Paying Taxes: A Simple Question To Be Asked

NavyWhen I was in the Marines I was earning $314.00 a month or a little more than $10.00 a day. It was a lot of money for me at the time especially as I was in Japan some of the time and the cost of items over there was very inexpensive. The rate was 360 yen to a dollar. After the first of the year I would do my taxes and I would always end up owing some money to Uncle Sam. I did not like it because I had few dollars as it was but I wasn’t about to claim my dog as a dependant as my gunny sergeant was doing. He told me he had been doing it for years and no one ever bothered him. He belonged to the school that it was all right to do that stuff which I suppose it was until you got caught.

I did think at times when I was serving that I’d have thought being in the service entitled me to some type of deduction; after all, it seemed strange that I had to pay the guy I was working for at the same time he was paying me. I’d do the taxes for the enlisted guys who made much less than I did. They too would have a few of the few dollars they made taken from them.

One day after getting out of the service I knew a person who was friendly with this guy who had a significant income. It was long time ago so I’m not sure I’m remembering right but I think his name was Peter Stuyvesant who was one of the descendants of the original family. One day this person told me how much Stuyvesant paid in taxes which was a multiple of my yearly income. This was back around 1970 when the top tax rate was around 70%. I asked whether he was bothered that he had to pay so much. I was told that he never complained about it and thought that living in this country was worth whatever it cost.

That had a big effect on me. I stopped begrudging paying taxes and after that felt less bad about paying them. I never liked it but most years I had taken out of my pay enough money so that I did not have to pony up around April 15th.  I know some, probably a lot, of the money we pay in taxes is wasted but no matter where one lived there would be taxes and the waste would probably be the same if one lived in a civilized environment and the taxes may be higher.

By historical averages our federal taxes are low. I know for those who seem to be paying to low an amount compared to their income there is a federal alternative tax a person must pay. The idea that all should contribute to the nation’s well being in my mind is important. Even if a person only paid ten dollars it is a reminder that all what we take for granted is not cost-free; it is also a reminder that we are all in this venture together.

Imagine, then, my surprise when the other night during the presidential debate she suggested that one reason he will not release his tax return is that he does not pay any federal taxes. As she was saying that he bent forward to the microphone and said “that’s smart.”

Perhaps it is smart but do we want a guy who thinks it is smart not to chip and help our country leading the country. I don’t. Hiring skillful lawyers and accountants and using tax loopholes to avoid pitching in and obviously considering those like me and millions of others who pay taxes every year as being dumb tells me the man has no consideration for anyone other than himself.

He won’t release his tax returns because they are being audited. So we know nothing about how much income he makes or where it comes from. So be it. But one thing we should know is how much in federal taxes he pays. That won’t hurt his legal position which he offers as an excuse “my lawyers tell me not to disclose my returns while being audited.”

Let him hide behind lawyers which most crooks like doing but let us find out a minimum how much he paid in federal income taxes over the last half-dozen years. How could anyone vote for a person to occupy the highest position in the land if he won’t tell us whether he paid federal taxes and how much he paid? She must ask that question at the next debate; before that others must ask it. If a 17-year-old private in the Marines must pay taxes they we should know if a 70-year-old billionaire does.

Ask the question! Then ask why would someone vote for you to be in charge of our nation when you think it is smart not to pay for its well being.

58 thoughts on “Paying Taxes: A Simple Question To Be Asked

  1. Gentlemen: government workers do good. We agree. But their money comes from the private sector, from taxes on private workers.
    Khalid: public schools were built with tax dollars paid by the private sector.

  2. Bill:

    These government workers you mentioned create the secure physical and psychological environment in which wealth can be created. That’s especially true of teachers. Every wealth creator was once a kid.

  3. Matt, Dan: Over the lifetime, who has paid more in federal taxes? Trump or us? I’d guess Trump. So, if my guess is correct, you’d have to concede he’s “contributed” more to the country than us.

