Green Room

One more reason to prefer tax reform over taxing the rich

posted at 2:22 pm on October 19, 2012 by

For over a century, liberals have wanted tax increases on the wealthy to force them to pay their “fair share.” Never mind that taxes such as the individual income tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) went from hitting only the wealthy to hitting many middle-class earners, or that the top one percent pay 1,500 times the taxes of the bottom 20% of earners.

In Tuesday night’s Presidential debate, President Obama made this argument yet again. From a clip on The Washington Post’s website:

If we are serious about reducing the deficit, if this is genuinely a moral obligation to the next generation, then in addition to some tough spending cuts we’ve also got to make sure that the wealthy do a little bit more.

There are a number of ways to refute this class warfare by the President. However, data from the IRS shows a new one that once again proves that it is not higher rates that will help reduce the deficit most effectively – but instead, tax reform that simplifies the tax code and makes it both more economically fair and efficient.

In January 2012, the IRS released a study showing (in 2006 dollars) that $385 billion in tax dollars were lost to noncompliance, equivalent to 14.5% of lawfully required 2006 tax dollars. Perhaps the most devastating part of this study? According t one analysis, out this week, this noncompliance was equivalent to an extra tax of $3,846 on all households in 2006 alone.

So what does this all mean? Well, clearly we must balance the budget, and many people are purposely avoiding taxes they are legally required to pay. Liberals argue the difference should be made up by higher taxes, even though plans such as the Buffett Rule would only bring in $47 billion over a decade, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation and we’ll borrow that much before midnight on Halloween. Even taking every dollar from every American earning at least one million dollars annually in 2009 would only bring in $235 billion, barely more than one-fifth of the Fiscal Year 2012 deficit. Clearly, with spending going up dramatically every year since 2007 and not expected to slow for many years to come, taxing the rich is going to be inadequate to substantially shrink the deficit, never mind balance the budget.

The IRS’ study provides us the path to the tax side of the deficit question. Rather than raise rates and risk harm to the economy, why not simply shoot for more compliance with the tax code? Considering that tax regulations take 14,000 pages to spell out, and are thus incredibly complex, simplifying the tax code to prevent illegal navigation of the code would bring in far more revenue than the Buffett Rule, and do so without raising rates for any taxpayers. Thus, we could kill three birds with one stone: elimination of potentially criminal activity, increase economic efficiency and growth, and diminish the deficit.

Of course, that would require liberals to admit they prefer practicality over ideology…

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Comment pages: 1 2

Basic math and common sense. Why is it so hard for the left to see reason on this (and other issues)?

hopeful on October 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Basic math and common sense. Why is it so hard for the left to see reason on this (and other issues)?

hopeful on October 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Because it’s not about reason, it’s about emotion. It’s about punishing the people on top so the people on the bottom will feel better. Math doesn’t even enter the equation.

mintycrys on October 19, 2012 at 5:24 PM

Tax code overhaul and reform needs to be promoted without linkage to any other policy. As long as the argument is bundled in with the larger discussion of the tax burden and issues of class it doesn’t stand a chance especially now with the country pretty evenly divided along partisan lines. Both parties have a poor record on tax reform and the forces arrayed against a simpler code are formidable, bipartisan, and well funded. You might want to mention the additional costs to businesses and individuals that such a system entails. My current work involves setting up systems and arranging corporate charts to avoid taxes… I am part of the industry that benefits from this code and employs many skilled people with high paid jobs but I think the entire country would be better off putting those talents to work on something more productive.

lexhamfox on October 19, 2012 at 5:42 PM

Basic math and common sense. Why is it so hard for the left to see reason on this (and other issues)?

hopeful on October 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Because they are not interested in maximizing revenue.

WeekendAtBernankes on October 19, 2012 at 5:46 PM

However, data from the IRS shows a new one that once again proves that it is not higher rates that will help reduce the deficit most effectively – but instead, tax reform that simplifies the tax code and makes it both more economically fair and efficient.

