I am not against all forms of taxation. I am not an anarchist. I understand that a government must exist to protect the rights of its citizens. I understand that we need a military, a police force, and a well funded and objective court system. It is not the taxation in and of itself that bothers me; it is the mode of taxation. Even if you believe that the government should be in the business of building highways and providing social programs, a tax on income is immoral and is the wrong way for the government to collect funds. A broad based consumption tax would be less intrusive than an income tax and would be able to provide the government with all necessary funds. A tax on consumption is less intrusive than an income tax, does not discourage production, and does not reduce the laborers of this nation to involuntary servants–as does a tax on income.
For years, income taxes have been accepted by most people as a necessary evil. Recently, however, a growing number of us have realized that while they are an evil, they are not necessary.
Many people do not realize that the income tax in this country is less than 100 years old. Thats right. The 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913, meaning that we had survived as a Nation for 137 years without an income tax.
A tax is an inducement to change behavior. If you want to decrease smoking, you levy a tax on cigarettes. If you want to discourage consumption of fatty foods, you levy a tax on those food items, as the city of New York is doing. If you want to discourage speeding, you levy a tax on speeding (through a speed limit and fines). If you want to discourage driving, you levy a tax on gasoline. If you want to discourage pollution, you levy a tax on carbon emissions, as President Obama has proposed.
And yet, the same people who openly admit that the above facts are true fail to admit that a tax on income can discourage wealth accumulation. Taxes on income create disincentives to save, disincentives to invest, and disincentives to engage is risky entrepreneurial activities including starting new businesses or investing in new technologies or potential inventions.
But, besides economic issues, there are moral issues that need to be considered.
This blog is my property. I use my mind to think about what to write and I write using my own hands. I have advertisements on this blog that pay me money in exchange for referring my readers to their services. Any money that I make from these advertisements is a direct result of me using my mind to write. The government forces me to pay income tax on these advertisements, effectively taxing the products of my mind. Even worse, the government uses the money that it expropriates from my mind to “serve the common good.” They use it to fund social programs for others, without my consent or approval.
The same is of course true for any job. Anyone who works is forced to pay income taxes. The fact that everyone is forced to do pay them does not make it any less wrong. Anyone who refuses to pay their income taxes risks being thrown in jail, hence the above usage of the word “force.”
On top of this, the government takes these taxes levied on the labor of men and uses them to fund social programs. These programs provide money, health care, or other services to selected groups of people.
Think about this. The government taxes your labor through force and gives it to others for their benefit. In other words, you are being forced to work for benefit of others. A person who serves others against their will is called a slave. By using forced labor to fund social programs, the government has turned all workers into slaves.
The 13th Amendment bans both slavery and involuntary servitude. Any tax which has the result of forcing one to work for the benefit of others is a blatant violation of the 13th Amendment.
In the Soviet Union, workers were forced to labor in order to build roads, highways, other public works, and provide for the welfare of their fellow citizens. Here in the United States, the fruits of the labor of hard working Americans is expropriated in order to build roads, highways, other public works, and provide for the welfare of our fellow citizens.
The Soviets were threatened with being sent to Siberian prisons if they refused to obey. Here in America, we are threatened with prison if we refuse to obey. The end result is the same: obey or lose your freedom.
No matter how much you feel that we “need” these social programs, you cannot deny the fact that the government is using forced labor (taxes taken by force and derived from the labor of men) to fund these programs. As I said above, this is a blatant violation of the 13th Amendment.
Besides embodying a form of forced labor, our tax system is intrusive and does not respect the privacy of Americans. The Supreme Court cited the right to privacy when it declared abortion to be legal. Intrusive income taxes are a violation of privacy rights in the most basic form of the right.
The government expropriation of private citizens income for the purpose of protection is no more moral than the mafia doing the same to businesses in its sphere of control. The only difference between the two scenarios is that the governments’ actions carry the force of law, while the mafia’s actions are outside the law. However, the fact that there is a law behind an action does not make the action moral. There were laws supporting discrimination against Jews in Nuremberg and against African-Americans in the American South, yet the force of law behind an action does not make it correct. In the above example, both the government and the mafia collect the money through extortion. They will both cause you harm if you refuse to pay, and they both justify their monetary expropriations on the grounds of protection.
And the sad thing about the above example is that if you were to pay both the government and the mafia for protection and you needed a favor, there could be little doubt that the mafia would be the one who would deliver the favor.
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