deep trouble going down the road. The brain poewer of the American electorate is sinking fast.

saiga on April 1, 2008 at 1:14 PM

FairTax,Fairtax,FairTax….Will prevent skanks like this from selling any more votes…I hope if McCain does win, he really gets behind reducing the size and power of the federal government,like Republicans always say they will, and never do. No more “Compassionate Conservatism”. I like the Neo-Libertarian movement vs. the old Libertarian Party. QandO is a great website……..Let Freedom Ring!!!!!

adamsmith on April 1, 2008 at 1:14 PM

The word of the day is confiscatory.

It is spelled C-O-N-F-I-S-C-A-T-O-R-Y.

The reason for all of the bobbing and weaving on Harry “The Body”‘s part is because he does not want to admit the Democrat party stands for higher taxes in line with a socialist agenda.

By the way……can someone show this to all of his constituents in Nevada? This guy is clueless when it comes to the Constitution!!!

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on April 1, 2008 at 1:21 PM

For the people arguing that it is voluntary because we could theoretically vote in representatives that would abolosh all taxes…can’t you see how that reasoning is a bit of a stretch? Harry himself never makes that claim himself in the video.

That scenario is, in fact, absurd. It will never happen and couldn’t even conceivably happen because the representatives would be voting against their own salaries. Taxation is forced, but that doesn’t mean it is wrong. That Harry can’t come to this mature conclusion is telling.

Dr. Manhattan on April 1, 2008 at 1:22 PM

Is Harry Reid as dumb as he sounds? I have never heard an intelligent, articulate statement out of his mouth.

bopbottle on April 1, 2008 at 1:25 PM

What I think is funny after watching some of this (computer decided it didn’t like Harry) is he kept contridicting himself.

Reminds me of the liberals who say their taxes are going to a bad war. Don’t they realize when those Soldiers aren’t in the sandbox, they pay taxes too?

Oh well.

upinak on April 1, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Harry Reid comes off as the intelligent one in the room here.

PrezHussein on April 1, 2008 at 1:31 PM

super superdelegates

Oh great, the Democrats have now created a third class of citizen?

James on April 1, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Say what! We’re doomed…..

saiga on April 1, 2008 at 1:33 PM

“Forced volunteerism”

“Shared prosperity”

“Fairness Doctrine”

“Congressional Ethics Reform”

Liberals do come up with some neat phrases.

SwampRat on April 1, 2008 at 1:34 PM

Politicians are dishonest, liberal ones are way more dishonest than the rest.

benrand on April 1, 2008 at 1:37 PM

Comic GOLD!!!

jlemieu1 on April 1, 2008 at 1:37 PM

I think Reid’s point is that we have a “voluntary tax” system by the definition – which is true. He doesn’t mean that obeying the law is voluntary. ApartforHaShem on April 1, 2008 at 1:07 PM

I hate to bring up the illegal immigration thing, but it may be appropriate as to what happens in real life.

a capella on April 1, 2008 at 1:37 PM

This reminds me of kids who are required to volunteer for community service in high school.

There is nothing better than a free and voluntary act that is required.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 1, 2008 at 1:40 PM

As if we need more proof that this clown is a Las Vegas mafia errand boy, Reid opens his stupid mouth once again.

If Democrats had any self-awareness or morals, they’d walk around with bags on their heads for getting people like Harry Reid elected.

NoDonkey on April 1, 2008 at 1:42 PM

Don’t forget – the Party logo is an ass.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 1, 2008 at 1:45 PM

If A=B and B=C, then A=C

Lars Larson always says:
If you try to escape paying taxes, they’ll put you in prison. If you try to escape from prison, they’ll shoot you. Therefore, taxes are basically collected from us “at the point of a gun.”

But I guess we could always launder our money through shady land deals…

innominatus on April 1, 2008 at 1:49 PM

In my phrase-ology, while ducking sniper fire in Tusla, and preventing my kids from “being punished with a child” taxation is voluntary though I guess “it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.” — Bill Clinton

PatriotPete on April 1, 2008 at 1:53 PM

You are forced to pay taxes, unless of course you are an illegal alien. I think Reid was just confused who the audience was.

tarpon on April 1, 2008 at 1:56 PM

Sure, we elected the representatives who imposed the tax, but once imposed it is no longer voluntary. You pay or go to jail, it’s really just that simple.

If everything decided elected officials is voluntary, then we also have voluntary life imprisonment for third felony, voluntary minimum sentencing, and voluntary reporting of child abuse. The whole idea of a voluntary tax system smacks of some elementary school propaganda that some people have trouble letting go of.

pedestrian on April 1, 2008 at 1:58 PM

Voting does not make anything “voluntary”. Voting is an initiation of force … by the majority against the minority.

Which is why hard-core Libertarians cannot participate in elections, except to vote against measures.

Something the Ron-droids should have remembered … you are violating Zero Aggression by endorsing Ron …. snicker.

Kristopher on April 1, 2008 at 2:03 PM

The worst curse I can think of:

“May Harry Reid get in trouble with the IRS.”

N. O'Brain on April 1, 2008 at 2:12 PM

This might be the dumbest thing Harry Reid has ever said.