    1. Who knows? It might be us. Real estate developers get extremely generous tax breaks. TheTrump plan expands these tax breaks, so it’s not like he’s using his supposed vast knowledge of the system to plug the loopholes and create a level playing field. Releasing his tax returns would certainly shed some light on the subject.

    2. Bill:

      You jmiss the pont if you think all that is involved in contributing to the country is paying taxes. For starters I’d suggest anyone who put on the uniform of the nation contributed as much as anyone paying taxes.

  4. Nothing written here changes the fact that Trump is a freeloader. And sorry, the men and women serving in the Armed Forces do much more to preserve and enhance the nation’s wealth than a certain golf course developer. Their sacrifice enables us to operate in a reasonably free and open society where wealth can be created. Let me toss in the kichen sink by mentioning that Trump is also a draft dodger. President of the united States? Nah.

  5. Matt, government employees do a lot of good for the country (military, police, teachers, etc.) but they do not contribute to the nation’s wealth. A government employee is given a salary of $100,000; let’s say; he “pays” $20,000 in “taxes.” The net effect is that he has taken $80,000 in tax dollars. In effect, he pays nothing in taxes; he merely takes 100% government dollars in salary and returns some small percentage.
    It is from the private sector alone that the government (federal, state and local) derives all its income.

  6. Sad,Sad and mucho Sad as Matt’s life passes through
    his hippocampus as he relives his life watching it pass by
    as he readies his ego to drop his mortal coil

    and we get to relive these remembrances with him.


    in other news….

    LOCAL L.A. Now
    Prosecutors who withhold or tamper with evidence now face felony charges

    The office of Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas was removed from one of its most high-profile cases: the prosecution of mass murderer Scott Dekraai. The judge said prosecutors repeatedly violated

  7. I’ve been re-reading a lot of WWII Ilya Ehrenburg articles translated from Pravda. His agit-prop is still some of the best ever written. Ehrenburg’s emotive style used to whip Russian folks into an absolute frenzy.

    1. Khalid:

      The winters there in Russia are bleak and the sun barely gets above the horizon in some parts so to compensate for the lack of Vitamin D it is added to some vodkas. It does not take much to get the Russian people into a frenzy since they are so downtrodden pointing to others as the reason for their sad fate gives them something to get excited about.

    2. You consider direct, overt incitements to murder and rape on the basis of Race good agit-prop. I demur on moral grounds. But then I’m a Christian and Ehrenburg ‘s cultural heritage was not. He left his archives to Israel. I don’t know what you are. But there is a profound chasm between our views of right and wrong.

      1. I was commenting on the emotive quality of his urging. Whether he was a Jew, or, not, is immaterial to my observation. It’s about style. I suppose we can talk about Goebels’ fine work, instead.

        1. Khalid

          If you have time and interest, I can recommend to you and others “The Silk Roads” by Peter Frankopan. (2016) – ‘A new history of the world.’ Non euro-centric. Very different from what was and is still taught in most schools.

  8. Both the bourgeois parties serve the status quo. Both are morally bankrupt. Mainstream political parties will never topple the pyramid of privilege. They are among its’ principal supports. A paradigm shift is necessary. Social justice requires the undermining of the two-party system. Banksters and hedgefund traitors sit upon us like the haughty nobles of pre-revolutionary France. It’s time to take to the streets. People must vote with their feet. Let the greedy reap the harvest they have sown.

    1. Khalid:

      True – people must vote with their feet if by that you mean gettingout on the street and protesting. If you mean not voting then that is what the “ahughty nobles” want. I was struck by the friendship of the candidates daughters who seem to run in the same New York Circles; and also by Huma Abedin partying in Paris with one of the Bush granddaughters. Ah, they are all so connected so that no matter who won the same New York – Wall Street croewd would continue to run the country. More peopel are concerned over whether one of the Khadaians had her jewelry insured than the race for the White House. The TV has dumbed everyone down with the NFL and shows like “The View” and the daytime soaps. That is nothing new. I recall one day many years ago going to work as a prosecutor and walking by the secretaries who were all engaged in talking about someone who had been shot. I figured it happened in our county but it was someone called JR.