You continue to push an immoral argument. There is nothing fair about taxation. Taxation is theft though coercion and force. Why do you wish to reform taxation instead of eliminating it?

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Basic math and common sense. Why is it so hard for the left to see reason on this (and other issues)?

You used “reason”, “common sense”, and “the left” in the same reference. Do you see your mistake now?

single stack on October 19, 2012 at 6:27 PM

You continue to push an immoral argument. There is nothing fair about taxation. Taxation is theft though coercion and force. Why do you wish to reform taxation instead of eliminating it?

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

It must be noted that Dante thinks anarchy is a preferred way of life.

For examples of government free societies he uses the American Indians, the not so Wild West and a small mining town lost between three countries who had forgotten about it.

American Indians of course had chiefs and councils who spoke for many people who set the law of man. The not so wild west effectively chose to institute the same laws as the areas they had recently left. The small mining town similarly had laws which were enforced by specified people.

Of course, these places also had taxes which were fees for the services and additional collections to pay for the general activities of the demi governments in place he fails to remember. He also fails to notice that in each of these areas, failure to comply with the laws, fees and other collections subjected the individuals to expulsion from the whole, usually to a death sentence.

But they were moral and superior. Hence why they rule the world today and us heathens who follow the Constitution of the United States of America are barely a blip on the radar.

astonerii on October 19, 2012 at 6:49 PM

many people are purposely avoiding taxes they are legally required to pay.

When the Amazon.com tax was being debated here in California, I occasionally enjoyed the opportunity to accuse people of being tax cheats. I paid my “use tax” when I filed my 540, and anyone claiming that it was needed to “level the playing field” was presumably not… because if they were, the field was already level.

malclave on October 19, 2012 at 7:29 PM

You continue to push an immoral argument. There is nothing fair about taxation. Taxation is theft though coercion and force. Why do you wish to reform taxation instead of eliminating it?

Dante on October 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Taxation is not immoral ipso facto when government exists and occurs with the consent of the governed. What is both immoral and of dubious legality is when direct taxation of personal income occurs in order to facilitate direct wealth redistribution — and that’s only been occurring in America since February of 1913.

If you believe that taxation is immoral in and of itself, what is your preferred alternative to taxation? Or are you discussing repeal of the 16th amendment (as I believe not enough people are)?

gryphon202 on October 19, 2012 at 9:07 PM

If you believe that taxation is immoral in and of itself, what is your preferred alternative to taxation? Or are you discussing repeal of the 16th amendment (as I believe not enough people are)?

gryphon202 on October 19, 2012 at 9:07 PM

He is an anarchist/capitalist per a recent thread on what government can cut. He does not believe in government at all.

astonerii on October 19, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Taxation is not immoral ipso facto when government exists and occurs with the consent of the governed. What is both immoral and of dubious legality is when direct taxation of personal income occurs in order to facilitate direct wealth redistribution — and that’s only been occurring in America since February of 1913.

If you believe that taxation is immoral in and of itself, what is your preferred alternative to taxation? Or are you discussing repeal of the 16th amendment (as I believe not enough people are)?

gryphon202 on October 19, 2012 at 9:07 PM

All taxation is immoral. It’s theft.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 8:51 AM

All taxation is immoral. It’s theft.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Okay. Let’s assume that you are correct. Absent taxation, how should government function to provide police protection, fire departments, and road maintenance? Or to put it more succinctly, how should public services be paid for?

If taxation is ipso facto immoral, than George Washington himself was among the worst of sinners (cf. Whiskey Rebellion).

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Still waiting for that answer, Dante. I’m not trying to step on any toes. I’m genuinely curious as to what your alternative to taxation should be. And don’t tell me to click that link in your name; you can tell me here.

