Free Markets, Free People

Final Thoughts

Taxation clarified:

When you give your money to someone in need, simply because you want to help, that’s called CHARITY.

When someone in need holds a gun to your head and makes you give them your money, that’s called ROBBERY.

When someone holds a gun to your head, makes you give your money to him for the benefit of someone in need whom he claims to represent, that’s called SPREADING THE WEALTH.

As a corollary, when someone takes out massive loans in your name and the names of your children in order to give that money to someone else, that’s called STIMULUS.

Of course, I don’t mean that all taxation works this way. I want a strong military, competent police and a functioning judiciary to protect our society and individual interests. “All taxation is theft” is fun to ponder, but not reality. Having a civil society will always cost something. It’s when taxation goes beyond what’s necessary to perform those minimal functions that “theft” becomes an appropriate term.

20 Responses to Final Thoughts

  • Be careful how you use the word “theft” here.  Just because you receive a valuable product or service in exchange for the money — even one you might otherwise pay for voluntarily — does not change the nature of how the money was acquired to pay for that product or service.
    I understand where you’re coming from, but consider whether even governmental services that are of value to its citizens must be funded under threat of force.  If they are truly of value, wouldn’t it make sense that citizens would pay for those services voluntarily (and that’s not as far-fetched an idea as it sounds; people already are willing to give time — and in some cases, their lives — by joining our all-volunteer military)?

    • Rape isn’t rape if given the time you could have seduced her?

      • The other way around.  If it is non-consensual sex, it is still rape, even if the victim ultimately enjoys the experience.
        Similarly, even if the government does use (some) taxed money to provide something of value to its citizens, that does not change the fact that the money was still taken by force (i.e., stolen).

  • And when a man running for office tells people that he will “change the American economy” and it instead mires into a near-depression under his watch, don’t be surprised that those American people who wasted their votes voting for this fraud are a tad angry, and now want to take it out on the political party of said President and his fellow numbnuts in both houses of Congress.

    • Near-depression? James, you just aren’t giving enough credit to Saint Obamus. Give him another year or two to make it a genuine depression. Huge budget deficits continuing while the Fed tries to sop up some of the liquidity? As has been said, “This will not end well.”

  • When someone holds a gun to your head, makes you give your money to him for the benefit of someone in need whom he claims to represent, that’s called SPREADING THE WEALTH.

    I have concluded that, to be a liberal, one must be some combination of idiot and thief.  Consider how many otherwise smart and well-intentioned people are liberals because they think that the government ought to “do something” to cure this or that social problem, and are quite willing to raise taxes to fund those noble enterprises (in all fairness, they are generally willing to pay those taxes; not all libs are total hypocrites like Tax Cheat Timmy, Taz Rangle, etc).  Essentially, they are taking money from people in order to purchase a feeling of their own virtue: “I voted to help homeless people” or “I support free health care for people who can’t afford it.”

    Never mind that the government is an enormously inefficient and wasteful entity.  Never mind that the government that can do something FOR you can also do something TO you.  Never mind that what one person sees as a noble, necessary expenditure of taxpayer money is seen by other people as a waste or even outright damaging to our country (does welfare help people or encourage laziness and dependence?).  The important thing is that John Q. Liberal feels gosh-darned good about himself; it never occurs to him that he’s putting the gun of government power to another person’s head to pay for that feeling.

    Phoenix… consider whether even governmental services that are of value to its citizens must be funded under threat of force.  If they are truly of value, wouldn’t it make sense that citizens would pay for those services voluntarily[?]

    Good point.  Just because I think that a well-funded police department or military is a good thing, does it give me the right to insist that other people who don’t agree should pay for those things, too?  Where do we draw the line?

    • “Where do we draw the line?”

      “Ay, there’s the rub.”  Unfortunately, when it comes to people and language there are no clear or absolute boundaries. As long as there are two or more people in the world there will never be a clearly drawn line. That is why the Supreme Court has an odd number of judges. Plural. As someone once said (approx.), democracy is a horrible form of government; but it is less horrible than the alternatives.

  • Taxation is necessary.
    I think this thought experiment helps us keep in mind that government action is supported by at best a morally dubious act.
    Taxation is a necessary evil, and thus should be kept to the minimum necessary.
     