Until next week, when he will once again top his latest idiocy.

cs89 on April 1, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Wonder if the defense can use him as an expert witness at a tax evasion trial?

obladioblada on April 1, 2008 at 2:36 PM

It is a matter of what is your definition of
“is”.

Johan Klaus on April 1, 2008 at 2:41 PM

So, from the Democrats’ perspective, the country’s problem is that the “rich” (per Obama, any family earning over $75k) aren’t volunteering enough of their income?

obladioblada on April 1, 2008 at 2:42 PM

According to dimwit Harry Reid… DEATH must be voluntary as well! Of course it is Harry. Let’s test the system you retarded mental midget. Here’s to the hope that Harry chokes to death on his tongue someday. On camera. For all to see and celebrate.

Griz on April 1, 2008 at 2:56 PM

I don’t like that word.

- The Cat

MirCat on April 1, 2008 at 3:17 PM

This is one of our leaders.

Wade on April 1, 2008 at 3:34 PM

One of the comments at the site said to “tax wealth”. Here is another idiot. To accumulate wealth, you would have had to have some income, which got taxed. Any growth (dividend income, capital gains, etc.) on your wealth is taxed. Does that mean he wants to levy a tax on the remaining wealth? If that is what he is talking about, then your wealth will soon disappear.

Why save for your retirement? All these people see is money out there in savings, homes, land ownership, etc., and they want a piece of it.

cjs1943 on April 1, 2008 at 3:48 PM

I love the part at about 2:27 were Harry looks left and says to himself..huh?

I have an idea, lets do away with 90% of the IRS and pay through with holding, adjusted taxes on each paycheck or income interval, then at the end of the year we send in claims for reimbursement (like deductions), all tax payers, pay as they go.

Of course that might not be voluntary anymore.

Speakup on April 1, 2008 at 3:59 PM

The comment on the link is basically correct. While paying taxes is mandatory, our system of taxation is considered voluntary in that the taxpayer computes his own tax liablity and sends it in, rather than the government telling you how much to pay. A different and non standard use of the word voluntary for sure but Taxation 101 for we accountants!

I know it’s boring but…

Ann on April 1, 2008 at 4:06 PM

Man is he creepy.

Buttercup on April 1, 2008 at 4:27 PM

This is like saying we have a voluntary dictatorship. Can’t you make any argument, in favor of or opposed to, on the basis of “what the people elect to represent them in government”?

This is a new form of spin I will gladly use from now on. Mega dittos Senator Reid.

gabriel sutherland on April 1, 2008 at 4:28 PM

the taxpayer computes his own tax liablity and sends it in, rather than the government telling you how much to pay

Ann on April 1, 2008 at 4:06 PM

I’m sure you are correct in accountant language, but…

In the real world, when the govt. sends you forms stating if you made X, you owe us Y, or go to jail for tax evasion, the word “voluntary” does not leap to one’s mind.

cs89 on April 1, 2008 at 4:30 PM

It’s scary to think that this is the Leader of the Senate!
Mormon! ack– I mean, Moron! Voluntary, yes, in the sense that you voluntarily obey the laws or else you will go to jail. If you knew absolutely that there would be no penalty for not paying your taxes, would you hand over your money to the federal government every payday? If the answer is no, then you have just proved the system is NOT voluntary.

gajaw999 on April 1, 2008 at 4:41 PM

I even expected Reid to argue that individuals do not withhold their taxes, but rather the employers of the individuals withhold them on behalf of the individual.

So basically income taxes are voluntary as much as working is voluntary.

gabriel sutherland on April 1, 2008 at 4:55 PM

The only thing more stupid than this interview is the dense idiot in the moustache conducting it.

Dave Rywall on April 1, 2008 at 5:12 PM

Taxation is voluntary in the sense that you the people have agreed that taxes are necessary. Enforcement of taxation obviously has the threat of prosecution behind it. So it’s both at the same time. Moustache guy is a pinhead.

Dave Rywall on April 1, 2008 at 5:13 PM

So since we have deductions and are forced to pay a tax accountant to file the forms correctly, lest I face prosecution, therefore I am volunteering to pay taxes. I can’t say no so it’s voluntary. That clears it up.

“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”

Johnny Rotten

ronsfi on April 1, 2008 at 5:18 PM

Just when you start to believe the man can no longer amaze you…

BLAM

and you are amazed all over again.

Hog Wild on April 1, 2008 at 5:42 PM

“You don’t go to jail. Some people go to jail.” – Quoting Reid in a span of 3 seconds. What a dolt.

oakpack on April 1, 2008 at 6:01 PM

What a lightweight!!! Harry Reid can’t even construct a coherent sentence!!

This is an example of a politician who keeps getting elected simply because his home state neighbors don’t want him living next to them!!!

landlines on April 1, 2008 at 6:26 PM

landlines on April 1, 2008 at 6:26 PM

Thanks! I currently live in NV, and have been looking for the silver lining. Hey, as long as Harry is spending most of his time in D.C., he ain’t here!

cs89 on April 1, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Never in my life have I ever heard anything so ridiculous coming from an adult. I’ve heard that type of reasoning coming from a five year old but not one of our country’s top “leaders”. Do the constituents in Nevada all have their heads in the sand regarding this fool’s ability to actually debate anything. Is he actually listening to what he’s saying? The only thing his argument proves is that he has no grasp of reality. Does anyone remember Clinton’s statement of “Mandatory Volunteerism” in the 1990s? What is our country becoming? Our leaders are clueless boobs and Harry Reid needs to be institutionalized!

