Compulsory contributions demanded by governments from individuals and other entities

A tax (from the Latin taxo) is a mandatory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed upon a taxpayer (an individual or other legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund various public expenditures. A failure to pay, along with evasion of or resistance to taxation, is punishable by law. Taxes consist of direct or indirect taxes and may be paid in money or as its labor equivalent.

  • Social Security Tax - Tax imposed on employers and employees to fund the Social Security system


Abolish the Income Tax and IRS, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Oct 2014
Comments on New York Times article describing IRS asset forfeiture of bank accounts of ordinary people merely on the suspicion of avoiding reporting requirements
"In the past, when advocates of big government called for an income tax, opponents warned that the government would become 'inquisitorial.' How right they were. The tax rationalized the creation of the inquisitorial Internal Revenue Service, which to carry out its nefarious work must have access to all of our personal financial information. Nothing can escape its view if it is to do its job. ... All taxation is robbery, but the income tax is the most egregious form of all because of this invasion of privacy. Modest reforms will not be enough. Only uprooting the tax system and abolishing the evil IRS will do."
A Free-Market Constitution for Hong Kong: A Blueprint for China [PDF], by Alvin Rabushka, Cato Journal, 1989
Discusses the draft of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, expected to be promulgated in 1990 (actually adopted 4 April 1990 and went into effect 1 July 1997), as a "free-market constitution"
"First, low rates of direct taxation stimulate work, saving, and investment, thereby fostering high rates of economic growth. ... Article 107 stipulates that the HKSAR shall continue to practice a low tax policy, which means that any expansion in public sector spending must come either from the fruits of economic growth or by substituting spending in one program for another."
Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Murray Rothbard, Faith and Freedom, Jan 1956
Contrasts the attitudes of U.S. participants in the 1955 Geneva Summit with those of their Soviet counterparts; becomes encouraged by the rejection of multiple ballot measures asking for funds for various government programs
"In state after state, taxpayers accustomed to rubber-stamping local government requests for more money, suddenly turned and voted them down by large margins. New Yorkers hadn't rejected a constitutional amendment ... in ten years. Now they suddenly defeated a $750 million highway program, and a sewer bond issue. ... All over the nation, voters turned down funds for: parking lots, schools, water development, slum clearance, etc. The mighty array of taxpayers rose in revolt. ... Both parties fear this most: that the taxpayers will at last make their wishes known by voting one great audible 'No!'"
Related Topics: Democratic Party, Russia
Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Murray Rothbard, Faith and Freedom, Oct 1956
Summarizes highlights of the 1956 presidential race, thanking Adlai Stevenson for calling for an end to the draft and nuclear weapons tests, and various proposals about repealing the income tax
"In recent months, fired by Andrews' charges, nationwide magazines have speculated on possible repeal of the income tax. If anyone had predicted such a discussion a few years ago, he would have been dismissed as a hopeless crackpot. But now, with growing tax burdens, with Joe Louis forced to wrestle, and cobblers deprived of most of their gains on answering the $64,000 question, the public listens. ... the Economic Research Department of the Chamber suggested ending taxes entirely and replacing them with voluntary contributions! Before you dismiss such ideas as crazy, think long and hard."
Related Topic: Militarism
A Man, a Plan, a Flop, by David Gordon, Mises Daily, 23 Apr 2006
Critical review of Murray's In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State
"But if the government is as inefficient as Murray thinks, why take money in taxes at all? Should people not be free to spend or save their own money as they please? ... Given such huge costs, taxes of course must remain high: 'There is no way to reconfigure the tax system so that middle-income and affluent citizens do not end up paying just about as much tax as they do now.' ... The whole point of his plan is to maintain the transfer of income to the poor carried out by the current welfare state: his claim is that the plan will transfer income more efficiently. And to do so, high taxes are necessary."
And now, a word from our founder, by Raymond C. Hoiles, The Orange County Register, 29 May 2006
Statement of editorial policies that "should be followed in order to make the newspapers controlled by Freedom Newspapers Inc. better serve the community, the state and the nation", written in the 1960s by the Freedom Communications, Inc. founder
"This also makes us take a stand against any form of taxation, because taxation is a form of initiating force. If one believes in taxation or initiating force, it would seem that he must discard the commandments against stealing and coveting ... Since no man can give another's consent, then if we believe in this principle, governments should be supported on a voluntary basis. If a man does not consent to voluntarily paying, he should not be compelled to pay."
An End to Eminent Domain Abuse?, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Apr 2005
Published just two months before the unfortunate Kelo v. City of New London U.S. Supreme Court decision, expressed hope that the court would rectify the 1954 Berman v. Parker ruling
"Pursuing their ambition to have a larger tax base, politicians have figured out that eminent domain is an easy way for them to take land away from people who aren't making very good use of it — because they don't pay a lot in taxes — and hand it over to others who will make 'better' use of it — because they will be subject to much higher taxation. ... Higher taxes, which officials can then spend on the supposed 'public interest,' justify treating peaceful landowners like medieval serfs."
Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Who First Put Laissez-Faire Principles into Action, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Aug 1997
Biographical essay, covering his life, works and involvement with the Physiocrats, as well as his accomplishments as an administrator
"Peasants in Limoges, as elsewhere, were crushed by taxes. Economic historian Florin Aftalion reported there were some 1,600 customs houses throughout France to collect traites as goods passed various points along roads and rivers. ... There were a host of other taxes, including one on salt. The taille amounted to about a sixth of the income of peasants. ... Peasants got to keep about a fifth of their income. The taille, from which some 130,000 clergymen and 140,000 aristocrats were exempted, was based on a tax collector's estimate of a peasant's ability to pay, which meant appearances."
April Is the Cruelest Month, by Sheldon Richman, Apr 2001
Discusses the income tax and how government acts as a transfer machine from the majority to various interest groups, while keeping incumbent politicians in power
"Today the federal government takes a record amount of the people's income, more than 20 percent. ... In all the public discussion of the income tax, the key fact gets lost: it's your money. You work for it. You earn it. It's your property. Only you have a right to it. The plans that the politicians make to spend your money are outrages against liberty. We've come a long way since small tea and stamp taxes bred revolutionary thoughts in our forefathers."
A Tax Even Libertarians Could Love?, by Matt Zwolinski, 4 Mar 2016
Discusses Henry George's proposal for a Single Tax and his moral and economic arguments in favor of the tax
"Nobody likes taxes. But not all taxes are equally bad. From a moral perspective, some taxes are more unjust than others – imposing costs, for instance, on precisely those people who are least able to afford them. And from an economic perspective, some taxes are more inefficient than others, distorting economic activity by discouraging work and/or investment. ... A tax on the unimproved value of those [natural] resources is therefore one way in which humanity as a whole can reclaim what has been unjustly monopolized by a few, and do so moreover without violating individuals' self-ownership."
Begrudging Another Battle of Ballot-Boxing, by Kenneth R. Gregg, 23 Nov 2006
Explains how those seeking power through politics are led to compromise, even if they are members of a group espousing principles over expediency, and urges others not to ballot-box but instead vote in the marketplace and the social realm
"Some people want the state to provide one service; others prefer another ... Each service requires the use of force, if for no other reason than to receive taxes which maintain the instrumentalities of the state. The stronger a state becomes, the more taxes it requires; the more taxes required, the more force needed to enforce the dictates of the state."
Bernie Is Not a Socialist and America Is Not Capitalist, by Marian Tupy, The Atlantic, 1 Mar 2016
Clarifies the meaning of various terms which young people tend to misunderstand, including socialism, communism, capitalism and corporatism, and then discusses the relative levels of economic freedom in the United States and other countries
"... to obtain and redistribute outlays amounting to 39 percent of GDP, the government relies on borrowing as well as a myriad of taxes, including: individual and corporate income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, sales and excise taxes, property and estate taxes, etc. ... my point is that contrary to what the advocates of economic freedom might wish, taxation in America is neither particularly low nor easy. According to the World Bank, the totality of the tax burden (i.e., the level of taxation and the difficulty of compliance with the tax code combined) in the United States is more onerous than in many other countries."
Best of Both Worlds: An Interview with Milton Friedman, by Milton Friedman, Brian Doherty, Reason, Jun 1995
Topics discussed include: the new Congress, flat taxes, the withholding tax, the people who influenced him, what led him to write about policy issues, libertarianism and how his political views have changed over the years
"... from an economic point of view, one of the worst features of our system is that you have a new tax law every year or every two years. However bad the tax law is, if you didn't change it for five years it would do less harm. Why do you keep changing it? Because that's the most effective way to raise campaign funds. Lobbyists will pay you to put loopholes in; they will pay you to take them out. If you can get a flat tax with no exemptions or deductions—the Armey plan I suppose would be fine—its main advantage would not be the greater equity of a flat tax or less interference in private incentives."
Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 1, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Aug 2006
Discusses the differences between direct and indirect taxes, pointing out that even James Madison and Alexander Hamilton could not agree unambiguously on definitions
"The tax (like all taxes) entails the threat of physical force against nonaggressors and is thus indistinguishable from robbery or extortion. ... In the most fundamental terms, the income tax is objectionable not because it's an income tax, but because it is an income tax. ... Frank Chodorov ... was wrong. It's not the income tax that is the root of all evil. It's taxation per se."
Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 2, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Sep 2006
Reviews the income tax laws passed between 1861 and 1894 and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the Pollock case
"... landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. (1895), paved the way for the Sixteenth Amendment. ... the Court concluded that a general tax on income, being indirect, was constitutional without apportionment among the states, but that a tax on income from real and personal property, being indistinguishable from a tax on the property itself, was direct taxation and thus required apportionment."