  • Shorter version: taxation beyond what you consider to be important is theft.  But you do not get to draw the lines for the entire country.   Your line between legitimate taxation and theft is your opinion.  Others have different opinions.  The democratic functioning of this Republic determines how the line gets drawn for the country as  a whole.  Everyone has their theory of how government “should” be.  Those theories disagree.  No one can prove theirs “right,” it depends on core values and beliefs.  Therefore, most people find government not to be in sync with their theory on how it should be.   That’s inevitable in a country this size.

    • All the more reason why it should be absolutely minimal and Constitutionally limited (in practice, not just in theory).

  • Yeah.  Okay.
     
    I just don’t get the title:
    “Final Thoughts”
     
    !?!

  • taxation beyond what you consider to be important is theft.

    Not important.  Necessary.  I think that what constitutes “important” is harder to quantify than what constitutes “necessary,” even if people disagree.  You can fit a whole lot under “important” that can be easily dismissed if you try to justify it as “necessary.”

    • By the same token, ‘necessary’ as well.  Some people may consider a water supply necessary if they don’t have one and want to pool the community resources to get it, a guy with his own well that he dug may be hesitant to agree it’s ‘necessary’ for him to contribute to the effort of the community well via his gold or labor.
      So even necessary can be argued, but I will give you ‘important’ is way too vague.

  • “Having a civil society will always cost something.”  and “When someone in need holds a gun to your head and makes you give them your money, that’s called ROBBERY.”  appear to be contradictory.  It seems odd to have civil society based on robbery.

    The solution:  make public programs voluntary.  Most people would gladly pay for roads, police, hospitals, defense and those sorts of things.  Most people would not pay for bailouts of fat cat bankers, subsidies of [insert special interest here], or all manner of other programs that don’t work.

     

    • How do you administer those who didn’t pay for your roads and keep them off your roads?  Do you let them use your roads in emergencies?
      Does your fire department come out when a house next to yours, who didn’t pay their fee, burns, and their purpose is only to make sure yours doesn’t catch fire due to your flaming neighbors house ( reality even if everyone DID pay….).  Do they stand and watch the other house burn and say “ah, a pity they didn’t pay for us to help put it out….”.
      If people aren’t going to pay, you literally have to make moral decisions NOT to help them, when the barbarians attack their house your police force doesn’t appear to stop it, or burns their farm, neither your police nor your fire department show up, or they need to get to the hospital (which they paid for) on the roads (which they elected not to pay for).     So in their time of need we’d have to be prepared to tell them ‘tough’ (again, a rural problem even today owing to distance and coverage and response time, though no one tells you ‘tough’ instead we say “sorry”).
       
      The majority of services we take for granted (except the roads) we only tend to use in times of need.   What kind of a country would we be if the answer was always “they should have paid” when people are in need and the community literally turns their back on them?
       
      Oh my god, I’ve become a liberal….
       

      • Steady, man, steady!  You haven’t become a lib because of this statement:

        “they should have paid”

        A lib would NEVER write that because the idea that somebody (unless they are “rich”) ought to pay for anything would never cross his mind.

  • It is NOT a virtue to be generous with other people’s money.

  • Taxes should be kept as local as possible.  We have far more control over local politics then we do the DC pork-a-thon.
    Why does our money travel to Washington, only to be returned (disproportionately) back to the states, counties, and cities???
    Return the Federal government to it’s Constitutional limits, and lo and behold states will have to take care of their own problems.  The Federal government was for dealing with problems that cross state lines.

  • “Your money” qualified:

    Money is the unit of currency operated by the state and the state is able to charge you for its usage. 

  • @looker:
    There will always be a problem of free riders.  They exist in the current system (even encouraged).  If you pay for fire service and your neighbor doesn’t then that does not entitle you neighbor to the fire service you paid for.  You may want to call them out so as your neighbor’s bad fortune doesn’t become your own but you are under no obligation to help them.  Of course, when you agree to the service you might put such clauses as to when the fire service is to help out.  In the end, the consequences of a person’s action belongs to them and them alone.
    I think you get to the core of the problem when you say that the majority of the people take the service for granted.  That is the problem.  They see the benefit but not the cost.  It is easy to spend other people’s money recklessly but most people are much more discerning when they are spending their own.