NeoCon invites me to leave the country. Let me tell you why that’s ridiculous.

The other night while watching the election circus, I was pinging back and forth with a NeoCon friend. The subject of income taxation (confiscation) came up. The conversation, in part, proceeded thusly:

me: Why does the State have more of a right to my money than i do?

interlocutor: Sigh…”the state.” [Ed: What would he prefer to call it???] It’s something we all choose to pay, in order to fund the services provided by that state. if you don’t like it, you can always move somewhere else.

me: How is it that we choose?There is no choice.

You realize, of course, that the Boston Tea Party was thrown over a tax that is comparatively infentesimal compared to what we’re dealing with now.

interlocutor: Listen – there is a choice. We choose to live in a representative democracy, we choose to provide services, we choose to have a federal government – these are choices that have been made over time. The case for the federal government goes back to the federalist papers, and those papers cover arguments for taxation as well. I’m not going to get in to all of that. If you don’t like it, you can leave -that’ why there’s a choice. You’r enot compelled to stay – you’re just asked to pay a tax if you do stay.
Where to begin with this? For starters, I’m not sure who chooses to live under our particular form of government, or who “chooses” to assent all over again to the income tax, something a far previous generation did. My interlocutor’s notions remind me of Edmund Burke’s claim that an earlier generation can forfeit rights on behalf of future generations.

But let’s get to the nitty gritty of this “pay taxes or leave” business. The idea that I have a choice in such a matter is truly absurd. And the invitation to leave is obviously grotesque, but since it isn’t so to everyone, maybe it will help if I explain why.

To many, especially to Americanists, it would seem fair that someone who doesn’t like this or that aspect of the government’s tyranny would pack up and leave. The absurdity of this becomes apparent when looked at through the prism of private property rights, which are the handmaiden of natural rights. A man’s property is that which he has obtained, by one way or another, through the fruit of his labor. He has “mixed” his bodily exertions with the objects around him, to borrow a word from John Locke. This property would include not only a man’s house and land but also his money, which he takes as payment in lieu of the actual products that he produces through his labor.

Alas, the government has arrogated to itself the right to take, by force if necessary, portions of each man’s income, and it also levies taxes based on the value of his property. By what right? If the State can take the fruit of a man’s labor, what principle is left to prevent it from violating his other rights, such as the right not to be forced into servitude (which in the USA has usually taken the form of military conscription) or the right not to be searched without probable cause?

Now, let’s say that I’m left with the choice either to pay up or leave. There really is no choice here in any real sense of that word. Leave aside what would seem to be the natural right of man to stay where he is without risk of assault by his government. If a man were to decide to leave the country, he would be left to sell his property so that he could move elsewhere.

So he is duly compensated for his property, right? Well, not necessarily. There is an idea which Austrian economists have discussed called the subjectivity of value. In other words, on paper, your property might be worth $350,000. But this does not account for any sentimental value which you yourself attach to it. Imagine that you live in the house that your great-grandfather built. Would a mere monetary payment replace everything you’re about to give up? Certainly not.

In the end, then, one is left with the choice of giving up his property through taxation or giving up his property by becoming a refugee and possibly losing irreplaceable treasures.

Maybe, in addition to being a jackass, I’m also an imbecile, but really, I can’t see where the justice is in this.

“America, love it or leave it,” the flag-wavers like to say.  It would seem far better to stay here and make this land a better place in which to live. That’s what the hosts of the Boston Tea Party did. It’s what Thomas Paine did. And it’s what I plan to do.

5 Responses

  1. Actually, those who expatriate are not off the hook…

    http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11554721

    Love it or leave it…if you can pay.

  2. Jim,

    Most interesting. For once, I have actually understated the evils of the government! Thanks for sharing that.

  3. Hmmm, that’s great that you’re trying to show that we “should” have a choice to pay taxes, but the rough truth is, you NO choice whatsoever.

    They’re not taking your money and just going to Vegas with it, and you damned well know it’s being put to use.

    Without your taxation, you wouldn’t have public schools, public health departments, public services (water, electricity, street repair, land construction — to build your house on). You’re taxes aren’t being taken for no good reason, they’re being taken to run this country to ensure that you have proper institutions for yourself and your children.

    It really makes one facepalm when you hear people jambering on about “right to pay taxes”. Facts are, taxes are necessary to live as well as you do.

    Without taxes you’d be the one fixing roads that don’t belong to you, fixing water breaks that have no relation to your house (or, you could be tunnel sighted and fix only your problems, which at the end of the day accomplishes nothing in water or street systems). Without taxes you wouldn’t have Employment Insurance to claim if you lost your job and couldn’t get hired. Without your taxes businesses would have much harder times operating, making it much more difficult for you to find what you need, thus upping prices in almost every segment of society.

    If you really want to not pay taxes and cost yourself a ridiculous amount of money, fine. But just don’t do it in America.

  4. “They’re not taking your money and just going to Vegas with it, and you damned well know it’s being put to use.”

    Theft is theft. It doesn’t matter what the robber uses the money for.

    “Without your taxation, you wouldn’t have public schools, public health departments, public services (water, electricity, street repair, land construction — to build your house on)”

    It’s not that these wouldn’t exist, it’s that they wouldn’t be provided by the government, nor would they be funded through coercive tax measures. Yes, I’d rather pay a toll on each and every road to its private owner than pay taxes. Why? Because a private owner must take cognizance of market forces, whereas the government just sets its prices and shakes you down every April 15.

    “Without taxes you’d be the one fixing roads that don’t belong to you…”

    Nope. The companies that own the roads, and the other utilities you mention, would.

    “Without taxes you wouldn’t have Employment Insurance to claim if you lost your job and couldn’t get hired.”

    I don’t have this even now, since I work for non-profits.

    “Without your taxes businesses would have much harder times operating”

    This makes no sense whatsoever. Except for the businesses which are benefiting from the current corporatist-fascist policies, entrepreneurs are being burdened with taxes as much or more than the individual. They are also being burdened with stupid labor laws, with the social security tax, and with costs involved in the Unemployment Insurance which you mentioned earlier. Without taxes, these businesses could spent more resources to provide _more_ to the consumer.

    “If you really want to not pay taxes and cost yourself a ridiculous amount of money, fine. But just don’t do it in America.”

    See the link in the first comment.

  5. It’s true that taxes are required to run government, but on the subject of income tax, that which this article is about, it’s a completely different story. Aside from an income tax being completely unconstitutional, and it is, the income tax goes 100 % into the federal debt.

    An income tax is unconstitutional because it’s a direct tax on your wages. All other taxes are indirect. Like a property tax that pays for schools. If you want to enroll your child in Americaville Independant School District then you pay for it by owning or renting real estate in that disctrict. It’s the same for your roads and bridges. Money for that comes out of your gas tax. Get it? None of your public services come from income taxes.

    So where does all that money from your income tax go? It goes to a debt that our grandfathers and fathers have been racking up in federal credit for the past 75 years, and they’re paying it back with your paychecks.

    Either way the author is right. You don’t just run away when the bullshit gets too deep. You hike up your pants and wade through it till you reach higher ground.

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