Wednesday, 24 August 2011

“Fair” Taxation

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Pretend you’re at church for Morning Worship, or attending a crowded lecture, or watching Hollywood’s latest with a few hundred other fans. Suddenly, a SWAT team breaks down the door, submachine guns at the ready. Amid screams, their commander shouts, “Listen up! We’re gonna kill 10% of you — but the mayor was very clear that we gotta be fair about it. So, how ya wanna do this? Should we draw names out of a hat? Go through and shoot every tenth person? Maybe we oughta just work our way down from oldest and sickest until we get to 10%. Or ya want us to take volunteers first? I’m open to suggestions.”

Yep, this is insane. Ditto if the mayor merely commanded the SWATters to rape rather than murder 10% of the audience. There is no “fair” way to commit such heinous crimes.

Why then do we insist there’s a “fair” way to steal — or, in the State’s euphemism, to tax? Whatever we call it, taking money from people against their will violates both the Eighth Commandment and the Golden Rule. And it’s always, everywhere a crime — unless committed on the government’s behalf. Our Rulers speciously exempt their employer, benefactor and god from its own rules.

Theft is also a sin, right up there with murder. It doesn’t matter what the thief does with his loot: he can donate every last dime to feeding the hungry, or to bombing Afghanis; to curing cancer or to employing cops who pillage further by ticketing drivers: his iniquity is still vile. Fretting about how to steal “fairly” rather than recognizing its utter immorality is as quixotic a quest as the SWATters’ trying to exterminate people “fairly.”

Yet everyone from politicians to their victims squawks about “fair” taxation. We expect this from the sociopaths and morons in office — but why do we swallow and then regurgitate such baloney? Certainly, Our Rulers could simplify the IRS’s absurdly complex code, but they cannot render the abomination “fairer.” Indeed, if simplicity will content us, send the aforementioned SWATters door-to-door to rob us at gunpoint. That ought to end any confusion over exactly what taxation is.

Likewise, let’s dispense with the pablum about wealthier citizens paying their “fair share.” There can be no such thing as a “fair share” in inherently unfair immorality. Add to this that richer people are least likely to use the “services” their taxes supposedly buy: they probably educate their children privately, visit their usual doctor when sick rather than a public ER, and drive the Lexus instead of waiting for the bus. Government robs the affluent for the same reason Willie Sutton did banks: because that’s where the money is. The least politicians could do is stop adding insult to injury with demagoguery about “fair shares.”

But whether rich or poor, whether we have a few favorites among government’s programs or not, none of us asks for the myriad “services” it foists on us. A working mother may gratefully entrust her kids to the public schools for babysitting — but I guarantee that if she knew the USDA’s sugar tariffs and quotas keep her grocery bills sky-high to benefit powerful American corporations, she would vehemently object. Yet government robs her to deliver both programs and an almost infinite number of others.

If McDonald’s billed us as though we ordered a Big Mac and fries for lunch every day though we never set foot in any of its restaurants, we would howl. And we’d refuse to pay such a ridiculous charge: indeed, we’d recognize it for the cheating and theft that it is. Yet we meekly ante up for government though we never requested, do not want, and actively suffer from its products; our only concern is how to “fairly” manage the outrage. 

Worse, the State divorces cost, use, and payment: taxation is socialism distilled to its essence. But don’t take my word for it. Instead, ask yourself exactly how much the local indoctrination center — sorry, public school extorts from you. $500 annually? $987? $2,623.98? You have no idea because the amount hides in your property taxes. All you know is that your town or city plunders you just as it does the Brandts and the Harrisons across the street in your subdivision — though you have no children and the Brandts boast 5 from their assorted marriages while the Harrisons recently welcomed their first.

Taxation is the evil from which all the State’s other wickedness flows. Unless it loots us first, it cannot pay its bullies to bomb and torture villagers in Iraq; its goons cannot irradiate nor sexually assault us in airports; its prisons cannot cage people for growing, smoking or merely holding a vegetable. Indeed, absent taxation, we would probably have no government at all. Politicians might still curse us: given their thirst for power, many would probably forgo a paycheck and rule us solely for the joy of ordering us about. But without the finances to enforce their whims, we could ignore them just as we do other busybodies and cranks.

In fact, the Founding Fathers debated whether to pay elected criminals or merely “defray” their “necessary expenses.” The delegates to the Constitutional Convention eventually defeated Benjamin Franklin’s motion for voluntary officials; they feared that poor men could not afford to donate their time, leaving us to the mercies of the wealthy and powerful — precisely what torments us now.  The problem is never what form government takes, nor the details of its composition: the problem is the beast itself.

We who love liberty should concentrate on abolishing theft in all its forms rather than chasing the State’s red herring of “fair” taxation

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