The Red Dirt Liberty Report: You Paid For It!
Over the years as a small business owner, I have preached to anyone that will listen about the unfair burden of forced labor pushed onto businesses for the luxury of citizens to have a mentality that if something is done by someone else, it doesn’t really have an effect of them. So, since most people aren’t listening, I’ll put it another way: You are paying for it!
Businesses are being forced, at their own expense, to collect the vast majority of the various taxes you pay. At their own expense, they must collect them, account for them, and pay them on to various government entities. They have no choice in the matter. They are forced to do the labor free of charge, or go to prison. Libertarians cry loudly about taxes being theft or extortion on their own account, but don’t seem to care at all about businesses being extorted into service to collect these taxes. Of all the groups of people that should care about this, libertarians should have the loudest voices, but there is barely a peep about it. Even the libertarians seem to be convinced that as long as somebody else is doing it, it isn’t their own problem. The subject of businesses forced into labor on your behalf seems to always be met with a yawn.
Businesses are also tasked, forcibly, to provide various benefits – healthcare, paid leave, accommodations – for people who might normally be unable to complete their tasks in employment, etc. These may be great benefits that many businesses would offer voluntarily, but if there is a cost, you are still paying it. Again, even libertarians seem to remain silent on the majority of these things, because as long as businesses are doing it, they don’t believe it has any effect on them.
Yet, all of this is having a serious detrimental effect on everyone.
All the costs businesses bear in being forced to provide these services are coming out of your pocket. You pay a lot more for the goods and services you purchase as a consumer. As an employee, the costs associated with hiring you are viewed by an employer as a part of what it costs to pay you (for example, with collecting your withholding taxes). Therefore, all the things a business is required to do on your behalf is money that the business would likely pay you directly. If the business is willing to pay these costs associated with hiring you, but you do not receive them as compensation, that money could have been yours.
It’s a neat little trick we use to hide things from ourselves.
If we force businesses to do things for us, we believe we aren’t footing the bill for them. When you get your pay check, the impact of your taxes withheld is not nearly as much as you writing the check to pay the taxes yourself. Somehow, it’s out of mind for you, and many people even believe they are getting a bonus with their tax refunds. When your employer has to pay your taxes for you and the burden of tax collections and the management of such is placed on them, for some reason you think nothing of that cost coming out of your pocket. There are costs to collecting and accounting for sales tax, but for some reason, people don’t feel like they have to pay those costs if they aren’t doing it themselves, and it seems more convenient to force someone else to do the work. Ironically, many libertarians call sales taxes a sort of ‘voluntary tax’, yet there is nothing voluntary about threatening a business owner with prison time if they don’t collect sales taxes on behalf of other people.
If libertarians are supportive of the idea that government should not force people to do things against their will, why are they so ambivalent about forcing business owners to do their bidding?
I strongly suspect this writing will be greeted with yet another yawn, but at least I would have tried. It’s important for you to understand it’s not just someone else’s problem, but yours as well. These things are costing you, personally, huge sums right out of your pocket. You can continue to yawn about how much you ambivalently surrender to forcing others to do your bidding and you footing the bill for it, or you can voice your opposition. It is lonely out here being such a tiny voice on this subject. Surely I can’t be the only one concerned about it. My hope is that libertarians, at least, can be a little louder about the money flowing out of their pockets, and that they surely can lose this mentality of “As long as I’m not having to do the work, it’s someone else’s problem.”