Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Immorality of Taxation

I thought I'd kickstart the blog with a few thoughts on taxation. There's been more talk lately about higher taxes on the rich (from Obama and Buffett, to name two). "They should pay their fair share!" "The gap between the rich and the poor is too big. There needs to be more fairness!" "They can afford it!" Even hip-hop mogul Russel Simmons got in on the action, calling for higher taxes for his fellow millionaires and billionaires. How generous! Begging, pleading, for the government to take away their money and the money of their wealthy peers! 
"The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality." -Andrew Jackson

I'll let the little video at the bottom make my economic arguments for me since it does such a great job. Today I just want to make the other argument: the moral argument. As you'll come to see pretty quickly on this blog, I never met a tax I didn't hate. I hate what they stand for, and I hate most things that they're used for. For the things I like that taxes pay for, I'd rather they were done privately and voluntarily.

I Hate What Taxes Stand For

What is a tax, be it an income tax, a sales tax, a capital gains tax, a death tax, a property tax (the list goes on for miles) but the State's claim that they have more right to your property and the products of your labor than you do? Let that sink in. The State has more rights to your little slice of life than you do. It owns you, and can and will use force to take from you what it wants. Since the State is incapable of producing anything on its own, it relies on transfer payments to get things done. It takes money from one party and transfers it to another. If you think it's harsh to say that they use force via the threat of violence to take away your money, try not paying your taxes for a while, and see what happens. Taxation is nothing short of legalized theft. Imagine it on a micro scale: what if your neighbor demanded that out of every dollar you earned, you had to give him a quarter? You'd call it extortion or robbery. But when the State does it, it's for the greater good?
"The State is a gang of thieves writ large." -Murray Rothbard

I Hate What Taxes Are Used For

Picture taken in NYC on 8/6/11
Most things, anyway. It sickens me to think of the trillions of dollars spent on unnecessary, immoral, and unconstitutional wars. I'm incredulous at the thought of maintaining a vast American Empire all over the world, with over 900 military bases in 130 different countries. I can't believe that entitlements, which cost trillions every year, are always "off the table" when there are talks of cuts, despite the fact that they're completely unsustainable. The government keeps growing, like an out of control virus, and shows no signs of slowing down the trend, let alone reversing it. People now expect the State to take care of them, from cradle to grave, but how can everybody possibly live at the expense of everybody else? As anyone who followed the recent debt-ceiling debacle has come to realize, our borrowing and spending is completely out of control, and the burden on the taxpayer is only going to increase.
"We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." -Winston Churchill
I was going to write a third section to talk about my third point, "for the things I like that taxes pay for, I'd rather they were done privately and voluntarily," but I actually think that deserves it's own blog post, so I'll save it for another day. For now, enjoy my offerings below. I have a short video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity directly dealing with the "taxation of the rich" issue, an article offering brilliant yet simple solutions written by Gary North, and two articles, one short and one long, from the maestro himself, Murray Rothbard. Finally, have a little fun and listen to "Taxman", by the Beatles.

Restoring Liberty with Three Short Laws, by Gary North

Tax Day, by Murray Rothbard

The State versus Liberty, by Murray Rothbard

The Beatles: Taxman (@iTunes) on "Revolver"





  4. Very amusing clips, but they totally miss the point of what I'm saying. If, as I contend, taxation in and of itself is theft, and therefore immoral, how could you possibly argue that more taxes on the wealthy (or on anyone at all, for that matter) are acceptable? If the government drastically reduces its spending, as it should, it wouldn't need to "increase revenues" at all. In fact, it could live on less, and we'd ALL pay less!

    As for the index on income equality, I plan on including it in an upcoming article (and tearing it apart in the process). Here's a preview: Denmark, which is at the very bottom of the Index for Economic Equality, scores 8th on the Index for Economic Freedom. At the top of the Equality Index is Namibia, which came in at number 73 on the Economic Freedom Index. Which of these countries do you think has a higher overall standard of living? Hint: they speak Danish.

  5. I'm looking forward to reading your future blog post on the reasons that you DO like taxes. You kind of left me hanging there.....

  6. I know, I know... I've been taken up with some other things recently, but it's sitting in my draft box, waiting for it to be finished! I'll get on it soon!


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