  9. Please! Trump wants to build up our military but expects us to pay for it because he’s “smart”? It’s ridiculous. Of course he should pay his faiir share His failure to release his tax returns is damning.

    1. Dan:

      I agree. If he wants to use the tax code to avoid paying his fair share of taxes – as yu know yu can be making billions and not paying them — then he should not be running for president of the country he refuses to support.

      1. Matt,

        Do you appreciate the different responsibilities of a company owner vs a lifetime public “servant”? What about a public servant who takes a tax deduction for used drawers? Is that ok? Just wondering where you draw the line. I know it’s silly, but I have arbitrarily decided that my line is drawn at the point where the tax code allows the deduction. Strange, right?

        1. Declan:

          Your line is correct but all those other people you talk about are not running for president and the last I knew neither were you. I look at character of a person that is why I am troubled by Trump not paying taxes or for that matter never having done any type public service in his life. (I am equally worriied about Clinton’s character.)
          In 1993 Trump went to DC and lobbied for and received a special break for real estate developers. He continually did everything in his power, legal though it may be, not to contribute to the welfare of the nation. Now he wants to be its leader. No thanks.
          You know as well as I do the tax code is written by Congress and like everything in Congress benefits the rich and powerful providing them with special favors so they can avoid paying taxes. How would you like it if the guy working next to you did not pay taxes because he lived two streets over on XYZ from you Street but also living on the street was a “connected” guy so that the tax code said “anyone living on XYZ Street, in your city who owned a house of more than two bedrooms is exempt from paying taxes.” That type of stuff actually happens. Yes, you can have that line but keep in mind it is different for different people.
          For me looking at Trump’s character I also see he used the law to go into bankruptcy and stiff hundreds of small working people who gave him their costs of labor. He was legally entitled to do this. That legally extinguished the obligation; morally it did not. At one time some people who were legally relieved of their debts felt a continuing obligation to pay off the people who had lent them money or done services for them. They never made much but would set aside some of the little money they made afterward to honor their prior commitments. Trump, allegedly a billionaire, has done nothing like that.
          Did you see the last debate? Did you hear Clinton say she had an architect in the audience who Trump stiffed out of a hundred grand? Did you hear Trump’s response: “he did a lousy job.” That’s a lot of money to that guy; it is nothing to a billionaire. You could say that about almost everyone who works for you if you want.
          So my line is simply if you want to be the leader of the country you should show a greater concern for the country by doing a little something for it and not taking advantage of all the tax loopholes that big businessmen like Trump have brought for themselves.

        2. Very strange since the sweetheart provisions of the tax code were written by the real estate develolpers and their paid lobbyists. If you think an ordinary taxpayer could stack the tax code deck, dream on. If Warrett Buffett and Mike Bloomberg can pay federal income taxes, so can your freeloading boy, Donald Trump.

  10. We operate within a tax code that is, not the one that we would ourselves enact. That is what Trump has done and he has been audited many, many times with no hints of fraudulent intentions. To pay a penny more in taxes than you are required is not smart, it is dumb. It is so dumb that you will be hard pressed to find anyone who does it.

    Certainly not Hillary who brought new meaning to the phrase “holeyer than thou” when she claimed a charitable deduction for used underwear. That arrogance says a lot about Hillary and what she thinks of you, my dear peasant. She deigns to give you her and the horn dog’s discarded intimate apparel. And then she wants to get paid for it. Trump wants to give you a job so that if you want new underwear you can buy it. If you want to go commando that’s OK too.

