Video: Reid says taxes “voluntary”
posted at 10:15 am on July 26, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Via McQ, we present a mind-bender of an interview of Harry Reid by Jan Helfeld. It appears to be a few years old, but it’s worth a flashback only to see Reid get outboxed in almost every way possible by Helfeld on a simple point: taxes are extracted from taxpayers by threat of force. Helfeld objects to redistributionism, but instead of answering that point, Reid tries to argue that taxes are voluntary:
Reid reveals himself to be a clueless fool in the course of less than five minutes. He argues that European systems use force by withholding all of their income taxes through the employer … which the US does as well. Reid senses defeat on this point, albeit belatedly, and then tries to argue that deductions make the system voluntary. Helfeld asks him several times what treatment Americans can expect if they start treating their tax obligations as voluntary, and Reid tries to insist that it doesn’t necessarily lead to prison — the government could just fine the hell out of them. First.
Here’s the right answer, of course:
American laws get promulgated by representative democracy and enforced by freely-elected executives. All law enforcement comes with the threat of force, obviously; laws against murder, theft, fraud, and so on get enforced by the same threat of force as tax evasion, which is the force run by freely-elected government. Tax policy can be changed through elections. To speak of tax law as somehow separate from all other law is a rhetorical diversion.
Feel free to use that any time, Harry, since it’s obvious you can’t argue your own way out of a paper bag. The saddest part of this is that the man who runs half of Congress couldn’t think of this himself.