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4.4 out of 5 stars
Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax
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on April 29, 2017
Covers all the bases. Taxation is theft. The income tax is extortion. Of the many books I've read on the government's crime of taxation, this is one of the two or three best. The only one I rank before it is Irwin Schiff's, The Great Income Tax Hoax: Why You Can Immediately Stop Paying This Illegally Enforced Tax

The ink had hardly dried on the Constitution when in 1794 Congress passed the so-called Carriage Tax act and President Washington allowed it to become law. In levying the tax, Congress ignored one of the very few constitutional limitations on the government's power to tax: a requirement that direct taxes be "apportioned." Two years later the Supreme Court, in the case, HYLTON VS. U.S., agreed with Congress and unanimously held that this patently unconstitutional tax was constitutional. The HYLTON decision paved the way for the first income tax sixty-five years later at the outset of the Civil War, and it has been all downhill for taxpayers ever since. Richman does a marvelous job in describing the enormous changes in the size of the American government, the concomitant loss of individual liberty and the devastating impact of the income tax on the economy and on the self-reliance of individual Americans. Read this book and weep for America. And read Richman's recent book, AMERICA'S COUNTER REVOLUTION: THE CONSTITUTION REVISITED, to learn how the taxaholic Federalists like Hamilton and Madison outmaneuvered and outfoxed their Anti-Federalist opponents to get the Constitution ratified, thereby creating the mechanism by which the Leviathan state would flourish with virtually no constraint whatsoever on the federal government's power to tax and spend your money.
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on February 26, 2002
This book is one of the best written on the subject of abolishing the income tax.
As Americans, we have been taught that paying our fair share of income taxes is the American way and our patriotic duty. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, the income tax is 100% against the American way and violates our very own Constitution.
This book exposes the complete history of the income tax, and its tyrannical, Gestapo like collection agency, the IRS. The IRS is the most feared organization American has ever known and they operate outside the bounds of the Constitution that is supposed to protect us from tyranny in government. What happened? Read this book to find out all of the sordid details.
Not only is this book a history lesson, but more importantly, it shows that we can survive without the income tax as we did for more than one hundred and fifty years before this form of communism was implemented into our lives.
If every American read this book, there would be a revolution by tomorrow morning.
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on July 5, 2014
You are not the best citizen you can been if you don't understand the facts put forth in this book.
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on August 28, 2014
The IRS is a lot more powerful than you think. If you want to be shocked, buy this book.
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on April 19, 2008
The framers gave us a republic that held the government in check for over 100 years -- and Americans flourished like no other society in history. Then in 1913 we changed directions. Government teamed up with various factions and claimed ownership of our income, through the Sixteenth Amendment.

The income tax required a menacing collection agency, the IRS, through which we've lost not only our property but our privacy. For years, many people have clamored for fundamental reform, suggesting "remedies" like a flat tax or a national sales tax.

But reform is a politician's game, argues Sheldon Richman in "Your Money or Your Life." The only cure for the abuse is to abolish the income tax and replace it with nothing.

The income tax -- or any other draconian tax -- creates permanent antagonism between taxpayers and government. Knowing this, and "wanting to milk [taxpayers] to the maximum without setting off a revolt," government tries to deaden the pain of theft through the ingenious device of tax withholding. For the past 65 years, withholding has helped drive home the idea that government owns our income. How can it be our property if someone else dictates its distribution? It's also prevented taxpayers from holding back their taxes as a form of protest.

When Congress enacted the income tax law in October, 1913 it had a top rate of 7 percent and created a tax liability for only 2 percent of the population. But the top rate shot up to 67 percent in 1917 and 77 percent in 1918, the war years. The state's haul during World War I was more than $1 billion, ensuring its longevity as part of the revenue system.