Related Topic: War
Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 3, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Oct 2006
Reviews the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad
"Like it or not, the U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress to levy any tax it wants. You may read the Constitution otherwise, but the constitutionally endowed courts have spoken. Reading one's libertarian values into the Constitution in defiance of the text and court holdings is futile. ... The battle over the taxing power took place long ago — in 1787 — between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, before the Constitution was ratified. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had no power to tax; it could only ask the states to raise money."
Capitalism and Statism in Latin America, by Manuel Ayau, 4 Oct 1997
Speech given to The Philadelphia Society, San Antonio, Texas regional meeting
"At the very time when the progressive income taxation is being reconsidered even in the U.S. international development agencies recommend redistribution via income tax and 'social' expenses. Evidently, they do not appreciate the urgent need of proper incentives to capital formation nor its social and welfare effects. (As a matter of historical interest, the majority of income tax laws in Latin America were established at the instigation of AID, as a precondition for economic assistance.)"
Crony-in-Chief: Donald Trump epitomizes Ayn Rand's "Aristocracy of Pull", by Steve Simpson, 2 Feb 2017
Examines the issues of "cronyism" or "pull-peddling", suggesting --as Ayn Rand did-- that the solution is "to limit government strictly to protecting rights and nothing more"
"Using terms like 'favors,' 'privileges,' and 'benefits' to describe what government is doing when cronyism occurs is not just too vague, it's far too benign. These terms obscure the fact that what people are competing for when they engage in cronyism is the “privilege” of legally using force to take what others have earned ... When groups lobby for entitlements — whether it's more social security or Medicare or subsidies for businesses — they are essentially asking government to take that money by force from taxpayers who earned it and to give it to someone else."
Dangers of No Tax Liability, by Walter E. Williams, 13 Sep 2004
"... 122 million Americans are outside of the federal income tax system ... if you have no income tax liability, how much do you care about how much Congress spends and the level of taxation? ... every American should get one additional vote for every $10,000 he pays in federal income tax."
Death and Taxes – Can the Congress Kill a Pernicious Tax?: , by Paul Boytinck, 16 Jul 2003
"Lincoln introduced an inheritance tax during the Civil War. Then an estate tax was levied in 1916 in the course of World War I, and the same tax has existed for almost a hundred years, but the reluctance to pay it has grown more intense. It is widely recognized that the estate tax is still another tax on money that has been remorselessly taxed before ..."
Default Circus — er, Crisis — Averted?, by Sheldon Richman, 18 Oct 2013
Examines the U.S. government's possibility of default vs. what it takes from its residents
"It would be better if the politicians couldn't borrow. Americans probably would not put up with the taxation required to balance a nearly $4 trillion budget. ... the government’s ability to fulfill its financial obligations depends on its ability to use force against productive members of society. All its obligations, that is, are founded on a pledge to engage in, as Lysander Spooner would put it, criminal activity — specifically, the theft we call taxation. But no binding obligation can rest on an immoral act."
Don't Believe Those Inflation Numbers, by Mark Brandly, Mises Daily, 1 Sep 2006
Discusses how the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported inflation rates are unlikely to be a true reflection of the actual increases in prices of goods
"Second, if the government reports a rate of inflation that is lower than the actual inflation rate, this will increases tax revenues through bracket creep. If the actual inflation rate is 10%, but the measured rate of inflation is 4%, some taxpayers will be pushed into higher tax brackets even though their real income has not increased."
Related Topics: Government, Inflation
Don't Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment!, by Sheldon Richman, 23 May 2008
Analyses various court cases regarding income taxation and suggest the only way to eliminate taxation is by educating and changing people's minds
"Repealing the Sixteenth Amendment would be a waste of time because its disappearance would change nothing. Alas, Congress could continue to tax incomes (and anything else). ... As the Anti-federalists warned in 1787 -- and the courts have affirmed -- the Constitution empowers Congress to tax whatever it wants. If we are ever to get rid of the income tax, we'll have to do it by amending the real constitution -- the one in the hearts and minds of the people."
Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?, by Lew Rockwell, Kenny Johnsson, 25 May 2007
Interview by Kenny Johnsson for "The Liberal Post" blog
"... taxing always and everywhere means taking money from people by force. They try to disguise that in various ways ... It's like negotiating with a robber, who proposes to enter your house at night so he won't disturb you ... or suggests that you give him some cash so that he won't have to take the family silver. In the end, your property is gone."
Empire or Liberty: The Antifederalists and Foreign Policy, 1787-1788 [PDF], by Jonathan Marshall, The Journal of Libertarian Studies, 1980
Describes the arguments regarding foreign policy made during the period of ratification of the United States Constitution by the Federalists and the counterarguments, "largely ignored" by historians, from the Antifederalists
"Above all, however, Congress lacked an independent and steady source of revenue, without which it could not raise and supply an army and navy, pay off the national debt, nor ransom the captives of the Barbary pirates. ... Without the power to tax, Congress could not pay off the foreign debt, not even that owed to Spain. ... the continuing imbalance of trade drained specie from the country, giving citizens a pretext for avoiding taxes ... Without the power to raise an army and to levy the taxes to support it, Federalist spokesmen persistently warned, America was doomed to be overrun by foreign armies ..."