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Okay. Let’s assume that you are correct. Absent taxation, how should government function to provide police protection, fire departments, and road maintenance? Or to put it more succinctly, how should public services be paid for?

If taxation is ipso facto immoral, than George Washington himself was among the worst of sinners (cf. Whiskey Rebellion).

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Police, fire, and roads can all be provided by the free market. In fact, there isn’t a single public “service” that the free market can’t do and can’t do better.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Police, fire, and roads can all be provided by the free market. In fact, there isn’t a single public “service” that the free market can’t do and can’t do better.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM

True-and-enough, Dante, but free market services must still be paid for. You are merely proposing to transfer taxing authority from a social contract to a private one. And as for your assertion that there isn’t a single public “service” that the free market can’t do better, do you really believe that the private sector provides a better alternative to the American military? (I’m sure you do, so I’ll segue seamlessly into my next question) What evidence do you have in support of that assertion?

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Police, fire, and roads can all be provided by the free market. In fact, there isn’t a single public “service” that the free market can’t do and can’t do better.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM

The problem with your assertion is that when people such as yourself choose to refuse to pay for those services, everyone else suffers.

If you choose not to pay for the fire department on your buildings and property, but a fire erupts on your property, either the paid for by others’ money fire department has to spend money putting out your fire, building a defense line to allow your property to burn down without it damaging nearby buildings, and in the process maybe you wanted to burn your place down and you sue them for spraying your building.

If you choose not to pay for police protection, here again, the rest of society suffers. They cannot just allow criminals to run around free, so if you are the victim of a crime, they still have to take care of getting the criminals off the street. Then you have the question of authority to hold them against their liberty, who pays the fines when they make mistakes and arrest, detain and otherwise infringe upon the liberty of an innocent man, particularly when eye witnesses are so iffy in many cases?

As for the roads, here again, if you do not pay for the road, you are not allowed the liberty to travel from one place or another? Are you serious on this? Wouldn’t freedom of movement be a pillar of your life view? Should we have one block at a time places where you are forced to stop every single time and wait to make payment? If you argue electronic tags, what if I do not want my movements monitored?

In fact when you get right down to it, there is no place where your liberty is any better under your private sector replacements. Gryphon might agree, but I think that is due to cost, not on overall ability to get it done, government is inefficient, but for things that are universal, it is the place to get it done in many cases.

astonerii on October 20, 2012 at 3:29 PM

astonerii on October 20, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Oh and by the way, I will just find your property and buy every square inch of land surrounding it and refuse to let you leave or enter your property. Enjoy the use of it.

astonerii on October 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

astonerii on October 19, 2012 at 6:49 PM

Dante is so-o-o-o wise.

For an idiot.

Solaratov on October 20, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Let me be real clear here.

I am sympathetic to some of Dante’s musings, but I draw the line at “taxation is immoral.” If taxation is immoral, square the circle with George Washington’s persecution of the Whiskey Rebellion, or Thomas Jefferson’s mill levy in order to combat the Barbary Pirates. As someone who believes we should go back to government the way the founding fathers intended it, I can’t find any of our founding fathers — or their political muses — who argued that taxation is ipso facto immoral. We fought a war against the British precisely because we were taxed to fund a war in which we had no stake, a war prosecuted by a government who hardly acknowledged the colonies’ existence for almost three generations. The parallels between then and now are indeed disquieting, but any individual can live off the grid now should they so choose. I’m a tad surprised that Dante hasn’t done so already.

