From time immemorial, divide et impera (divide and rule) has been used to break populations into small manageable groups so they are unable to resist those in power. This strategy is working well in establishing and maintaining government revenue streams.
Proposals to reform or abolish the IRS and the present tax code are hot issues in the current election cycle. Clearly, many Americans think it is time for a change and the politicians are individually hoping their respective plan will be the key to elected office. But all we hear are plans involving income taxes, payroll taxes, corporate taxes and sales taxes, along with endless debates concerning the merits of each plan. A real problem with reforming these taxes is that everyone is afraid their own ox will be gored. So while attention is on debating these plans, the hidden taxes imposed on our citizenry go untouched.
While few people enjoy paying taxes, most citizens realize they are required to fund our necessary government expenses. The problem is that many of our necessary government expenses are no longer funded by the taxes politicians are proposing to reform. Fees charged to people that must use them fund many essential government services. Among these are license fees, permit fees, inspection fees, use fees, turnpike fees, court costs, the list is long. This frees large sums generated by taxation on the general populace to go toward government largess, since many government agencies are dependent on revenues they generate through fees. You guessed it! When these agencies fall short on revenue they raise fees, most often by administrative fiat from bureaucrats with no accountability to the voters. As a revenue stream this system is preferred by government agencies because it removes the pesky need for voter approval and shields elected officials from voters when revenues are increased.
I know! I know! The standard rationalization for this system is that the people who use the services should pay for them. Remember “divide et impera.” When government is allowed to divide the people into small groups for the purposes of specific taxation, special fees, or anything else, we all eventually lose. Real tax reform will come when all government services and agencies are funded solely by general taxes levied on all citizens with their consent. “Of the people, by the people, and for the people.”