Exploiting the Workers, by Anthony Gregory, 14 Apr 2006
"... the coerced payment occurs continuously as every dollar is earned. Ever since World War II, Americans have had their income tax withheld by their employers, so they don't realize all at once how much they're being milked and revolt. Government funding runs more smoothly, especially in larger amounts, when the taxpayer is soaked gradually."
Flat Tax Folly, by Laurence M. Vance, Mises Daily, 14 Apr 2006
A review of Flat Tax Revolution by Steve Forbes
"The US tax code — with its 'nine million word mountain of verbiage' — is so complex and 'littered with impenetrable passages' that a fictional tax return given by Money magazine to forty-five tax preparers resulted in forty-five different calculations of the correct amount of tax due."
Four California tax increases defeated, Libertarian Party News, Dec 2004
"The LP joined with the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association (headed by Libertarian Dennis Umphress) to oppose 13 of the 15 tax increase proposals in the county. ... They succeeded in defeating four tax increase measures on Election Day, saving local taxpayers millions of dollars over the next few years."
Free Trade or Protectionism?, by Jim Elwood, Vince Miller, 1988
Educational pamphlet to inform about the benefits of free trade and the costs of so-called "protectionism" or "fair trade"
"Protectionist laws not only force you to pay more taxes on imported goods, but also raise your general taxes as well. This is because governments invariably expand their Customs Department bureaucracies to force compliance with their new rounds of trade restrictions (or in the case of NAFTA, trade regulations). These bureaucrats must be paid. There is also the expense of more red tape and paperwork for trading companies and more harassment of individual travelers passing through the borders."
Related Topics: Free Trade, Prices, War
Funding Leviathan, Part 1, by Laurence M. Vance, Future of Freedom, Mar 2007
Reviews the latest tax reform proposals, including Steve Forbes' flat-tax plan, quoting Murray Rothbard on the flat-tax movement
"Individual income taxes — which swelled government coffers by roughly $1.059 trillion during FY 2006 — are the most onerous. Income taxes discourage the creation of wealth, they punish success, they violate financial privacy, they are the fuel of wealth distribution and social engineering, they are the backbone of the interventionist-welfare state."
Funding Leviathan, Part 2, by Laurence M. Vance, Future of Freedom, Apr 2007
Reviews the latest tax reform proposals, including the "Fair Tax" plan, quoting Murray Rothbard on consumption taxes and Ron Paul on the real issue of "tax reform"
"The 'best' tax system from the standpoint of liberty, and not from the standpoint of what the government says it needs, would be one that interferes the least with the free market. The ideal amount of tax collected would then, of course, be zero. ... it is certainly reasonable to support any tax-reform proposal that aims to substantially reduce the federal leviathan's food supply."
George W. Bush's Nixonomics, by Gregory Bresiger, Mises Daily, 22 May 2006
Describes the various fiscal, monetary and economic policies during the Nixon presidency and compares them to those under George W. Bush
"Nixon ... would not cut expenditures or suggest tighter monetary polices to keep spending and inflation under control. Instead a tax surcharge to pay for part of the Vietnam War was continued ... The Nixon administration also created the alternative minimum tax (AMT). That, like the original income tax, was created to ensure the rich pay their share. But it has ended up plaguing many middle-income people who are caught in bracket creep. Interestingly enough, we today hear many calls to make the 'rich pay their fair share,' as though that would have any substantial effect on the nation's trillions of dollars of debt."
Gertrude B. Kelly: A Forgotten Feminist, by Wendy McElroy, The Freeman, Oct 1998
Lengthy profile of Dr. Gertrude B. Kelly (1862–1934), Irish immigrant, individualist feminist and contributor to the Liberty periodical
"But, even granting for the sake of argument that state aid could promote knowledge, Kelly contended that the cost of this promotion would enormously outweigh any advantage. The cost would be the violation of property rights through the taxation that would be necessary to support the government's program. If ordinary people sufficiently valued the service being funded by the state, then tax funding wouldn't be necessary. If they didn't value it, then the government had no right to take money from the worker to finance officially desirable knowledge."
Give Freedom Its Turn in Latin America, by Manuel Ayau, Imprimis, Nov 1984
Paper given at Hillsdale College; argues that problems in Latin American countries are systemic and are due to a "lack of understanding of the economic principles and ethics of a free society"
"All Latin America is overburdened with destructive tax systems. All of the countries have high marginal rates of income and corporate taxes. This is much more absurd and harmful in a poor country, because economically speaking it is a tax on capital formation ... Another way of saying the same thing in a more mundane way is that a country with many factories is richer than one without them. Apparently this is not so obvious. Progressive income taxation means that incomes are taxed at higher rates according to their susceptibility to form capital. Can one devise a more effective retardant to progress?"