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 4:02 PM

If you choose not to pay for the fire department on your buildings and property, but a fire erupts on your property, either the paid for by others’ money fire department has to spend money putting out your fire, building a defense line to allow your property to burn down without it damaging nearby buildings, and in the process maybe you wanted to burn your place down and you sue them for spraying your building.

astonerii on October 20, 2012 at 3:29 PM

You don’t understand how the free market works at all. If you did, you wouldn’t have made such an ignorant statement.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 5:56 PM

I am sympathetic to some of Dante’s musings, but I draw the line at “taxation is immoral.” If taxation is immoral, square the circle with George Washington’s persecution of the Whiskey Rebellion, or Thomas Jefferson’s mill levy in order to combat the Barbary Pirates. As someone who believes we should go back to government the way the founding fathers intended it, I can’t find any of our founding fathers — or their political muses — who argued that taxation is ipso facto immoral. We fought a war against the British precisely because we were taxed to fund a war in which we had no stake, a war prosecuted by a government who hardly acknowledged the colonies’ existence for almost three generations. The parallels between then and now are indeed disquieting, but any individual can live off the grid now should they so choose. I’m a tad surprised that Dante hasn’t done so already.

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 4:02 PM

I don’t care if Washington or Jefferson thought taxation is immoral or not. That doesn’t change the nature of taxation. Taxation is the theft of property through coercion and force. There is nothing moral about stealing, nor is there anything moral about using force against someone (or the threat of force) in order to steal. Givernment itself is coercion and force. Taxation and government are nit voluntary. It’s really not a difficult concept. If we do not pay taxes, armed government agents trespass on our property, seize us, incarcerate us, and then the State takes our property. No one has a rightful claim of ownership on anyone else’s property, and the only way they can get thst property is through coercion (the threat of imprisonment) or force.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 6:02 PM

True-and-enough, Dante, but free market services must still be paid for. You are merely proposing to transfer taxing authority from a social contract to a private one. And as for your assertion that there isn’t a single public “service” that the free market can’t do better, do you really believe that the private sector provides a better alternative to the American military? (I’m sure you do, so I’ll segue seamlessly into my next question) What evidence do you have in support of that assertion?

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Of course things would still be paid for,but the free market is based upon voluntary relationships. And there is no social contract. I never signed a contract. Did you? No, we’ve had it imposed upon us. There was nothing voluntary about it at all. And yes, the free market would provide a better alternative than a government military.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

Here’s a great piece by Rothbard for you, Gryphon:

The Anatomy of the State

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 6:21 PM

You don’t understand how the free market works at all. If you did, you wouldn’t have made such an ignorant statement.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Remember when that town offered to cover county properties for fire department services and people who refused to pay had their houses burn down while the fire department looked on and wasted resources to ensure they were there to protect any properties that did pay for the services?

That fits exactly within what I just wrote. They are either forced to put the fire out at the expense of those who paid to protect nearby covered residences, or they have to put up fire blocks, again at the expense of those who pay for the service. Your property catching on fire costs them their wealth. Forced extraction in fact, they have no other choice. Either let your fire over run and destroy their property, or expend their wealth defending against your property fire. This is why it is a power for which people voluntarily place the fire department in the hands of local government.

If you do not want to pay for it, feel free to move to a city where the fire department is paid for by voluntary donations if you want.

astonerii on October 20, 2012 at 7:03 PM

Dante,
Now, lets look at the police. Lets go ahead and imagine where police services were provided through nothing more than private payments.

Poor people would have no power. They could be easy victims for all kinds of detestable acts, but because they do not pay for the police protection racket, they would not be covered and protected. Slave trade will run rampant! I guess liberty is only for the rich…

Rich people, on the other hand, could buy their own police forces. They could send those police forces out far and wide, explain why they could not. They could determine what the rules are that their private police are there to defend.

astonerii on October 20, 2012 at 7:13 PM

And Dante, you never did answer my question. I don’t want Murray Rothbard’s thoughts on the subject. He was a neo-anarchist who believed we took a step backwards when we ratified the constitution. You have not actually answered a single question I asked you except by giving me links to click on for other people’s musings; I want to know what you think on one subject and one subject only: What private substitute is there for American military protection?