  11. Remember an employer pays half the social security tax of his workers. Almost 8% of all salaries paid. So if one employs 10,000 people and pays them 50G a year his payroll is 500 million annually.. Every year that businessman would pay almost $40 million to the treasury for his share of that tax. Over thirty years he would have chipped in more than a billion to Uncle Sam. His workers would have contributed a similar amount. How many billions does a major real estate developer pay in real estate taxes and other local taxes? How much do his employees pay in state and local taxes? Thank God for the private sector which produces all the wealth and the 100 million jobs they have created. As Calvin Coolidge said big profits equal big payrolls. Bill’s view is correct. BHO and Hillary ran the entire government in 2009. What effort did they make to alter the carried interest loophole that Kerry, Shumur and Hillary had voted for ? Ralph Nader properly labeled those three as Corporate Liberals. They rigged the tax system to favor Wall St. and enriched their political party. Did BHO and HRC repeal the real estate depreciation loophole? They didn’t even try. The Dems indulge the wealthy even more than the Repubs. 2. Trump made all his dough in the private sector. How do two government workers amass an estate of $150 million on government salaries? Kickbacks, swindles, bribes, payoffs and selling access and pardons. One candidate made their money lawfully. The others stole their’s.

    1. NC:

      1. You point to all the wasys Trump indirectly pays taxes. So do I but that does not excuse me paying income taxes. My point is tht if you want to be president you should at least pay income taxes to the general fund and not claim that because you have to contribute to social security which is different from income tax that you have paid taxes; and the last I looked real estate taxes were not collected by the federals nor do state and local taxes. Sure the private sector is important but everyone there other than Trump either pays taxes or is not running for president.

      2. Just because there are crooks in the public sector does not justify crooks being in other places. Read how Barney Frank got money from the TARP bailout.

  12. Clinton Campaign Admits Hillary Used Same Tax Avoidance “Scheme” As Trump

    ‘Well this is a little awkward. With the leaked 1995 Trump tax returns ‘scandal’ focused on the billionaire’s yuuge “net operating loss” and how it might have ‘legally’ enabled him to pay no taxes for years, we now discover none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton utilized a $700,000 “loss” to avoid paying some taxes in 2015.”

    1. Henry:

      They surely are amazing with their losses while the net worth increases. I once took a beating in the stock market and lost a good amount of dough. I could only take $3,000 a year on my losses. I guess I should have had better lawyers or accountants.

      1. Jeez Matt,
        You should have taken some investment advice from Hillary……..she cleaned up her first time out, back in the seventies……and now look at them…….worth hundreds of millions.

        Who says public service doesn’t pay?

        1. Rather:

          When Hillary was at Wellesley she did give me some investment advise. It was to buy Confederate bonds. I still have them and they are accruing 15% interest a year. When she becomes president I’ve heard she is going to assume all the obligations of the Confederacy because the Clinton Foundation also invested heavily in them. Happy days are here again.

  13. Matt,
    Trump, like everyone else, takes all deductions and exemptions legally available to him.
    In past years, the New York Times, General Electric and many others have paid zero in federal taxes. One year G.E. paid zero fed taxes on $13 billion in profits.
    Don’t like the tax code? Blame Congress.
    Blame Hillary who voted to give Hedge Fund Managers a break on carried interest.
    John Kerry puts hundreds of millions in municipal bonds to avoid taxes.
    Hillary puts her properties in trust to avoid death taxes, then proposes increasing the estate tax.
    Hillary deducts her “used underwear” and her donations to her own foundation.
    Blame Congress.
    The tax laws prove Congress does not work for the American people.
    If the Democrats, who controlled Congress in 2009 with Obama, wanted to change tax laws on carried interest or real estate depreciation or other benefits mainly to the rich, they could have done so.
    Blame Congress.
    Don’t blame private citizens who lawfully claim deductions and exemptions!
    Think it’s unfair that you have to pay taxes, while G.E. pays none? Blame Congress which writes the Tax Code, not those who comply with the Tax Code.
    Yes, it is “smart” for businessmen and citizens to take all the deductions and exemptions they are entitled to. It’s smart to comply with the law.
    Don’t like the Tax Code? Petition Congress to change it! Good luck!
    2. Trump helped our country by bouncing back from bankruptcy and employing tens of thousands of workers, all of whom pay taxes. Not too difficult concept to appreciate: those in the private sector contribute money to government; those in government spend (drain) money.
    3. Trump did not say people who paid taxes were “dumb”; he said it was “smart” to minimize tax payments: that’s what every businessman does and every private citizen does.

