Why Do we Have to Pay Certain Taxes?

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying “Only two things in this life are certain: death and taxes.” Sadly, we can’t fix the first, but what about the second? Why are taxes “certain” instead of optional? If you remember, the American Revolution was started because the colonists were aggravated about “taxation without representation,” that is, the concept that they had no representatives in Parliament but were forced to pay taxes to the British Government. So, why didn’t we just toss the concept out when the country was created? We’re going to explore that a little further today.

Efficiency is the key word when it comes to taxes. Yes, it is common knowledge that the IRS doesn’t seem too efficient, and all those silly forms you need to find and fill out aren’t exactly simple. But, it’s an efficient way for the government to get funding. Imagine this: The federal government has to scrape money from the states, which are supported by donations and other public funding. We all have heard how much of a disaster some non-profit organizations go through because of fund raising. Imagine if our government depended on it at the same time?

Well, we tried to do this in a similar manner before the Constitution was ratified. It was under a system known as the Articles of Confederation. Now, a Confederacy has a set of characteristics that includes a weak central government and strong state governments. Therefore, the system was very similar to what has been described above. The government could ask the states for money, but they couldn’t demand it, and the states could ask their individuals for taxes, but didn’t have to. The government was slowly falling apart and countries like Britain were just waiting for the disaster to unfold. And that’s why we needed to bring taxes into everything.