I don’t care if Washington or Jefferson thought taxation is immoral or not. That doesn’t change the nature of taxation. Taxation is the theft of property through coercion and force. There is nothing moral about stealing, nor is there anything moral about using force against someone (or the threat of force) in order to steal. Givernment itself is coercion and force. Taxation and government are nit voluntary. It’s really not a difficult concept. If we do not pay taxes, armed government agents trespass on our property, seize us, incarcerate us, and then the State takes our property. No one has a rightful claim of ownership on anyone else’s property, and the only way they can get thst property is through coercion (the threat of imprisonment) or force.

Dante on October 20, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Okay then. I will join the rest of the posters in this thread in writing you off as a neo-anarchist Rothbardian loon. “I don’t care what Washington or Jefferson thought” is a pretty good indication that you don’t give a greasy brown shit about actually returning to our founding values.

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM

He does not see them as values.

On the other thread below this one he argues that two people having sex on a dining table out in a public place where patrons are paying for a dinner in a specified type of environment are not having their liberty infringed upon by the two deviants. Including having children witness the debauchery.

His idea of liberty is the following.
People should be free to strip naked in public where they can commence to taking all kinds of drugs while banging their same sex partner all the while screaming profanities.
The rest of the people are not allowed to stop them with any other means than to shun them. Anything more and they would be infringing on the liberties of the deviants.

astonerii on October 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM

[Dante's] idea of liberty is the following.
People should be free to strip naked in public where they can commence to taking all kinds of drugs while banging their same sex partner all the while screaming profanities.
The rest of the people are not allowed to stop them with any other means than to shun them. Anything more and they would be infringing on the liberties of the deviants.

astonerii on October 20, 2012 at 10:01 PM

I caught that. I was giving him a chance to be reasonable on this thread. It seems beyond him, so I’m going to posit something here that I’m sure will piss him off:

Murray Rothbard was a nut. Anyone who cites him in a discussion of what constitutes true liberty doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 10:40 PM

And Dante, you never did answer my question. I don’t want Murray Rothbard’s thoughts on the subject. He was a neo-anarchist who believed we took a step backwards when we ratified the constitution.

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM

This is the last response I’ll give you for a couple of reasons, but primarily because I thought we were having a respectful conversation, and you post something with the intent of pissing me off (it didn’t, by the way). Actually, that’s the only reason I’ll give you.

Do you know why some people believe we took a step backward with the Constitution? It’s because it was too vague, it didn’t restrict government enough, and that the Articles of Confederation protected the sovereignty of the states as well as the individual. The Constitution increased the power of goverment. It centralized government. For example, under the AoC, Congress could request the states to pay taxes; under the Constitution, Congress has the right to impose taxes on the individual, which was an end-around state sovereignty. Additionally, the Constitution was widely opposed by the people/states until the Bill of Rights was added on to it. The Constitution is not a sacred, infallible document; it has flaws.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Okay then. I will join the rest of the posters in this thread in writing you off as a neo-anarchist Rothbardian loon. “I don’t care what Washington or Jefferson thought” is a pretty good indication that you don’t give a greasy brown shit about actually returning to our founding values.

gryphon202 on October 20, 2012 at 9:50 PM

On second thought, I’ll give you another reason: you attempted to put words in my mouth, accompanied with a personal attack. I didn’t say, “I don’t care what Washington or Jefferson thought”; I said, “I don’t care if Washington or Jefferson thought taxation is immoral or not. That doesn’t change the nature of taxation.”

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM

And to say that I haven’t answered any of your questions is a lie.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM

On second thought, I’ll give you another reason: you attempted to put words in my mouth, accompanied with a personal attack. I didn’t say, “I don’t care what Washington or Jefferson thought”; I said, “I don’t care if Washington or Jefferson thought taxation is immoral or not. That doesn’t change the nature of taxation.”

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 12:08 AM

No, it doesn’t change your opinion of the nature of taxes. And that’s what this boils down to, is a difference of opinion. I want to rewind the clock about 100 years or so. You want to make America into something it never was to begin with.

