“I propose we stop saying ‘taxes’ and start calling them ‘dues.'”

Richard Conniff of the New York Times would like us to stop using the word ‘taxes’ and replace it with dues. ‘Taxes’, you see, has “become the ugliest word in the English language, right up there with its evil twin, ‘death.'” (Gee I wonder why that comparison is so apt.)

… the word “dues” also plays into the psychology of group identity, and that can work to the benefit of conservatives and liberals alike. Consider that “tax” comes from the Latin for “appraise” with punitive overtones of “censure” or “fault,” as if wage-earners have done something wrong by their labors. “Dues,” in contrast, is rooted in social obligation and duty.

Since ‘dues’ may be defined as “a charge or fee for membership, as in a club or organization,” I say more power to Mr. Conniff. Membership in clubs and organizations is voluntary.

This may be just the opening we need to remove the burden of involuntary taxation once and for all!

15 April 2008