Last week, I wrote of some of the potential economic effects of the GOP tax plan. However, there is a larger discussion on taxes and their effects on the more personal liberty of individuals, and individuals within businesses. It’s a battle cry amongst libertarians that you see everywhere: “Taxation is theft.” It has also been argued that taxation is extortion, but to me, they are really just different terms for the same thing – taking my property by force.
Politicians like to play games where they reframe debates into discussions about things that are not at the real core of an issue, in order to distract the public to get what they ultimately want – power. There is a common belief that the left wants higher taxes and the right wants to lower them. While it is true in general terms, there is a reason why the debate is always framed as a debate about the economics, juxtaposed against fairness and inequity. Sure, I framed things this way in last week’s column myself. That is to say, I framed my highlights based upon economic effects of potential new tax policy. However, maybe I fell into a trap myself.
As long as the debate remains outside of the real argument, politicians gain power. The right argues for economic incentives in toying with tax rates, which retains their power in fiscal policy on the economy. The left argues about fairness and inequity in order to retain their power over using tax policy for social engineering. As long as they are successful in framing their debate this way, both sides win. They both draw the majority of people into a binary battle where when either side wins, government gets greater power at the expense of individual liberties. And, everyone is affected by it.
If you’re on the left side of politics, while your political leader comrades argue that you deserve a more fair shake, they dip their hand into your pocket and take your property. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, you are a target of taxation. You pay money to an entity without your express consent by force – under threat of imprisonment. While your leftist leaders pretend to have your best interests at heart, they steal your money, all the while arguing that they shouldn’t. They are two-faced liars that prey on your support for their own personal gain. Government cannot and will never provide you with any sort of fairness. Nor can it ever rectify any sort of inequity. From where do you think such powers would come? Government begins with no powers at all. You have to give those powers away before they can be granted back to you. Those leftist leaders you support have been using you to steal your money and take away your liberties so that they can look magnanimous in giving back to you a portion of what they took from you by force.
If you’re on the right-hand side of the political spectrum, your leaders argue that their tax policy is a great way to make the economy function more properly. By granting them the power to lower your taxes, they will inject money into the economy for the greater good of all. What they fail to mention is that you have given them this power to begin with. They aren’t being magnanimous in giving you back what was already yours. By framing the debate about the economy, they are implying that they should be able to manage the economy through fiscal policy, while continuing to pick your pocket. The right does not and has never cut spending. They have no intention of giving up their hard-fought gains in taking your independence and giving themselves greater power. If you think your leadership from the right wants to give you your money back, you’re wrong. They want to convince you that they should give only some back and divert the rest into their causes of corporate welfare and greater military overreach, while funding laws that eliminate certain personal freedoms that a majority of people might find unseemly and harmful. Maybe they are unseemly and harmful, but in so giving these liberties to the government for determination, you’ve given your freedoms away, and you have allowed politicians that use your support to play with how much they pick your pocket in the name of playing with the economy.
While individual liberties include both, economic and social facets, this discussion seeks to focus on taxation. It does not matter who you are, your economic circumstances, or your station in life. Everyone is affected by unfair taxation. All taxes are both extortion and theft. Even if you believe that many government institutions are necessary and must be somehow funded, it’s important to start from a place of realizing that no matter what the government program, it requires stealing other peoples’ money – including yours, no matter who you are. This isn’t a debate about fairness vs. economics. It’s a debate about how much extortion is an acceptable amount. How much theft are we willing to accept in the name of granting our personal liberties to people who want to control us? How much control over our liberties are we willing to give away and fund? The answer has to be something very small, and to always remember whatever government program you insist upon, you are not unaffected. You are giving someone access to extorting and stealing your own money.