I can deal with a difference of opinion, but I will not pretend that Rothbardian economics is a legitimate way to look at the world. He didn’t consider himself a “conservative;” he considered himself anarcho-capitalist. That you seem to consistently confuse the two, and insult people in doing so, speaks volumes to your disingenuousness.

And to say that I haven’t answered any of your questions is a lie.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM

Perhaps a bit of dramatic license on my part. But you haven’t answered what I still consider the most important question of those several that I have asked: What do you consider to be a viable private alternative to our current system of American military protection? I’d really like to know, especially considering your apparent (and Rothbard’s very real) distaste for almost everything our government-run military has done in the history of the nation.

gryphon202 on October 21, 2012 at 12:17 AM

This is the last response I’ll give you for a couple of reasons, but primarily because I thought we were having a respectful conversation, and you post something with the intent of pissing me off (it didn’t, by the way). Actually, that’s the only reason I’ll give you.

I’m not here with the sole-and-intent reason to piss in anyone’s wheaties. You can bet your bottom dollar that if I say it here without a /sarc tag attached, I believe it — even if it is a rhetorical bomb.

Do you know why some people believe we took a step backward with the Constitution? It’s because it was too vague, it didn’t restrict government enough, and that the Articles of Confederation protected the sovereignty of the states as well as the individual. The Constitution increased the power of goverment. It centralized government. For example, under the AoC, Congress could request the states to pay taxes; under the Constitution, Congress has the right to impose taxes on the individual, which was an end-around state sovereignty. Additionally, the Constitution was widely opposed by the people/states until the Bill of Rights was added on to it. The Constitution is not a sacred, infallible document; it has flaws.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 12:03 AM

The constitution is not vague if it is followed as the framers intended it. The constitution lays out the powers surrendered to the federal government by the states, and reserves all other powers to the state (hence the 9th and 10th amendments). That’s not vague. It’s pretty damn plain.

The reason the federalists fought the inclusion of a bill of rights was not because it would restrict federal power further. To the contrary, they fought its inclusion precisely because they saw no need to explicitly tell the government that it could not do what the constitution already did not authorize it to do! They saw no need to codify natural rights; the folks who wanted to do so, like Alexander Hamilton, didn’t believe in natural rights. They believed in civil rights.

Yes, the constitution did expand the federal government’s power to tax. But the federal government was woefully inadequate under the Articles of Confederation by any measure of government stability. Trade wars between the newly independent states were commonplace (hence the REAL reason for the commerce clause), and states bickered constantly over each others’ failure to recognize their respective currencies (hence the currency/coinage clause). The constitution, as it stood without the Bill of Rights, was not by ANY stretch a power grab. It was a delicate attempt to form 13 squabbling nation-states into a cohesive whole, the ratification of which would summarily represent “consent of the governed.”

The real power grabs started not long after, with Marbury Vs. Madison (and virtually every extraconstitutional “judicial review” that has taken place since then), Dred Scott Vs. Sanford, Roe Vs. Wade, and the thousands of extraconstitutional (and ergo unconstitutional) acts of congress that are somehow wrongly recognized as legal because the constitution doesn’t forbid them. WRONG WRONG WRONG. That’s not how the constitution was EVER intended to work.

I’d like to give Murray Rothbard the benefit of the doubt in assuming that he doesn’t know any better, but his rejection of movement conservatism in favor of anarcho-capitalism (his words, not mine) can’t help but make me wonder: If America, the greatest experiment in freedom in the history of an imperfect humanity, was “tyranny” to him because of rudiments such as taxation and the existence of government authority, what model society has come any closer to his ideal? He’s just as much a utopian idealist as the leftists we’re so fond of ridiculing here, and I find it ironic that someone with such a “don’t tread on me” attitude as Dante takes every opportunity to impose his own morality on the rest of us.

