Moral Problem with Taxation

I recall a conversation I had with my brother-in-law, who is left-leaning and a solid Democrat.  I was trying to explain why I viewed taxation as immoral.  My slant was something like this: if taxes are good and beneficial, then individuals would pay them voluntarily.  Why force me to put my money where I would otherwise not put it?  To me, this is an irreconcilable abrogation on private property rights.

His response was simple: to him, taxes were voluntary.  He trusts the system (more than I do, anyway) and gladly pays his taxes for what he sees are fair pay-offs: health care assistance, education assistance, roads, social security, etc.  In short, he voluntarily would pay his taxes.  He chooses to do so.  Even if the IRS removed their thousands of armed agents and strict federal tax evasion laws were repealed, he’d still pay.

Now my argument is this: that’s fine and dandy if you or even many people would voluntarily pay the government for these services.  But what of us that would not willingly do so, provided stringent repellents were not in place?  We are being forced or compelled to use our money in a way we would not choose to.

Consider how many tens of millions of Americans are being forced to pay taxes (taxes and tax policy are largely controlled by unelected bureaucrats) against their will!  Where is their agency?  Where is their individual liberty?  Why is it neglected?

Did our Founding Fathers really think that a bare majority (or unelected bureaucrats, as the case may be) are morally justified in setting an arbitrary tax rate that is binding on everyone else?

I think not.  Democracy is highly over-rated in today’s political world, and is one way of abrogating private property rights and individual liberty itself.  Far better to follow the Founding Fathers in severely limiting the powers and functions of government, especially government’s control over our pursestrings, and those of our grandchildren!

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4 Comments

Filed under Austrian Economics, fiscal policy, Libertarian, monetary policy, politics, role of government

4 responses to “Moral Problem with Taxation

  1. Did our Founding Fathers really think that a bare majority (or unelected bureaucrats, as the case may be) are morally justified in setting an arbitrary tax rate that is binding on everyone else?

    Perhaps this is an uneducated comment, but aren’t tax rates set by Congress, not unelected bureaucrats?

  2. plato04

    Perhaps I should clarify. While Congress technically approves tax rates (I admit you are correct here), they also approve very complex legislation written, or at least pressured to be written, by unelected bureaucrats or in some cases, lobbyists.

    In addition, unelected bureaucrats and lobbyists also have a hand in setting regulations which act as a tax (an increase in the cost of goods and services caused by government economic intervention).

    Perhaps the most aggregious example of unelected bureaucrats setting or affecting tax rates is the Federal Reserve setting interest rates, playing around with the monetary supply, and generally causing inflation, literally devaluing the money in our pockets, our paychecks, and our bank accounts. This inflation tax is the most insidious, as it is the most hidden.

  3. I’ve been reading Bastiat’s The Law tonight. I’m only half-way through, and I’m already persuaded of the immorality of taxation, particularly since it is used to further specific parties’ agendas. (Bought a copy of it on Amazon for $2.99 tonight; considering buying copies for all my friends & family for Christmas!) Also, universal suffrage isn’t necessarily quite as peachy-keen as we’ve been led to believe, most notably for its effect of empowering people to forcibly confiscate property from others unto themselves, without guilt (through taxation). Very interesting stuff…

    At any rate, it’s a blessed coincidence that I find this post in conjunction with my reading – thank you for your thoughts!

  4. "Sally Cumber"

    I don’t know a lot about this subject but a thought popped in as I skimmed. I think one of the main issues for our founding fathers was taxation without representation. I don’t know that they wanted to entirely remove taxes so much as make them based on the needs of those being affected by them. So are we being properly represented? If not how could it be remedied? (these questions are more rhetorical then anything)

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