Skip to main content
Report this ad

See also:


The Laffer Curve
The Laffer Curve
Arthur B. Laffer via Google Images

Instead of adding to all the advice that’s out there, today this column will offer some thoughts on what others have said about taxes. Some thoughts are serious, some humorous, some also include the closely related area of government spending, some are from ancient Greece and Rome, and some from the 21st century.

Taxes are just about as old as the first primitive efforts of mankind to organize back in the cave dwelling days. Tax gripes were probably born about a minute after the first tax collections. Taxes have been in every society and have taken numerous forms. It was also quickly discovered though rarely practiced that overall higher tax rates seldom produced higher tax revenues.

Clevelander Arthur_Laffer popularized this concept, which some of the quotes show has been known for centuries. The popularizing was, according to a possibly apocryphal story, drawn by Art on a cocktail napkin in a restaurant as he was trying to explain the principle to a congressman and a congressional staffer, respectively named Donald_Rumsfeld and Dick_Cheney.

The drawing became known as the now famous Laffer_curve. It is shown on the left and pictures, as just noted, that as tax rates get higher (shown on left axis) tax revenues (measured on horizontal axis) eventually decline. The only real question is where between zero and 50 percent produces the most tax revenue. This principle applies to virtually every tax and to all taxes taken together, which is a little trickier to measure because the curve is different for different taxes.


1) Art was born in Youngstown, grew up in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs attending University School there, then going to Yale for his BA and Stanford for his MBA and PhD. A few years ago, he moved from California to Tennessee “for tax reasons.”

2) Art co-credits the curve to a Muslim philosopher Ibn_Khaldun who wrote Muqaddimah in 1377.A.D.

Each quote below is in italics and each author's name follows in hyperlink the first time; repeats and anonymous are in bold.

It would be appreciated if readers would please leave their own thoughts about or quotes about taxes in the comment section following this article. This Examiner will keep them for possible material in future articles. If you would like your comment considered without attribution, please use “anon” after your comment.

You might be an economist if taxes piss you off because they're so inefficient.Yoram Bauman

The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that still carries any reward. John_Maynard_Keynes

The income tax has made liars out of more people than golf has. Will_Rogers

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.Mark_Twain

It is a good thing that we do not get as much government as we pay for. Will Rogers

I cannot undertake to 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

Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even.
Will Rogers

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him./Robert_A._Heinlein

I am proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is I could be just as proud for half of the money.Arthur_Godfrey

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages.H._L._Mencken

This is too difficult for a mathematician. It takes a philosopher. Albert_Einstein (on trying to fill out a tax return)

Next to being shot at and missed, nothing is really quite as satisfying as an income tax refund. Anonymous

A tax loophole is something that benefits the other guy. If it benefits you, it is tax reform.

Few of us ever test our powers of deduction, except when filling out an income tax form.

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax. Albert Einstein

Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either. Anonymous

Where there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income.Plato

Government is like a baby. An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.Ronald_Reagan

The income tax created more criminals than any other single act of government.

I'm spending a year dead for tax reasons.Douglas_Adams

The Eiffel Tower is the Empire State Building after taxes.

People often say death and taxes are the same, but this is wrong. Death is a taxable event, but taxes never die.

Governments last as long as the undertaxed can defend themselves from the overtaxed.

Where is the politician who has not promised to fight to the death for lower taxes- and who has not proceeded to vote for the very spending projects that make tax cuts impossible?
Barry Goldwater

The fundamental class division in any society is not between rich and poor, or between farmers and city dwellers, but between tax payers and tax consumers.David_Boaz

There is no such thing as a good tax. Anonymous

For every benefit you receive a tax is levied.Ralph_Waldo_Emerson

Tax is the price we pay for a civilised society. Oliver_Wendell_Holmes,_Jr.

The power to tax involves the power to destroy.John_Marshall

The tax collector must love poor people - he's creating so many of them.Bill_Vaughan

The thing generally raised on city land is taxes.Charles_Dudley_Warner

"Qui vult dare parva non debet magna rogare."
Anonymous—-Translation from Latin:
He who wishes to give little shouldn't ask for much.

What we should have fought for was representation without taxation.Sam_Levenson

The Government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul/George_Bernard_Shaw

The wages of sin are death, but by the time taxes are taken out, it's just sort of a tired feeling.Paula_Poundstone

The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.
Will Rogers


Report this ad