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Daddy, Where Do Taxes Come From?

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I'll tell you when you get a little older.

But I want to know.

Well, I'll tell you where taxes come from in other countries, OK? They come from the idea that if we all pool our resources we can better acquire things like schools, hospitals, parks, trains, you know, things that belong to everybody.

But what about our country?

Well, in our country we pay for private schools if we want good schools, and we all buy something called health insurance to take care of us if we get sick, and a teeny bit of our taxes goes to parks and trains, but we don't have very many of those, and we pay for some of them with local taxes. We pay local taxes, state taxes, and national taxes, and lots of other fees. We pay as much in taxes as people in those other countries, but our taxes are different. They come from a different place, and we'll talk about it when you're a little bit bigger.

Why? Why can't I know now?

Well, I can tell you a little part of the story. One reason we pay taxes is to create lots of billionaires. Those are super rich people. Other countries have schools and vacations and doctors, but we have billionaires.

What do we want them for?

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Well, we don't really want them, but once we have them it's hard to get rid of them, since some of them decide who pays taxes and who doesn't.

So, taxes come from billionaires? Where did the first billionaire come from?

No, no. Taxes and billionaires both come from something else, and we'll talk about it a little later. Let's go outside and play right now.

But I want to know first.

It's not something that it's nice to talk about, not even in the bathroom. I know: let's go for a walk downtown and maybe we'll get an ICE CREAM CONE, huh?

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After you tell me.

Oh boy. All right, taxes come from war. Now let's get out the soccer ball.

You mean killing people?

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)

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Please, Daddy, what about the 40% of every dollar ... by Scott Baker on Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 11:28:19 AM
I really appreciate the creativity and ghoulish co... by Robert Bostick on Friday, Apr 13, 2012 at 7:07:32 PM
David, you've broken the law.   You've expl... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 5:49:38 AM
The link between war for profit and taxes throug... by Brandessa Hale on Saturday, Apr 14, 2012 at 4:02:21 PM