Tax Me, Please!
In case a recent suggestion that most Americans are exempt from income tax failed to solidify this writer’s reputation as one of the world’s great Liberty Lunatics, I will now moveon to the voluntary nature of the national Ponzi Scheme, Social Security, in an effort to cinch the title.
Voluntary? It’s a tax, right?
Well, sort of.
It’s a tax for which you volunteer. No law requires you to volunteer. But SS has been made out to be a compulsory sweet deal, a wonderful act of both compassion and self-interest. We rush to sign up. Registration is simple and free! Just fill out an application for a number, a form SS-5. Then ask your employer to take your contribution out of your pay with a form W-4 “Withholding Request.” Now go about your business like a loyal Enron employee and wait for your cushy retirement, free health care and free drugs.
You might wonder why there are no applications involved with other laws — laws that burden us with property taxes, for instance, or those against robbery or assault. It’s because obeying those laws isn’t voluntary.
Take a look on this Social Security Administration web page: www.ssa.gov/pubs/10023.html. Click on the question, “Must my child have a Social Security Number?”
The short answer is, “No.” The longer answer, written ever so persuasively, is, “No. But it is a very good idea to apply for a number right after your baby is born. Getting a Social Security number for your newborn is voluntary.” It may be a good idea, but not necessarily for your baby.
And newborns aren’t the only citizens for whom having a SSN is voluntary. In a 1997 letter, Charles H. Mullen, an associate commissioner in the SSA’s Office of Public Inquiries, states: “The Social Security Act does not require a person to have an SSN to live and work in the United States, nor does it require an SSN simply for the purpose of having one....”
So why do employers, bankers and bureaucrats badger us for our numbers at every opportunity? They are required by law to ask. What they don’t know, and what the IRS is loath to tell them, is that no one is required to have a number. If we don’t provide a number, those who ask for it are supposed to fill out a form saying they didn’t get one. The procedure is in the regs (26 CFR 301.6109-1(c).) Employers don’t know about it. Since the IRS isn’t obliged to tell anyone, they don’t. They count on their two most reliable goons, Fear and Ignorance, to secure our obedience.
Like the income tax, the Federal Contributions Insurance Act is mandatory where Congress has unquestioned jurisdiction, namely, in U.S. Territories. The code defines “Employment” as “any service...performed within the United States...” It then defines “The United States ... for purposes of this chapter ...” as “...Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.” No mention of any of the 50 states where most Americans live.
In U.S. territories where the Constitution doesn’t protect people from tyranny, the tax is a tax. For Americans it’s a “contribution.” We volunteer for it when we apply for our number and fill out our W-4 “Request for Withholding.”
The chance that young taxpayers will discover they can opt out of Social Security terrifies the political class. That’s why every clerk in every financial transaction has been dragooned into spying on us. It’s why the feds want to give the false impression that there is no escape. It’s not terrorists that the political class fears. Terrorism provides an excuse to disarm us and watch us like poodles on the lawn. What brings on a sickening wave of panic in a lawmaker or career bureaucrat is the prospect of working citizens slipping off their harnesses and getting clean away.
Would this theoretical citizen of the future be guilty of a crime? Parents didn’t number her at birth. She was home schooled and paid cash in her first jobs. She then pursues a career in a geeky computer science market on the web. When she must, she cheerfully signs a form saying she has never applied for a SSN, and doesn’t intend to. She also doesn’t plan to apply for any benefits. With no law requiring a number, she is breaking no law. But she will surely be labeled a criminal by a system desperate to keep her hitched up to the gravy train.
She is the kind of person that scares the hell out of politicians. She has Democrats itching to take the “Trust Fund” to the casinos of Wall Street. Republicans are so scared they’ve suggested trusting people with some of their own money. Things must be much worse than anyone will admit.
Social Security has been a sweet deal for early generations of participants, returning them many times what they put in. Even people retiring today will most likely collect more than they paid. But people in their 30’s will never recover their “contributions.” Boomers like me will shear our grand children and their children like sheep. Today’s twenty-somethings, teens and toddlers cannot possibly collect more than a fraction of what they will pay to keep us geezers in hospitals, replacement parts and Viagra.
According to official government websites, millions of American workers do not participate in Social Security. As younger generations toiling in the dank salt mines beneath the world’s largest pyramid scheme find out they can put down their shovels and walk away, they probably will. Wouldn’t you?