During World War II the income tax became universal. Fewer than 15 million tax returns were filed in 1940; by 1950, the number was over 53 million. "In 1939 the income tax raised $1 billion. In 1945 it raised $19 billion. The most lucrative revenue pool was not the wealthy -- there weren't enough of them. Middle-class and working-class taxpayers represented the biggest potential for revenue."

What began as a movement to rob the richest Americans has turned into a burden for anyone making a decent living. Isn't it funny how government takes such a "noble" goal and corrupts it for its own purposes.

Richman believes people will need a new "unwritten constitution" before they'll revolt against the tax. "What is needed is the orneriness about intrusions on their liberty that the colonists and first Americans exhibited."

I emphatically agree.

Sheldon Richman, a first-rate researcher and a master of clear writing, has written a powerful monograph. I give it my highest recommendation.
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on November 28, 2005
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. When the government is allowed to tax income it gains the power to obtain personal information about people's lives and how they earn money, and has the power to intimidate citizens to follow rules; but this invasion of privacy is necessary for an effective income tax. Sheldon's next point is that the income tax makes us poorer. We become poorer because of the income tax and the income tax system. The income tax takes money that cannot be used in any other way. The income tax system makes companies worry about paying taxes and how to operate and sill make money under changing tax laws. The income tax lowers living standards. If more money is available for investment better and cheaper products can be developed that benefit everyone. Taxing makes two new classes: those paying tax and those consuming the tax. When a tax is imposed on a market now consideration of allocating the money taken comes into play. Next Sheldon explains how we got the income tax. In 1913 Congress passed the income tax. The Sixteenth Amendment states, "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 any regard to any census or enumeration." The tax gave the government incredible authority over people's lives and finances. During the Civil War the government needed much more money than it had, so Congress passed six income tax bills that would give a start to permanent tax laws. The war with Britain also sparked a need for money so the government imposed a tax ranging from 3% to 7.5% this lead to more tax bills being passed and more severe punishments for those not paying. Sheldon's last thoughts are that we should abolish the income tax. We can live without the Sixteenth Amendment, the Internal Revenue Service, and the income tax. People have a right to their money and can spend it in more productive ways than the government does. There should not be any new taxes and the only way to avoid taxes that raise so much money is for the federal government to spend much less money than it does.

Sheldon Richman makes a very compelling argument. If the income tax were ever abolished that would be great, even though the government would have to find other ways to stick their hands in our pockets. As far as I can tell the premises are true and Sheldon does not commit any fallacies. His claims are logically consistent. He very clearly gets his point across that the income tax should be abolished. He uses several sources and statistics to back up his main points. He is fair in his presentation of evidence on treatment of the opposing sides view.

Sheldon believes income tax is wrong and should be abolished. He thinks there is a constant battle between the people and government, the income tax is immoral, the government used to serve the people, the income tax makes us poorer, where the income tax came from, and why we should abolish it.
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on November 19, 2005
This book strongly states the need to abolish income tax. Richman drags on about the control the government, especially the IRS, has over our lives by having working people pay them money that they earned. I think he does have a good argument and clearly states what we, as working Americans, are losing because of this tax. However, some of his arguments are a bit over the top and to some one who is not terribly interested in income tax, the book can be a bit boring and confusing at times. I think he rambles on making the same basic points over and over.

He strongly stresses the importance of getting rid of the income tax placed on us. He also helps the reader realize the about of control the IRS has, and how it does not continue the democratic government the settlers wanted in the way that the people control the government. He also points out how the IRS has advantages over us that we can not question or do much about, even in trial. Richman shows the reader how scary it is that the government can raise and lower rates at its own will and there isn't much the working American can say about it. He also makes a good point by saying that the IRS is entitled to all the information it wants about us. However, employees of the IRS have secret identities and we don't even know much about what goes on in the IRS. He also points out how disgusting and un-American it is that the IRS pays citizens to tell on their fellow Americans. For the necessary steps to be taken, he tells why flat rates or any other sort of reform will not work. He believes the only thing to do is to have the Sixteenth Amendment, and all other laws concerning income tax, abolished.

