Your Double Life

Let's all be honest here.  It's time to fully come clean on this scandal -- that's right -- the gig is up -- time to acknowledge the fact that you're living double life.  I'm not here to judge you (hey, we're all in the same boat) -- rather just to point out what everyone is bound to figure out anyway.  If your significant other is clueless about it, don't worry -- I won't say anything -- filling him or her in on the details is up to you. 

There's no need to feel ashamed or embarrassed about this -- on the contrary, you should be thoroughly outraged!  You start your work day early.  You work extremely hard to provide for yourself and your family.  It may require a 2nd job, or maybe your spouse has to work full-time as well in order to make ends meet.  What ever it takes, right?  You pay your bills, you pay your taxes -- you pay your taxes.

From this day forward, every time you make a purchase, take a moment to think about those Doublemint Twins from the Wrigley's commercials of years past.  No, I'm not saying your breath stinks; I just want you to think about the fact that you have your own twin right there with you every time you buy that new house, or car, food, clothing, that college education for your kids, or even that vacation you've worked so hard for.  Every time you go out and spend your hard-earned money, just be aware that your twin is in essence right there with you buying the exact same things with the other half of your money.  Don't you think you should get to keep more of what you earn?

You say you don't want or need to have twice the number of all of those wonderful things that you already possess -- that you're happy with what you already have.  Fair enough, but what about your time, your life -- don't you deserve to keep more of it?  Think about it.  You wouldn't have to put in all of that extra overtime.  You wouldn't have to work that 2nd job.  Just making ends meet wouldn't require dual incomes.  None of this would be necessary unless of course it was something that you chose to do for yourself and your family.  What would you do with all of that extra time?  Freedom -- what a concept.

Most will agree that some taxes are necessary in order for our government to provide the basic services as outlined in the U.S. Constitution.  But government left unchecked and unrestrained will always find justification for its continued growth, and as we (and those in the EU) are sadly coming to realize, that continued growth is unsustainable and will eventually lead to the bubble-popping if not reversed.  Unfortunately, it is much easier to teach a five-year-old the economics of why it's impossible to go to Disney Land every other day than it is to teach a politician these simple, historically verifiable economic facts.

Thanks to the new media, many are finally starting to ask some tough questions, and the answers are out there for those who care to look for them.  Unfortunately, many are unwilling to even look.  Paul Kengor did a wonderful job with his discussion on this topic as well as provided some good research in his recent American Thinker article:

If you Google the words "Who pays income tax?" you will find a chart (click here) from the National Taxpayers Union.  It includes these telling statistics:

The top 1% of income earners pay 38% of all federal tax revenue.  The top 5% pay 59%.  The top 10% pay 70%.  The top 25% pay 86%.  The top 50% pay 97.3%.  Conversely, the bottom 50% pay merely 2.7% of all federal tax revenue.

As the data shows, the rich are certainly paying their fair share.  In fact, they pay the vast share.  The poorest Americans, conversely, pay literally nothing in income taxes.

Unfortunately, the tax story doesn't end there with income taxes.  To find out the true burden of taxes placed upon all of us as Americans, we must add in all of the other taxes and regulations that we incur.  Those include the ones that we're aware of, such as sales taxes, and also those that are hidden from us.  The burdens of those hidden taxes that we all pay are enormous, as this IPI report discusses.  And according to this Americans for Tax Reform study, in 2011, the average American had to work until August 12 to cover the full burden of taxes and regulations placed upon him or her by all of government.  That is 27 days longer than 2008.  Chew on that one for a little while.

While all of this frustrates me to no end, what really has me seeing double is knowing that the poor and middle class are misled to the point where they actually think the "rich" (AKA job-creators) are getting the shaft without realizing that that very same shaft actually comes right back around and impales the non-rich as well.  And more often than not, each "shafting" creates more than one wound.

A perfect example is corporate taxes; these costs of doing business are simply passed on to the consumer through higher-priced goods and services.  If global competition doesn't allow for the taxes to be fully passed on, then American jobs end up being shipped overseas in order to make up the difference.  Who really gets hurt in this scenario?

The twin Ponzi schemes of Social Security and Medicare are two more examples.  Yes, you have to pay half of these taxes, but at least your employer gets "shafted" for the other half -- right?  Wrong!  Employers care only about the total cost of your employment.  Whether or not it goes into your pocket or Uncle Sam's really changes nothing on their bottom line.  Who has gum stuck on his shoes now?

Oops, I thought I was done, but I forgot about (QE) quantitative easing.  QE-1 and QE-2 were the genius ideas of printing money that we didn't really have in order to pay for the bills that the government couldn't pay for (talk about doubling-your-pleasure).  In reality, QE is just a stealth tax that makes every dollar that we earn or have sitting in the bank worth less than it was worth before.  Does this hurt only the rich?

Forget about the Doublemint Twins; I think my original analogy may have been a tad-bit off.  If we were to fully look at every single burden that our government places upon us, I have a sneaking suspicion that it would be a little more realistic if we were to add one or two more twins (don't get any ideas, Hef) and to state that we're all living a double-double life.  In that case, you could actually-- quadruple-your-pleasure?  

It's hard to believe that our current president actually thinks we should be paying more than we already are.  Isn't human cloning illegal?

Scott Mayer blogs at