Just two weeks after the revelation that Switzerland conducted a spying mission in Germany in 2012, the neighbouring nations signed an agreement to stop all such espionage. The two countries concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to forbid each country’s intelligence service from carrying out espionage activities against the other.
From now on, Switzerland will tell the German government if it wishes to conduct an anti-crime operation in Germany, and vice-versa. The news comes two weeks after German prosecutors arrested a Swiss man identified as Daniel M. in Frankfurt for carrying out espionage activities since 2012.
Switzerland later confirmed that the man worked for the Swiss federal intelligence service (FIS). The man’s mission was to identify German tax investigators who purchased CDs containing details of bank account holders in foreign tax havens such as Switzerland.
The information provided helped Swiss authorities file charges against three German tax inspectors for breaching Swiss banking laws and economic espionage. His espionage activities took place before the negotiations for the anti-spying agreement.
Swiss MP Corina Eichenberger, vice-president of a delegation that supervises the FIS, told us that such counter-espionage was part of the intelligence service’s remit and that this operation was carried out within the law.
The issue of the tax cheat CDs has upset Swiss-German relations in the past. Since 2006, German states have paid millions to unknown sources for the CDs, resulting in a major crackdown on tax cheats.
Many of Germany’s rich and powerful have had to issue public apologies for stashing away their wealth abroad, while many others have been compelled to come forward and report their accounts abroad, pay back taxes on the interest earned plus a fine.
However things have changed considerably since then and such tax cheat CDs are no longer necessary. In 2015 Switzerland made efforts to end banking secrecy by agreeing to the automatic exchange of information on bank accounts held by foreigners in Switzerland.
Atlas upon seeing that the greater his effort, the heavier the world bores down on his shoulders, he simply shrugs. We have a dystopian Occident, where capitalists refuse to be exploited by increasing taxation and regulations and disappear offshore. Yes, capitalists are on strike! They are stopping the motor of the world by withdrawing their minds that drive growth and productivity. Capitalists demonstrate that a world in which the individual is not free to create is doomed, civilization cannot exist where capitalists are slaves of kleptocrats, and the destruction of the profit motive leads to the collapse of society. Atlas shrugged!
Taxes, especially VAT, feed the underground economy. It is your patriotic duty to evade taxes, especially VAT, all the way! Taxation causes an enormous and unnecessary dead-weight loss to the economic system. The sheer cost and time burden of businesses and individuals trying to comply with the tax system, let alone the cost of myriad bureaucrats who claim to be administrating it, waste trillions of euros. This waste of resources unnecessarily reduces economic growth and job creation. A major reason this obscenity persists is that few kleptocrats think seriously about the consequences of what they have done and are doing, or just don’t care.
America mourns more than a century of enslavement to Washington through taxation. In 1913, the 16th Amendment was established, which reads: The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
The Law That Never Was: The Fraud of the 16th Amendment and Personal Income Tax is a 1985 book by William J. Benson and Martin J. “Red” Beckman which claims that the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, commonly known as the income tax amendment, was never properly ratified.
Benson found variations in wording, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization in the language of the Amendment as ratified by many states. Those states did not properly ratified the Amendment. Benson further found documents suggesting that some states that had been certified as having ratified the Amendment never voted to ratify it, or voted against ratification. Benson found that only four states had properly ratified the Amendment!
President Woodrow Wilson signed into law later that year the first income tax permitted by the new amendment. Tax due was to be calculated and reported on Form 1040 (form numbers were assigned sequentially by the Bureau of Internal Revenue). The form contained four pages—one each for instructions, gross income, deductions, and the income worksheet. The tax was progressive in nature. Taxable income was gross income less deductions and either a $3,000 (single) or $4,000 (married) exemption.
1913 Tax Schedule
|Taxable Income||Tax Rate|
|Over $20,000 up to $50,000||1% plus|
|Over $50,000 up to $75,000||2% plus|
|Over $75,000 up to $100,000||3% plus|
|Over $100,000 up to $250,000||4% plus|
|Over $250,000 up to $500,000||5% plus|
The income tax has become much more progressive in the past thirty years, resulting in a situation in which a relatively small minority of taxpayers pay the bulk of the taxes, while most citizens pay little or any income tax. This is causing an increasing disconnect between benefits from government and what most citizens pay for. One result is a greater polarization in the political realm where a majority of citizens increasingly demand more government benefits for which they want others to pay.
All other persons and groups in society, except for acknowledged and sporadic criminals such as thieves and bank robbers, obtain their income voluntarily: either by selling goods and services to the consuming public, or by voluntary gift. Only the State obtains its revenue by coercion, by threatening dire penalties should the income not be forthcoming. That coercion is known as taxation. Taxation is theft, purely and simply, even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State’s inhabitants, or subjects.