Government, by James Mill, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1820
Discusses the purpose of government, the means for attaining that end and various related questions and objections; rationalises that representative democracy, as exhibited in early 19th century Britain, is most conducive to "good Government"
"It is impossible to attach to labour a greater degree of advantage than the whole of the product of labour. Why so? Because, if you give more to one man than the produce of his labour, you can do so only by taking it away from the produce of some other man’s labour."
Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Mar 2005
After some background and biographical material, describes the event (Thoreau's imprisonment) that led to writing "Civil Disobedience" and Thoreau's reaction to those who paid the tax on his behalf, his jailers, his neighbors and Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Because he detested slavery and because tax revenues contributed to the support of it, Thoreau decided to become a tax rebel. There were no income taxes ... but there was the hated poll tax — a capital tax levied equally on all adults within a community. Thoreau declined to pay the tax and so ... he was arrested and jailed. ... Near the end of his life, Thoreau was asked, 'Have you made your peace with God?' He replied, 'I have never quarreled with him.' For Thoreau, that would have been the real cost of paying his poll tax; it would have meant quarreling with his own conscience, which was too close to quarreling with God."
Herbert, Auberon (1838-1906), by Eric Mack, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"Herbert maintained that all compulsory taxation involves morally unacceptable force. Thus, only voluntary taxation (i.e., fees that individuals freely agreed to pay in exchange for the service of having their rights protected) was permissible. Individuals should be free to purchase—or not to purchase—a rights-protection service from any vendor. Here Herbert endorsed the view of the young Herbert Spencer that each person has a right to ignore the state."
How a 19th century French pamphleteer preempted two centuries of economic fallacies, by Christopher Todd Meredith, 18 Oct 2016
Examines some of the main themes in Bastiat's writings, such as ethics and economics, the seen and the unseen and the State
"There are highly visible benefits (buildings, bridges, meals for the indigent) and almost-as-highly-visible beneficiaries (architects, engineers, cooks), but nobody knows what taxpayers would have done with their money if it had not been for the taxes levied for those expenditures. ... It does not make sense to say we are better off. At best, some in society (certain architects, builders, and cooks, for example) profit at the expense of others (certain taxpayers) who would rather have paid for something else."
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
"Every year, Americans spend an estimated five billion hours unproductively wrestling with which U.S. regulations? ... According to James L. Payne's Costly Returns, people spend an estimated 5 billion hours a year unproductively trying to comply with tax laws."
How to Destroy Mongolian Mining, by Morgan J. Poliquin, Mises Daily, 20 Jun 2006
"Funds that are forcibly exacted are subject to misallocation and abuse ... But taxation is fundamentally flawed because it is based on the ridiculous assumption that someone in a position of authority is capable of deciding on behalf of others what is best for them, or what their needs and wants may be."
Related Topics: Mining, Mongolia, Wages
I'd Like My Money Back, by Mary Theroux, 14 Apr 2009
Letter to President Obama and other U.S., California and local government officials
"Rather than my usual practice of remitting taxes to you on this, your high holy day of April 15, I am this year writing to request a return of all monies previously remitted, for non-performance of services promised. As evidence for my claim: National Security ... Education ... Roads ... Police Services ... In sum, please refund the taxes collected fraudulently for services never provided."
"If 1,000 Men Were Not to Pay Their Tax Bills This Year…", by Carl Watner, Reason, Sep 1983
Discusses the 1846 incident that led Thoreau to spend a night in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax and the influence of his friends Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane as well as those Thoreau influenced later
"Although it's not well known now, Thoreau was not the first in Concord to have protested the poll tax. Three and a half years before, on January 17, 1843, Staples had arrested Thoreau's friend, Bronson Alcott, on a similar charge. And in mid-December 1843, an Englishman named Charles Lane had been arrested too.The poll tax in Massachusetts was imposed on every adult male, and resistance to the tax had been seized upon by most abolitionists as a way of dramatizing their opposition to slavery. ... Theirs were the first known acts of generalized tax resistance on conscientious grounds in American history."
I Love Loosies and the People Who Sell Them, by Sheldon Richman, 10 Dec 2014
Explains how New York cigarette taxes contributed to the police crack down that led to the Eric Garner confrontation (and subsequent death)
"Let's remember what the police say Garner was doing: selling cigarettes that had not been subjected to the high taxes imposed in New York City and State: $5.95 in all. (The feds add another buck.) Thus, a pack costs at least $14. ... The fact is that Eric Garner was a threat to no one. He was just a guy trying to make a few bucks by selling loose cigarettes — loosies — to low-income smokers harmed by the state's and city's tax collectors."
