Tax Avoidance (Legal) Vs Tax Evasion (Felony)

(posted 10-8-2018) - It's funny; over the years I've listened to numerous diatribes from individuals who just can't seem to wrap their minds around the idea of paying a portion of their wealth back to the society that has created the very environment (aka infrastructure and civil codes) that has allowed them to prosper. It usually boils down to "I made this" with a variation of "I don't agree with some allocations" but really it is more about wanting to keep as much as possible "in the family."

The human mind is capable of holding opposing ideas in a selective balance. As in, "those people don't deserve help because blah blah" but "these people should be helped because blah blah." The substantive question is whether society should gather from the haves to help those who (perhaps temporarily) have not. But when you get to the kernel of the question many individuals begin putting ridiculous qualifications on the process. Everyone says government should perform certain functions (like maintaining courts and fielding armies). But the devil is always in the details of resource allocation (who pays for the interstate highways, sets air-traffic standards, inspects the railroads, manages water-ways, manages national parks, etc.)

The bulk of humanity may gripe about paying local, state, and federal taxes but we by and large don't break laws to try and evade paying what we owe. But there are a minority who spend a lot of time and money criminally conspiring to defraud government and not pay what they know they legally owe.

Until recently it was not known just how much tax evasion was costing governments in lost revenue. I suggest you read this article by Paul Krugman in the New York Times in which he talks about the staggering amounts that have been evaded through criminal fraud and criminal obstruction. I sincerely hope that these high flying tax cheats have a day of reckoning and that it comes to the US during the current Trump administration.