Tom Purcell, 4/14/2008 [Archive]

Tortured By Taxes

Tortured by Taxes

By Tom Purcell

The worst week of the year is upon us, and, boy, am I miserable.

Every year, on April 15th, you see, I gut my savings account to pay the government its share of my earnings. It takes me the entire week to recover. I recover by searching the Internet for others who have suffered tax woes.

I found some quotes on death that lifted my spirits:

"The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." (Will Rogers)

"The wages of sin are death, but after they take the taxes out, it's more like a tired feeling." (Paula Poundstone)

"Of life's two certainties, at least you can get an extension for taxes." (Unknown)

Here's another certainty where death and taxes are concerned: My tax burden is killing me.

Our country's founders had harsh words on government funding:

"What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue." (Thomas Paine)

"I cannot lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." (James Madison)

"It would be a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their income." (Ben Franklin)

Hey, Tom, Jim and Ben, you'd be shocked at the level of plunder, "benevolence" and taxation that's going on. The only Americans who enjoy an income tax around 10 percent these days are those who moved to Russia.

The great leaders of the 20th century -- the century that brought us the 16th Amendment and the income tax -- have different takes on taxation:

"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." (Winston Churchill)

"Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it." (Ronald Reagan)

"Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society." (Franklin Delano Roosevelt)

Hey, Frankie, I don't mind paying my dues for organized society -- any thoughts on when we might get one? And why is it that as much of the world heeds the wisdom of Churchill and Reagan -- that low taxes work -- the Democrats running for president are eager to raise them, then use the government to "organize" our society?

Here are more quotes that remind me of Hillary and Barack:

"Congress can raise taxes because it can persuade a sizable fraction of the populace that somebody else will pay." (Milton Friedman)

"Did you ever notice that when you put the words 'the' and 'IRS' together, it spells "THEIRS?" (Unknown)

"We must care for each other more, and tax each other less." (Bill Archer)

Well, Bill some of our politicians think the way to care for each other more is to tax us more. And because some Americans fail to understand that taxing the "rich" will slow the economy that produces their income, our taxes shall go up -- and our government will get a bigger share of "theirs."

I worry about our future, but hopefully Will Rogers was right -- that the great good common sense of the American people will keep us going. These common-sense quotes offer hope:

"You don't pay taxes. They take taxes." (Chris Rock)

"People try to live within their income so they can afford to pay taxes to a government that can't live within its income." (Robert Half)

"A fine is a tax for doing something wrong. A tax is a fine for doing something right." (Unknown)

That last one is a dandy. It is because I did OK last year that I must be punished.

Ah, well, there's little to do this week except commiserate with others who are suffering tax woes. This quote sums up my situation perfectly:

"A fool and his money are soon parted. The rest of us wait for tax time." (Unknown)

Tom Purcell is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For more info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Visit Tom on the web at or e-mail him at

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications."

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