Related Topic: Moral Repression
In Defense of a Free Market in Health Care, by Robert D. Helmholdt, 16 Apr 2004
Explains why government health care reforms will not improve the status quo, recommending instead complete deregulation of the industry and reliance on the free market
"It also makes no more sense for one's employer to own an employee's health insurance than for it to own his home insurance or auto insurance. The only reason for this practice is the discriminatory provision of federal tax law giving tax deductibility to company-owned health insurance, but denying tax deductibility to individually owned health insurance. This tax-deductible feature is a powerful incentive to perpetuating a system that is basically wrong and grievously unfair!"
Independence Day Address in Kansas City, MO, by Andre Marrou, 4 Jul 1992
Quoting the "self-evident truths" paragraph of the Declaration, lists how the signers suffered, and contrasts them with government actions since 1913 that betrayed those ideals
"The ideals of the Declaration of Independence were to be betrayed repeatedly.
  • In 1913, the income tax and the I. R. S. were created - the most hated tax and the most feared government agency in U. S. history. ...
  • Taxes are the highest in history; federal taxes eat up 1/4 of all income; state, county and local taxes consume another 22 percent - a total of 16 times the amount that caused the Boston Tea Party (3%)!!! ...
Throughout history great civilizations have declined and ultimately died because of three factors: excessive taxation, debasement of the currency and the stationing of troops in many foreign countries."
Independence Day Propaganda, by Anthony Gregory, 4 Jul 2011
Argues that the American Revolution, albeit of a libertarian flavor, had several unsavory shortcomings
"... the American Revolution ... wasn’t a simple tax revolt, at least not as conventionally limned. For one thing, Americans had resented the 1764 Revenue Act's reduction of the 1733 Molasses Act tax rate, despising the enforcement mechanism and efficiency of the new law more than the tax itself. Even less understood is the 1773 Boston Tea Party, a revolt against a tax cut - a reduction in British taxes on East India tea, designed to undercut the price of smuggled Dutch tea."
Inequality of Wealth and Incomes, by Ludwig von Mises, The Freeman, May 1955
Describes how attempts to equalize incomes and wealth lead to lowered standard of living for the masses and eventually to socialism
"... under the sway of the doctrines taught by contemporary pseudo-economists, but for a few reasonable men all people believe that they are injured by the mere fact that their own income is smaller than that of other people and that it is not a bad policy to confiscate this difference. ... Our present taxation policy is headed toward a complete equalization of wealth and incomes and thereby toward socialism."
In Pursuit of Liberty, by Jarret Wollstein, May 1997
Primer on liberty concepts, including voluntary vs. coercive associations, individual rights, government and possible future improvements in the status quo
"One index of how coercive government is, is how much of your income it takes in taxes. If the government takes half your income, you are working half your time for the state. If government takes 75%, you are 75% enslaved. As recently as 1956, the average US citizen paid less than 10% of their income in taxes. ... Today the government takes at least 50% of the average person's income."
Interview with Adam Smith [via Edwin West], by E. G. West, The Region, Jun 1994
Professor Edwin G. West stands in for Adam Smith and answers questions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis banking and policy issues magazine
"I would conjecture that in the late 18th century, taxation in Britain was typically around the ratio of 5 percent to 8 percent of gross national product (GNP). In the United States today annual taxation accounts for about 40 percent, although this figure would be higher if we factored in US government deficits which imply postponed (future) taxation. My 18th century colleagues, Hume, Stewart, Ferguson, Millar and Kames, would have thought such levels of taxation impossible in a free country."
Interview with James Buchanan, by James M. Buchanan, The Region, Sep 1995
Topics include The Calculus of Consent, public choice theory, monetary policy and the Federal Reserve
"Recently, this analytical argument ... has led me to come out very strongly in support of a flat tax—every dollar of income being taxed—as opposed to a progressive tax. ... If you have discriminatory politics, it invites a tremendous amount of investment, it wastes resources in rent seeking in trying to get particular favors, either a tax exemption for your industry or a particularized spending program for your district or for your industry or your profession or whatever. We moved a little bit away from that in the 1986 Tax Reform Act. ... But Public Choice theory predicted that the provisions wouldn't last long."
Interview with Karl Hess, by Karl Hess, A. Lin Neumann, Reason, May 1982
Topics discussed include the Republican Party, National Review, AEI, Goldwater, Rothbard, anarchism, the Vietnam War, Carter and Reagan, fascism, urban enterprise zones, the environment, and authoritarianism vs. freedom
"I would repeal the withholding tax, and I would enact Mark Hatfield's Neighborhood Powers Act. The Neighborhood Powers Act would enable people to withhold up to 70 percent of their federal tax liability if they gave the money to a community corporation instead. That would be the end of the federal government. On the other hand, if you repeal the federal withholding tax, that would also mean the end of it. If Americans had to pay annually the amount of taxes exacted from them by subtle theft, they would refuse to do it. Simply that, they would refuse. Say no and not do it."