He has a great argument. He supports his ideas very well and makes his beliefs and points relative to the reader. They money we send to the government as income tax is our hard earned money that should be spent how we so choose to do it. His advice to abolish the income tax completely makes the reader feel kind of hopeless after his discussion of the all powerful IRS that controls everything and is impossible to beat. He writes about something that most Americans take as a given. I never thought that income tax was something so horrible until now, I just assumed that as a working American it was my duty. But I also think that if you asked any American if they would like to never have to pay income tax they would say yes. He has good points and presents them clearly, although a little too thorough at times. But his ending isn't motivating enough. It leaves readers with the feeling of "well that sucks."
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on November 15, 2005
Sara C.

Professor: Kevin J. Browne

Date: 11-4-05

Richman presents a very strong argument as to why our tax income should be abolished. The basic theme for this book is "taxation of income is bad, and we must get rid of it." He provides numerous sources and evidence as to how the tax income is immoral and an invasion of our civil liberties.

As stated in the 16th Amendment, "The Congress shall have 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." Richman obviously refers to this numerous times to make his argument affective. He claims that the government is completely wrong in making the working class give a percentage of their hard earned money and to be threatened if they fail to do so. This threat by the IRS has actually evicted people from their houses and in some cases led people to suicide. Also he mentions that since the government has access to our financial records that it has great amounts of information on its citizens in general.

Richman uses numerous historical references as well, such as Thomas Jefferson who said, "When the government fails to protect rights or itself threatens them, the people have the right and duty to alter or abolish it." He goes on to say that this income tax is imposing on ones "legal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." He also provides other reasons to back up his argument: it's wasteful, it makes one poorer, lawmakers need a never-ending cash flow, and it demonstrates the corruption and out of control spending by the government.

This argument that Richman presented is one to surely get everyone's attention. It is clear and to the point. He lays it all out there and allows you to decide for yourself with providing the comprehensible and convincing arguments that support his claim as to why we need to abolish the income tax. His argument is deductively strong and he provides not only historical and statistical evidence, but also the viewpoints of other well-known people to support his argument. It was really well written and it will make one have a second thought on the income tax.
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on November 30, 2002
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. Richman also makes an interesting comparison of the government being like a mugger who "occasionally shines his victim's shoes", and a membership to a club has access to certain amenities only if the dues are paid, it not one is not allowed in, not arrested. By the same token, a property owner who is not "actively using the government's services" still owes the taxes.
This argument of why the income tax should be abolished by Richman is deductively strong. Mr. Richman used statistical evidence as well as causal arguments through out.
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on December 5, 2004
Sheldon Richman's Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish Income Tax presents a good arguement for which income tax in America should be abolished. Richman begins his book by talking about how the IRS has tormented American Citizens. He states that income tax creates an on going battle between people and government in which people are working to get the things they desire most in life and the government is trying to take as much of people's hard earned money as it can.

Richman then begins his most important arguement by attacking income tax on a moral basis. He shows that because of income tax people do not have complete control of their own incomes and are forced to surrender to the selfishness of the government. Richman then goes on to say that this is interceeding on every person's legal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Income tax demotes the idea of private property. Richman refers to the ideas of Karl Marx, in which Marx states that government is creating issues of conflict between people of differing incomes.

Richman talks about the relationship between government and people. He says that even though the government has been elected it is hard to figure how people agreed with the idea of taxation. He then goes on to tell about the evolution of tax codes and to point out that with income tax the government has access to large amounts of information on its citizens. This information can be manipulated and used in the favor of the IRS.

Richman argues that we would be better without income tax. He brings that point that any money spent for government needs and politician needs is money being taken away from the wants of society. And that this is ultimatly leading to lowwer living standards. It also limits many people to having to work for others instead of themselves.

Richman ends the book by telling how income tax was develped and lists the reasons it should be ended.
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