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Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax Hardcover – February, 1999

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Although not quite as bracing as his brief for Separating School & State (1994), Richman's writ against income taxation is lively and to the point. Richman wastes no time sloganeering for libertarianism, putting down the dang liberals, or telling IRS horror stories ad nauseam. Instead he scores the income tax as the vehicle for too much government intrusion into privacy, for turning the usual U.S. presumption of innocence on its head in IRS disputes with taxpayers, for making citizens the state's subjects instead of its masters, for exacerbating falling individual incomes, for discouraging saving, and for being the imposition of a nominally progressive elite on an electorate never allowed to deal with tax issues directly. Worst of all, the income tax is theft of individuals's dollars regardless of how the government spends those plundered dollars. Reform is never what it seems; three taxpayer bills of rights have been ineffectual. As with slavery, Richman concludes, abolition is the answer. Consider this the essential argument of the anti-income tax movement." -- Booklist 2/15/99

From the Back Cover

"Your Money or Your Life sounds like a threat from a highwayman, but it is not; it is the perennial threat offered, through its Internal Revenue Service agents, by the United States Congress. Sheldon Richman does a yeoman's job in showing that. He shepherds the reader through the twisted history of lies and deceit that preceded and followed the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment and hence the implementation of direct taxation that the Framers of the Constitution feared so much. Most tax critics focus their criticism of our tax code on its wastefulness, complexity, and social engineering, and on the size of the government take. While their criticism has unquestionable merit, Richman rightly and adroitly focuses on the more important moral issues the income tax raises and how it stands the Constitution's Framers' vision of a just society on its head." - Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University, syndicated columnist, and popular substitute host for Rush Limbaugh

"In the centuries to come, when scholars want to know how America evolved from a free society to a totalitarian state, Sheldon Richman's book will provide them with the answer. Throughout history, free societies that degenerated into despotisms did so through the taxman. An old sad story. This book is a must read for every person who loves liberty." -Charles Adams, author of For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on Civilization and Those Dirty Rotten Taxes


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 135 pages
  • Publisher: Future of Freedom Foundation; 1st edition (February 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964044781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964044784
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,095,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. Lovin' Tool on March 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
So much writing about income taxation are shaggy dog works of politicians and those who would appease them. This work is for the mind what a shower is for the body after a hot day of shoveling elephant and donkey manure, if you know what I mean.
Richman shows that the ideas behind income taxation are evil. Like an evil tree, you can try pruning it, but it will bear evil fruit again inevitably. Therefore the only solution is to cut it down!
A consistent version of the American political idea would not tolerate income taxation, for it is too invasive and exploitative. It facilitates misspending and unaccountability.
Almost without exception, when the boys in Washington declare war on anything or anybody, it's a diversion. You should know that while we're being told to "prepare for a long long war on terrorism," the IRS is trying to tool up to take over you life as never before, via advances in computer technology coupled with no meaningful change in the tax system.
Now we're being told that not only must we bomb in Kosovo, but we may also follow up this action with some punishment of war crimes. In contrast, when IRS comissioner Charles Rosotti was asked whether the known abusive agents of the IRS would be punished, he said that they'd be look into it, but didn't want to be too hasty because acting hastily had caused problems in the past. (Am I the only one who finds a pattern with this President's administration wherein it betrays those closest to home while focusing much attention elsewhere?
Buy this book. Muster some courage. Vote Libertarian. Let's go into the new millenium as a free country for the first time in over 80 years!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christine C Spalding on November 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Christine Spalding
Critical Thinking
Professor Kevin J. Browne
November 29, 2002
Your Money Or Your Life
Sheldon Richman's argument is based on the moral issue of the income tax and why this tax should be abolished.
Richman presents us with facts and claims of how our government is flawed by forcing the American worker to give up a portion of his income, though no one actually consented. Along with surrendering a percentage of our earned income, we must allow them to have access to our personal financial records of the exact amount one earns. The tax enforcers accomplish this through lies and deceit. Both which preceded and followed the Sixteenth Amendment.
The American wage earner is "commandeered", says Richman, by this taxation, and if you do not, the government will institute a fine or even have you imprisoned. His conclusion is this is theft and unjust.
Richman's other basic argument's for abolishing the income tax is as follows:
1. The state demands a sum of our money, and refusing to give it up is punishable.
2. It is a voluntary system.
3. Repercussions for not volunteering.
4. It is wasteful.
5. It illustrates the corruption and out of control spending by the government.
6. Lawmakers need a never-ending flow of cash
7. The income tax is the only tax allowed that corrupts society.
8. The income tax is a blank check for the government.
9. The income tax makes you poorer.
Richman presented clear and convincing arguments for his reasons to abolish the income tax.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael C. Welsh on November 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
The author's main argument is that taxation of income is bad and should be abolished. Sheldon believes all taxation involves coercion and violates individual rights. He focuses on moral issues that come from taxation such as: invasion of privacy and the power that the Internal Revenue Service has over individuals. I think Sheldon makes a very strong argument. He uses many examples about how the Internal Revenue Service makes mistakes, he even found members of the government that say the IRS has problems, and how the government cares more about making money from taxes than preserving individual rights.

Sheldon's first argument is that there is a constant battle between the people and the IRS. If the system is "voluntary" why are punished so harshly for not paying taxes? His next argument attacks the immorality of the income tax. Taking money is theft but the government takes fifteen to thirty percent from everybody before they even receive their paychecks. The IRS can force an individual to furnish personal information about sources and amounts of income, so financial privacy is now compromised. He believes if people have a natural right that property (income they earn) then the government claim of that property is illegitimate. Sheldon's next argument is that the government used to be the servant and the people were the master; the government used to serve its people. He thinks we would have more freedom and prosperity without the income tax. The tax system does not have public consent but was slowly developed over time so the IRS could find ways to bring in more money to the government. The tax code itself is so long and complicated no one understands it and this puts the people at a disadvantage.
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