Is there a federal deficit?, by Walter E. Williams, 19 Apr 2006
Discusses, from an economics standpoint, whether there is a budget deficit in the U.S. federal government and what are the effects of the shortfall between federal expenditures and revenue (taxes)
"The average taxpayer, depending on the state in which he lives, works from Jan. 1 to May 3 to pay federal, state and local taxes. That means someone else decides how four months' worth of the fruits of the average taxpayer's labor will be spent. The taxpayer is forcibly used to serve the purposes of others – whether it's farm or business handouts, food stamps or other government programs where the earnings of one American are taken and given to another."
Related Topics: Government, Inflation
"It's So Simple, It's Ridiculous": Taxing times for 16th Amendment rebels, by Brian Doherty, Reason, May 2004
"The claim that the 16th Amendment wasn't properly ratified actually holds up pretty well. ... there were enough procedural irregularities in its passage that it technically should not have been declared ratified in 1913. Still, it was thus certified, and the courts tend to respond ... by saying it's too late to do anything about it now ..."
James Madison: Father of the Implied-Powers Doctrine, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Jul 2013
Examines whether James Madison intended the U.S. federal government to have "expressly delegated" powers vs. "powers by implication"
"... the Articles of Confederation (1781–1789) ... did little more than formalize the confederation of soon-to-be sovereign states, leaving few powers to the single-branch national government. ... This government lacked two powers that national governments routinely exercise: the power to tax and the power to regulate trade. Indeed, the power to tax is so essential to the identity of government that we are warranted in calling what the Articles created a quasi government. For its revenue it depended on the power of the states to impose taxes on the people, but it could not tax the people directly."
Jean-Baptiste Say: Neglected Champion of Laissez-Faire, by Larry J. Sechrest
Biographical and bibliographical essay, discussing Say's life, methodology and his writings on money, banking, the law of markets, entrepreneurship, capital, interest, value, utility, taxes and the state
"As for taxation, Say divides it into two types. Direct taxes are those levied on income or wealth. Indirect taxes are those such as sales taxes, excise taxes, and tariffs. Regardless of its specific form or method of collection, 'all taxation may be said to injure reproduction, inasmuch as it prevents the accumulation of productive capital.' Therefore, contrary to what some economists have claimed, '[i]t is a glaring absurdity to pretend, that taxation ... enriches the nation by consuming part of its wealth.'"
Jefferson on American Liberty, by Gary M. Galles, Mises Daily, 4 Jul 2002
List of Jefferson quotations on the subjects of liberty, rights and government
"'To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association--the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.' ... 'Our wish is that ... [there may be] maintained that state of property, equal or unequal, which results to every man from his own industry or that of this fathers.'"
Letters to Thomas Robert Malthus, on Several Subjects of Political Economy, and on the Cause of the Stagnation of Commerce, by Jean-Baptiste Say, 1821
Series of five letters from Say to Malthus, written in response to the latter's criticisms in Principles of Political Economy (1820); the letters were translated from the French by John Richter
"Suppose some individual, a collector of public revenue for instance, were to take up his residence in the neighbourhood of each commercial, manufacturing, or agricultural establishment; and that this man without increasing the goodness of the produce, its utility, or the quality by which it becomes an object of desire and demand, were nevertheless to increase the costs of its production: what, I ask, would be the consequence? ... let it be observed that this ... is entirely at the expense of the producers; and that ... the producers are thereby compelled to live upon the remaining five-sixths."
Liberalism, Marxism, and the State [PDF], by Ralph Raico, Cato Journal, 1992
Examines the writings about the state by the French founders and contributors to the early 19th century journal Le Censeur, compares them to Karl Marx (who they influenced), as well as some 1990 comments by Václav Havel
"In the modern period, the nobles, no longer able to live by directly robbing the industrious, began to fill government positions; they lived by a new form of tribute, "under the name of taxes". Members of the bourgeoisie who achieved noble status no longer tended to their own businesses and, in the end, had no means of subsistence but the public treasury. Finally, governments, while burdening the producers with taxes, 'have very rarely furnished society with the equivalent of the values they receive from it for governing'."
Libertarian Class Analysis, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Jun 2006
Examines the class analysis of Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer and Augustin Thierry and its basis on the writings of J. B. Say
"The government's coercive taxing power necessarily creates two classes: those who create and those who consume the wealth expropriated and transferred by that power. Those who create the wealth naturally want to keep it and devote it to their own purposes. Those who wish to expropriate it look for ever more-clever ways to acquire it without inciting resistance. One of those ways is the spreading of an elaborate ideology of statism, which teaches that the people are the state and that therefore they are only paying themselves when they pay taxes."
Libertarians help California county save $98 million in school taxes, Libertarian Party News, Apr 2004
"In Santa Maria ... in Santa Barbara County ... voters rejected a proposed bond measure that would have cost them $98 million for school construction. ... Public school officials and teachers were hoping the voters would have forgotten about the bond money they've misused in the past ..."