    1. Tadzio:

      Trump said it was smart in response to Hillary’s comment he paid no taxes; that can be interpreted as saying those who pay them are dumb.

      Trump hurt all those people he stiffed by going into bankruptcy. You know there wre some decent people who used bankruptcy to get back on their feet and once they did went back and paid all those they owed money to even though it was legally forgiven. They felt a moral obligation to do this which seems particularly absent in Trump. Remember he is the only person running for president who did not perform any public service of any kind prior to running.

      Congress will never change the tax code because it has been designed to enrich them. Did you read how the bail out funds ended up in the pockets of some congress members.

      My point is that if you want to be president it would be nice if you contributed to the country even if you were not legally obliged to do so. All those others you point to who take advantage do not want to run the country.

    2. Bill:

      Not everyone else is running for president. As for Hillary, two wrongs don’t make a right even though three left turns in Manhattan make a right one.

      1. Matt, so, presidential candidates should not take available deductions and exemptions? Where is that rule written?
        Many very successful businessmen go bankrupt during their careers. I’ve read somewhere the average multi-millionaire goes broke twice.
        I did not invest in Apple stock. That does not make me dumb. Those who did were smart or lucky.
        You know, Matt, as well as I, that if you could take exemptions/deductions to avoid paying all federal taxes, you’d do it. Come on!
        See others comments for how much a businessman contributes this country. Think of the payroll taxes and the 10,000 grateful employees who pay taxes.

        1. Bill:

          A long time ago I wrote that Trump was the only candidate for president who never served in the military, was elected to political office, or did anything for the people in an apointed role. At least you would think having led such a selfish life he would have done domething like paying taxes. I don’t think a guy who has a buseiness and pays ten percent of his profit to people in the form of wages and pockets the other 90% is deserving of much credit. Your arguments about him emplying people remind me of the days when the industrialist used to run the mills in Lowell and Lawrence and the poor working girls worked twelve hours a day for a pittance to survive. Paying people to work for slave wages is exploitation of the people. Fortunately we passed law to stop child labor and the sweat shops. You would give all those indrustrialists credit for giving the people jobs. I don’t when the guy is poketing most of the dough and when he runs up too much debt goes into bankruptcy to cheat those who put their labor into working for him. If he had any moral decency he would have paid his old debts when he became a billionaire. He has never done anything for the country even to the point of not paying taxes. .

    3. Henry:

      Actually, no. In Vol.II of The Venture of Islam, Hogdson (University of Chicago)made a complex comparison between the Western “corporatist” cultural model, and, the Islamic “contractualist” paradigm. He also provided a theory for why Western European societies surged ahead of the traditional agrarian core areas in scientific development (technicalism). And, you’ve been misled about the nature of commerce in the Islamic Empires. The Omayyad Caliphate first issued its’ own coinage during the reign of Abd-Malik. Letters of credit were widely used by the merchants of Caliphal times, and, money lending (banking) was common during the caliphal period.

      Financial and monetary concerns were always a pressing problem for the Caliphates. Ibn Tamiyya studied the debasement of precious metal specie better than two hundred years before Gresham, and, should rightly deserve the credit for observing that “bad money always replaces good” in any economic circulatory system. If you wanted to avoid land taxes (Kharaj) during the era of the caliphate you had to form a waqf (charitable foundation} for the upkeep of a mosque, hospital, or, caravansary. Then, you would hire yourself, and, your family to administer the waqf in perpetuity. All the revenue from the lands assigned to the waqf would go into the coffers of the charity rather than the Caliphal treasury. Glorious Leader would have loved this scam.

