Is Tax Dodging Worse Than Abortion?

James Fogal at the Mises blog brings to our attention a Pew Research Center study showing that more Americans think failure to report all income to the IRS is immoral than think that abortion is immoral. Here's what Americans were most likely to find objectionable:

* 85% Married People Having an Affair
* 79% Not Reporting All Income on Taxes
* 61% Drinking Alcohol Excessively
* 52% Having an Abortion
* 50% Smoking Marijuana
* 50% Homosexual Behavior
* 43% Lying to Spare Someone's Feelings
* 35% Sex Between Unmarried Adults
* 35% Gambling
* 32% Overeating

Partisanship, as one might expect, goes a long way toward explaining these results. While Republicans and Democrats split on the lower issues, they're united in their love of taxes and their fear of demon rum. As the survey says:

A majority of Republicans say seven of the ten behaviors are morally wrong; while a majority of Democrats and independents say just three of the behaviors (adultery, underreporting taxable income; drinking excessively) are morally wrong. Independents are the least inclined of the three partisan groups to view the behaviors as morally wrong and most prone to see them as "not a moral issue."

Whatever happened to the spirit of the Whiskey Rebellion? That the government can crush its opposition in practice is one thing, but that it has crushed even the will to resist is truly sad.


2 thoughts on “Is Tax Dodging Worse Than Abortion?

  1. James Kabala April 20, 2006 / 3:47 pm

    You’re giving too much credit to the dissenting 21%. I suspect very few of them have a principled objection to taxes such as the Whiskey rebels. Such people would refuse to file a return and dare the government to force them to do so. What most of the 21% have in mind, however, is filing a return, thereby acknowledging the government’s authority to tax them, but filling the return with a bunch of false numbers. This a form of lying and therefore wrong.

  2. James Kabala April 20, 2006 / 3:48 pm

    Missing verb: I should have said “such as the Whiskey Rebels had.”

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