gryphon202 on October 21, 2012 at 12:33 AM

I’m done on this thread, cats. I’ve had enough stupid for one night.

gryphon202 on October 21, 2012 at 12:40 AM

Dante is right that taxation is immoral. It’s theft (armed robbery, actually).
I don’t think anyone here would disagree that a mugger on the street taking your money under threat of violence is immoral.
A million people people voting to hire armed men to do it for them is equally immoral.
By your advocacy of taxation you are making one of the most immoral statements ever uttered – the ends justify the means.
Actually, the mugger is morally superior to anyone who votes to tax their neighbors. The mugger does his own dirty work, taking his own risks and doesn’t demand the sanction of his victims. You who are so righteously indignant with Dante would applaud someone who resisted a mugger and at the same time condemn someone who resisted the thugs you hired to do exactly the same thing.
What is immoral for one to do is immoral for a million to do. Right and wrong don’t change with inclusion in a collective. Might does not make right. It only makes wrong more powerful.
Taxation if the first and only means ever attempted, in all of human history, to finance government. It’s primitive and has kept humanity stuck in tribalism and collectivism. It makes coercion and the initiation of the use of force the root of society and breeds police states.
This brings us to the question of how to finance government without armed robbery. It’s a question that’s rarely ever thought of, much less asked or discussed. As the commenters on this thread have demonstrated it’s even considered immoral to believe it’s possible.
I’ve participated in many discussions of the possibility of a society not based on coercion, but on mutual cooperation with force relegated to purely defensive use, and only against those who have initiated it.
The most logical proposal I’ve ever heard or read and, I believe, the most practical, was made by Ayn Rand in the chapter Government Financing in a Free Society in The Virtue of Selfishness. Her proposal was that one way government could be financed is by fees for the enforcement of contracts.

From The Atlas Society:

One of Ayn Rand’s ideas for a possible means of voluntary government financing was that individual contracts could include a payment to the government in return for assured governmental enforcement of the contract. That way, the makers of each contract could choose to pay the government a fixed amount that would be built into the contract. The underlying idea was that people could pay for each individual service provided by the government as they used it, and this has some practical applicability in the realm of contract enforcement.

Whoever, as she made clear, such an idea wouldn’t work in our modern collectivist police state:

Ayn Rand maintained that this example was just an illustration that voluntary payments as a means of government financing are possible. However, the issue will only be relevant once a society is truly capitalist and free. She emphasized that once a society comprehends the importance of maximizing individual freedom, the question of government financing is a technical one, one that lies in the realm of legal philosophy. She didn’t propose any one definite means of replacing taxation, and there is no single Objectivist view on the matter.

The vital issue is to restrict government to its proper functions. With it limited to its key function, it is likely that voluntary support of the government will be as plausible as voluntary support of, say, the Red Cross is today. But however it is financed, a limited government will be a great improvement over the ever-expanding, increasingly oppressive monster we have today.

single stack on October 21, 2012 at 8:19 AM

single stack on October 21, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Taxation to pay for those parts of the constitution that are authorized are contractual payments. You choose to remain within the taxing zone voluntarily. No one stops people from moving outside of the United States of America.

So any taxes that pay for the military, the courts, the congress, Presidency and so forth are very much as moral as any contract. The Constitution is a contract. Period. If you did not sign it, the simple act of residing within the boundary of the United States of America is implicit acceptance of the contract and its power over you. But there is nothing in the constitution arguing that you belong to this nation, so feel free to go make your world elsewhere.

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 8:35 AM

If you did not sign it, the simple act of residing within the boundary of the United States of America is implicit acceptance of the contract and its power over you.

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 8:35 AM

At least you’re consistent in your faulty thinking. There is no implied consent. Just as you are not bound to the contracts your parents sign, we are in no way bound by a contract people signed almost 250 years ago. Government has been imposed upon all of us.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 9:20 AM

From Wikipedia:

Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis)[1] is a political philosophy or worldview founded on the ideas of liberty and equality.[2] Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and a right to life, liberty, and property.