Poway on April 1, 2008 at 6:29 PM

Wow…words elude me.

bagadeez04 on April 1, 2008 at 7:31 PM

He’s a liberal Democrat. To them, everything which is not forbidden, is mandatory. They’re not accustomed to explaining this principle in any further detail.

Doctor Zero on April 1, 2008 at 7:56 PM

I am glad to know that taxes are voluntary. I will volunteer
no more. Wait, who is that at the door……..

Johan Klaus on April 1, 2008 at 7:57 PM

What are farce this man is !!! Mr. Hipocrite… How did this man ever get elected? Was his Mother in charge of counting the ballots?…Only a face a Mother can love….

This topic about how are taxes are voluntary is synonymous with the Democratic party being conservative..Of course, we haven’t heard Mr.Hipocrite’s meaning of the word voluntary.
Ask any American if the Tax code is voluntary, not Mr. Hipocrite, then see what the answer is…

rdpostsr on April 1, 2008 at 8:32 PM

WTF how are taxes not voluntary???? Forget the complete idiocy and incoherence of the interview.

As an American citizen you already agree that taxes are necessary to pay for things for the common good. That their collection is backed by laws doesn’t make them forced upon you. How do you pay for the military or bridges or Bush’s salary? You’ve already all agreed with your votes that there have to be taxes collected and therefore to kick into the pot to pay for these things. It’s a completely voluntary system.

Dave Rywall on April 1, 2008 at 8:59 PM

The entire conversation is almost an excerpt from Atlas Shrugged.

atlas shrugged on April 1, 2008 at 11:58 PM

He is a big supporter of the “Flat Head” tax. It’s basically where the tax payer only pays 10 percent of his or her earning, 10 times.

2Tru2Tru on April 2, 2008 at 2:03 AM

Not just taxes, but all gov’t law is enforced at the point of a gun. Period. If you do not comply with the law, eventually the gov’t sends someone carrying a gun to find you. If you refuse to submit then that person (usually several such people) will draw their guns and point them at you which any rational human being would consider a threat to one’s life. POINT OF A GUN.

I’m not saying that is wrong, just that people need to appreciate the reality. If I were king for a day, I would require that every law Congress passes begins with the phrase: “Under threat of death at the point of a gun, we hereby agree to restrict the freedoms of the American people as follows: ” That would make the legislators, media and the people a lot more aware of how important it is to minimize government in our lives and save it just for the required duties in the Constitution and the true necessities for society to peacefully function.

deepdiver on April 2, 2008 at 8:00 AM

I’m going to try to tackle this but I just got done listening to Reid and my IQ is temporarily 40 points down right now.. a cup of coffee and a ball peen hammer ought to bring it back up…

The comment on the link is basically correct. While paying taxes is mandatory, our system of taxation is considered voluntary in that the taxpayer computes his own tax liablity and sends it in, rather than the government telling you how much to pay. A different and non standard use of the word voluntary for sure but Taxation 101 for we accountants!

real world speak, no matter what, it is forced.. if you make more, you pay more in taxes.. you can always ‘volunteer’ to pay extra.. but it is mandatory..

Dingy Harry was comparing the US system to other countries.. and in certain other countries, female circumcision is ‘voluntary’ as well..

DaveC on April 2, 2008 at 11:14 AM

POINT OF A GUN.

Thank you Ayn Rand.. for that quote..

DaveC on April 2, 2008 at 11:15 AM

The taxes are mandatory metaphor: It’s like a group of friends ordering a pizza and then when it arrives you say HEY WAITAMINUTE YOU GUYS ARE FORCING ME TO EAT THE PIZZA. THAT WE ORDERED.

As a member of American society you have given permission to the government to collect taxes from you and you have agreed to follow the rules by which taxes are collected. In other words, your participation in the collection of taxes is VOLUNTARY.

Dave Rywall on April 2, 2008 at 11:55 AM

Dave Rywall:As an American citizen you already agree that taxes are necessary to pay for things for the common good.

No you see my signature on a contract volunteering to pay tax? Nope.

If voting in the minority means I “volunteered” for the majority decision, can I decline to volunteer by not voting?

Or are you going to spew some non-sense about “volunteering” to live in America?

Wrong. Taxes are not voluntary. Abiding by the decision of the majority of the legislature in a Republic in certainly not voluntary.

You can only obey, or you can flee the country, or you can become an outlaw.

Kristopher on April 2, 2008 at 1:25 PM

Ultimately, all voting is an act of aggression, and an initiation of the use of force.

One should vote damned carefully.

Kristopher on April 2, 2008 at 1:28 PM

They are voluntary… vote (D) and your taxes go up.

DANEgerus on April 9, 2008 at 1:55 PM