      You are also incorrect about taxation of revenue streams during the middle and later periods of Islamic history. European and Islamic feudalism differed greatly.

      To understand the theory of taxation during the Islamic medieval period, one has to know the difference between an iqta and a fief. A fief in Europe involved a military obligation and was heritable. In the Islamic empires, an iqta was only granted for the lifetime of the holder, who was usually a Mamluk of the reigning Sultan. The holder of an iqta would then assign revenue collection to a tax farmer. The Sultan, the iqta holder, and, the tax farmer, would all take a cut. In bad agricultural years the fellaheen would starve. Famines were common. The importance of the iqta system was such that this middle period of Islamic history is known in Arabic as al-iqtaiyya.

      You can read it for yourself in The Venture of Islam Vol. II. Hogdson was working on a world history back when he passed away in 1974.

      1. Read it years ago in college He died in 1968.

        They didn’t have trillions in paper currency backed by promises was my point. No Federal Reserve.

        You didn’t mention the jizyah

    4. Bill,
      Excellent post.
      On the money as usual.

      Regarding #3…..Correct, but the media-whores spun that a little differently. I agree with you, and I believe the trendy phrase used by today’s youngsters applies here…………….

      “Don’t hate the playa,……..hate the game.”

    5. Don’t forget,…… was Slick Willie who repealed Glass-Steagall and got the Clinton gravy-train chugging along in overdrive,……………………the gift that keeps on giving.

    6. Well said Bill. Unfortunately, I feel like the vast majority of voters are, quite frankly, not smart enough to see tha the responsibility of a business owner is to maximize profits. One of the ways to do that is to minimize expenses, such as tax burden.

      He was simply availing himself to the ridiculous tax code that has been written by these politicians…regardless of party, they are all the same. Just wondering if Hill, or Matt for that matter, pays extra federal are free to do that Matt..they will gladly take more of your money and squander it. If Trump wasn’t taking advantage of every deduction he was legally allowed, he was paying EXTRA tax. Doubt anyone here, including Matt, does that.

      Lastly, even if he did pay zero federal income tax, I can assure you he contributed WAY more to the coffers through payroll tax, meal taxes, etc than the Clinton crime family will ever pay. Don’t forget to check the state extra tax box as well Matt…they’ll take your money too. Time to put the soap box away!

      1. Declan:

        I wrote earlier but I’ll add I have served in the military, served in public service, and I am not running for president. Trump is running for president and has not served or done any public service. Hew was powerful enough to have the tax code changed to his benefit, I wasn’t. As for paying through the payroll tax so did many people who offereed their employees starvation wages but at least they didn’t think they should lead a country they did everything in their power to avoid helping.

  14. Marshall GS Hogdson noted that the end of empires, and, nation states, occurs when the wealthy powerful sectors in a society begin to alienate their incomes from taxation and put the burden of paying for society on the lower classes. The consequent reduction in revenue starves the machinery of government. It gradually grinds to a halt, and, the services it provides disappear. The masses lose their stake in the nation. Extraction of revenue from those who can least afford it becomes the primary purpose of government. The national economy turns into a cash cow for those whose income is never taxed. America’s plutocratic nobles are overseeing just such a process, as I write. We’re headed down from here. The only hope is to liquidate the one percent and re-educate the nineteen percent who help them rule us. The bourgeoisie must be put down for the proletariat to survive.
    All power to the dialectic! Revolution now!

    A vote for Glorious Leader is a vote for the downward spiral, and, Clinton, is not much better.

    1. Marshall GS Hogdson wrote mainly about nations of Islam. There was no elected government. Their tax systems were usually based on taxing land, homes, property and wealth, not income.

      Alas, the Caliphates did not have a banking system with printing presses to fund government.

      In 1963, JFK wanted to cut income taxes from a range of 20-91% to 14-65% (top on income over $100,000). Imagine 91% today, Mr Spielberg.

      He also wanted a cut in the corporate tax rate from 52% to 47%.