There was no permanent income tax in the United States for 125 years. Can anyone possibly say that the government didn’t have enough revenue to function during that time? It wasn’t until the adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment in 1913 that the redistributionist road was paved for an income tax. And what benefits has the increased government revenue from the income tax given us? It is the income tax that has made possible World War I, the New Deal, World War II, the Great Society, the Vietnam War, and our current welfare-warfare state.
Every penny of our money that the government allows us to keep is a good thing, whether it results from a decrease in the tax rates, the lowering of tax brackets, or an increase in deductions, loopholes, exemptions, and credits.
The income tax system is a vast income redistribution and social engineering scheme. The income tax code doesn’t need to be simplified, shortened, fairer, or less intrusive. The income tax rates don’t need to be made lower, flatter, equal, or less progressive. The income tax doesn’t need more or larger deductions, loopholes, credits, or exemptions. The whole rotten system needs to be eliminated if we are to starve the beast that is the state leviathan and strictly limit government spending to only what is constitutionally authorized.
When an economy suffers from erectile dysfunction, via-grab does not work, but only via-cut. The via recommended is to cut taxes, not grab more taxes. There are limits to how much government can tax before it kills the host. Even worse, when government attempts to subsidize prices, it has the net effect of inflating them instead. The economic reality is that you cannot distort natural market pressures without unintended consequences. Market forces would drive prices down. Government meddling negates these pressures, adds regulatory compliance costs and layers of bureaucracy, and in the end, drives prices up.
Millions of innocent people have died of hypertension caused by agony on taxes. Millions of concerned citizens are joining modern day tea parties of the Global Tax Revolt, named after the Boston Tea Party of 1773. They are protesting governments that, in the wake of today’s financial crisis, are rapidly strangling their freedom, with endless bailouts, mounting regulations, reckless spending, and the promise of a crippling tax burden. Correctly sensing that freedom is being discarded, they seek to battle this trend by taking to the streets to register their outrage.
Government does not trickle the money down or up. Government simply spends it, almost always wastefully. There’s a simple moral and psychological explanation for this. When you’re given money, or seize money by force, in the case of taxes it’s legalized plunder, then you don’t handle that money as responsibly as you would if it were your own.
There’s no way to control wasteful government spending because government spending will always, by its nature, be largely wasteful and irresponsible. The only solution to this is to severely limit the role of government as much as possible. Lower taxes are a good thing not only because they leave wealth in the hands of the more productive; low taxes are also good, because the government has less to do.
If you think the West has been productive and prosperous up to now, just imagine how it would be if most of government as we know it went away. It’s bad enough that government takes income from the private sector and squanders it. Government is making decisions that people should be making for themselves. If something isn’t going to happen without government funds, then it quite likely should not happen in the first place. When people make decisions for themselves, they generally do a better job. And when they make a mistake, or perhaps act with deliberate irrationality, at least there are consequences for their actions. When government does something badly, it gets rewarded with more power, subsidies and control.
While everyone needs revenue, only criminals and politicians insist that they have to get it through violence. The criminals, however, do not pretend they’re doing it in order to serve the public, and taxes make politicians public masters rather than public servants.
The present size of government at all levels depends on taxation – not only the explicit kind, but the invisible kind that a central bank imposes through inflation of the money supply. People probably wouldn’t voluntarily pay to bomb, invade, and occupy other countries, bail out large banks and other corporations, and try to dictate the personal choices of others. Good riddance!
Government-monopolized services such as education and health care could be provided for less than half the cost if they could be returned to the voluntary sector of society with cost-raising regulations abolished and incentives restored. Both mutual aid groups and charitable donations filled gaps prior to the rise of the Welfare State for those in need with an efficiency that is impossible when those in charge of aid get more money and power for themselves the worse the job they perform. We’ll have to take some personal responsibility for our own lives and stop using the excuse Ebenezer Scrooge made that his taxes supported institutions for the poor so he could ignore them.
It is obscene for those claiming to protect life, liberty, and property to obtain their revenue by violating life, liberty, and property. There are plenty of ways to obtain revenue without force: insurance, user fees, advertising, lotteries, and donations are already used by many local and state governments for a good portion of their revenue. Let them be true public servants and live within the means that these sources provide. People might even pay more voluntarily once they’re no longer forced to turn over 1/3 to 1/2 of their wealth to governments.
Ultimately, it is about the type of society we want to have. We can accomplish a lot voluntarily when we mutually respect each other’s lives and property. It begins by respecting the right of people to keep the fruits of their labor. A good start would be the abolition of the personal income tax, which only adds insult to the injury of theft by invading every part of the taxpayer’s privacy as well as making April a month of misery instead of a time to enjoy the spring.
With the average worker at the time earning about $1,000 a year, it was considered a reflection of being somewhat well off if you had to pay a tax. Reportedly, some 350,000 individuals were entitled to such bragging rights.