How about you start to correctly call them “leftists” or even more correctly “communists”, Portnoy? They are not liberals and their ideology is not liberalism.

woodNfish on October 21, 2012 at 9:28 AM

At least you’re consistent in your faulty thinking. There is no implied consent. Just as you are not bound to the contracts your parents sign, we are in no way bound by a contract people signed almost 250 years ago. Government has been imposed upon all of us.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 9:20 AM

Well, the constitution says otherwise. It still exists hundreds of years after passage.
You argue that you are right, but history proves you wrong. Moral cultures are primarily productive ones and last for long periods of time. Yet the world over there is not such construct anywhere that is prosperous.

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 9:33 AM

The Constitution is a contract.

The Constitution is not a contract. It’s the Supreme Law of the land of my birth. I have to live under its strictures. I don’t have to approve of every part of it. It has made the freest and most prosperous nation to ever exist possible but it contains the seeds of its own destruction.
I’m a strong advocate of strict adherence to the Constitution. It was written to restrict the power of government, not the liberty of the people; indeed, its purpose is to protect the people from the government, and it is the most moral document ever written by men.
And that’s the point – it was written by men and is as flawed as they are. The men who wrote it were wise enough to know they were flawed and so included means to change it as those flaws became manifest.
You posit that taxation is moral because it’s included in the Constitution. To be consistent you would have to also posit that slavery is also moral since it was included in the Constitution.
Your position is that the ends justify the means. My position is that civilization will never advance beyond collectivism until man finds a way to stop rationalizing evil and hypocrisy and learns to live without coercion and the initiation of the use of force as the foundation of society.

single stack on October 21, 2012 at 9:59 AM

single stack on October 21, 2012 at 9:59 AM

You seriously argue that the Constitution is not a contract?

I posit that taxation is moral for those things it is used for in the contract The Constitution of the United States of America.

I agree that the government is outside its contractual restraints. Much of what we are taxed for are immoral, because they are not authorized by the contract.

As for slavery, slavery is actually a moral thing. Just not the way it was practiced in the United States of America.

In the America’s slavery was initially indentured servitude, frequently self imposed to pay for the trip from the old world to the new world. Unfortunately, it was abused, those who were owed for that trip made road blocks to the indentured servant from paying his debt off. It was a contract at the beginning. Are you arguing that this sort of contract is immoral?

Times such as Roman times, people freely made themselves slaves of the upper class, and in so doing were able to be educated beyond their initial means, held jobs with respect and power, had the ability to own their own slaves, got paid, held property, and if they chose to, bought themselves out of slavery.

So, it only depends on the actions of those partaking in the activity that determines morality. The slavery practiced in the United States was immoral, but slavery in and of itself is not. Every time you borrow money, you become a slave to the person you owe. While they may not dictate much of your life these days, they do dictate where your wealth creation goes.

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Well, the constitution says otherwise. It still exists hundreds of years after passage.
You argue that you are right, but history proves you wrong. Moral cultures are primarily productive ones and last for long periods of time. Yet the world over there is not such construct anywhere that is prosperous.

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 9:33 AM

The Constitution doesn’t say otherwise; it doesn’t refute a single thing I’ve said.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM

As for slavery, slavery is actually a moral thing.

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Wow.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

The Constitution doesn’t say otherwise; it doesn’t refute a single thing I’ve said.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 10:34 AM

It does so say something. It has lasted centuries longer than any of your flawed examples of moral societies. That shows they were not so moral.

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM

Wow.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Shows your total ignorance of something that you should be 100% supportive of. Contracts. LOSER!

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM

As for slavery, slavery is actually a moral thing.

astonerii on October 21, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Wow.

Dante on October 21, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Yeah, I know. I can’t believe the douchebag bit that hook.

single stack on October 21, 2012 at 2:31 PM

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