      Currently, the US has the third highest general top marginal corporate income tax rate in the world at 39.1 percent (consisting of the 35% federal rate and a combined state rate), exceeded only by Chad and the United Arab Emirates .

      It was much less complicated in the 60s.

      1. Henry:

        The tax code has changed substantially to benefit the wealthy. Having had occasion to go to it once in a while it is a masterful document for nothing is where it should be. You go from one section to another to another with each section referring to others and all the others pointing to even more others all of which are filled with exceptions that are contained in other places. The originator of this style legislation was Robert Moses who wrote legislation for Al Smith which when it was finally figured out put him in his position for life and allowed him to issue bands tht could not be challenged. Fortunately the man was motivated to do good; but there are not too many like him.

    2. Khalid:

      As long as we keep bringing new taxpayers into the system that is less likely to happen. That’s why we have to encourage more of the poor to pay taxes since more of the rich will not be doing it. It escapes my limited power of reasoning to understand how anyone would consdier voting for the Glorious Leader or even his oppoinent.

    3. Khalid,

      Coincidentally to your comment, I watched a documentary yesterday on YouTube that discussed the symptoms of a declining empire, comparing today’s United States with the Roman empire.
      -extreme polarizing wealth distribution
      -decadence, conspicuous consumerism
      -Fiat currency system, banks creating debt out of nothing
      -obsession with sex
      -top representatives or legislators not beholden to constituents, interested in gaining personal wealth

      Very interesting.

      1. Rather:

        Rome/(Greece) furnished the master paradigm for western civilization, as always, I am amazed by the parallels that can be drawn, but, an important thing to keep in mind, in making any parallels to ancient Rome, is that Rome was a slave based society. During the era of the Julian Caesars (Octavian through Caligula), for every Roman citizen there would be two to three slaves. At times, close to two-thirds of the city’s population could be slaves, particularly, after a successful military campaign. Slave labor was the basis of Rome’s prosperity.
        As in our times, inflation led to many crises in the economy of the Roman Empire. Adulteration of coinages was a constant problem for the Roman monetary system. Putting brass or copper into the mix, while, minting, corresponds to printing more money in modern times (currency inflation). People would hoard the pure gold and silver coins, and use the adulterated coins in the market place, hence, Ibn Tamaiyya/Gresham’s Law “Bad money always replaces good money.”
        Continuity of rule is what makes Rome unique in Western History. Toynbee observed that modern European empires last about two and a half centuries, and, then, go into a steep decline. The Roman state existed for almost a millennium.

        1. The manner in which Christianity grafted itself on to the Roman state is an interesting research topic. The Latin nomenclature of civil governance comes down to us through the Christian Church (RC), which, organized itself as a reflection of the Roman state. Western civilization is a logical extension of ancient Rome/Greece, particularly in the area of law.
          The Romans, with the notable exceptions of Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius (Stoics), left philosophy to the Greeks. They concentrated on the arduous task of governing a far flung empire composed of many disparate peoples. Very practical, they were. The Romans invented concrete.

  15. Matt:

    Your comment has me bewildered.

    I was in the Army, stationed in Germany. I never paid any taxes, nor do I remember any of my friends paying taxes.

    Did we do something wrong?

    1. Doug:

      What army were you in? If the US Army and you didn’t pay taxes then you still owe them. I assume by now the statute of limitations has run however with our present U.S. attorney’s clever way to manipulate the statute by alleging a continuing conspiracy you never know. I’m sure though if you didn’t and nothing happened it was because you were entitled to a refund so your failing to file was looked upon with a smile.

      1. Matt:

        You may be correct.

        When I joined the Army I had no administrative skill or ability (or education) at all. So, even if I got a notice, I would have probably thrown it away.

        However, you got me to thinking, maybe the I.R.S. owed me a refund for those years and I just lost out.

        1. Doug,

          I think the limit for claiming a federal refund is three years. After that it gets “involuntarily reinvested” in the Treasury. Funny though,…..when you owe them……it’s forever.

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