Related Topic: California
Lysander Spooner on the National Debt, by Sheldon Richman, 27 Sep 2013
Column examining the context of raising the national debt limit by considering what Spooner wrote in "The Constitution of No Authority"
"Earlier in the essay, Spooner handily disposes of the claim that voting or paying taxes implies consent. ... paying taxes certainly cannot signify consent, because the penalty for nonpayment is theft of one's property, imprisonment, or (should one resist) death. In fact, there is no way not to consent, which makes the whole question rather suspicious. How can one actually consent if there is no possible way to withhold consent?"
Related Topics: Lysander Spooner, Voting
Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism, by Ludwig von Mises, 18 Apr 1950
Speech to the University Club of New York; argues that the middle of the road policies of interventionism, such as price controls and progressive taxation, eventually lead to socialism via central planning
"The philosophy underlying the system of progressive taxation is that the income and the wealth of the well-to-do classes can be freely tapped. What the advocates of these tax rates fail to realize is that the greater part of the income taxed away would not have been consumed but saved and invested. In fact, this fiscal policy does not only prevent the further accumulation of new capital. It brings about capital decumulation."
Morals and the Welfare State, by F. A. Harper, 1951
Examines five moral principles by which the idea of the Welfare State (described in more detail in an appendix) can be judged; extension of talk given 13 June 1951; later published as "Morals and Liberty" (see The Freeman, Sep 1971)
"... when there is a major catastrophe ... Through the mechan­isms of the collective, the good in­tentions take the form of reaching into the other fellow's pocket for the money with which to make a gift. ... those who are repeat­edly robbed of their property si­multaneously lose their capacity for compassion. The chronic vic­tims of robbery are under great temptation to join the gang and share in the loot. They come to feel that the voluntary way of life will no longer suffice for needs; that to subsist, they must rob and be robbed. They abhor violence, of course, but approve of robbing by 'peaceful means.'"
Mr. Bush's War, by Murray Rothbard, The Irrepressible Rothbard, Oct 1990
Starts off as a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the rationale for the Gulf War, but then delves into more serious reasons, including the Saudi, petroleum and Rockefeller connections
"... the U.S. government's concern for the consumer might be better gauged if we realized that the very same liberals and centrists now whooping it up for war against Iraq, have been agitating for a huge (say 50 cents a gallon) tax on gasoline, thereby shafting the U.S. consumer far more than Saddam could possibly do. ... These same liberals and centrists are even now advocating a higher federal tax on gasoline."
Related Topics: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, War
Murray Rothbard's Philosophy of Freedom, by David Gordon, The Freeman, Nov 2007
Examines the arguments made by Rothbard from the premise that slavery is wrong, self-ownership, private property rights and a free market without government interventions follows
"If the essence of slavery is forced labor for others, it is a very present reality today. When the government takes part of what you earn in taxes, it in effect forces you to labor for the state. Just as the slave does not get to keep what he produces but must surrender it to the master, so must the taxpayer give up part of what he makes to the government. One might object that someone can avoid being taxed by refusing to work, but this is hardly a viable alternative."
New Declaration of Independence, by Vince Miller, Jarret Wollstein, Jan 2000
Prefaced by quoting the second paragraph of the original Declaration, lists the outrages of the "modern American State" (in a manner similar to the original), ending with a list of demands including Citizen Grand Juries, Citizen Veto and Power of Recall
"They have instituted oppressive and destructive taxes; stolen over half of our incomes year after year; compelled us to testify against ourselves by filling out endless compulsory reports; made us into unpaid government spies and tax collectors; and destroyed our peace, security, and freedom in order to finance their oppressive bureaucracies, failed social programs, and wars of aggression. ... we therefore demand: ... That the Income Tax and the IRS be abolished and that all persons jailed for tax evasion be freed."
No Representation Without Taxation!, by Jan Clifford Lester
"Consider state distribution of tax-money. We can see that this must create two social categories: those who are net taxpayers and those who are net tax recipients. Only the net taxpayers can be said to provide the state with tax-funds. The net tax recipients are paid out of taxation ..."
On the English Foreign Policy, by John Bright, 29 Oct 1858
Speech given to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce; criticises British militarism and imperialism, pointing out the effects of several 19th century wars on national debt, poverty and families
"There is no actuary in existence who can calculate how much of the wealth, of the strength, of the supremacy of the territorial families of England, has been derived from an unholy participation in the fruits of the industry of the people, which have been wrested from them by every device of taxation, and squandered in every conceivable crime of which a government could possibly be guilty."
Protesting the Tax Protesters, by James Ostrowski, 1 Jan 2007
Presents several arguments against tax protesting, concluding with a suggested approach to fighting against confiscatory taxation
"Tax protesters make what I believe are arcane legal arguments about why this or that tax has no legal basis. ... The courts have held that there is a legal obligation to pay taxes. What the 'legal' in that term means exactly is a very interesting question ... Bottom line: 'legal' means that if you do not comply, the government may use physical coercion against you."
Revisiting a Libertarian Classic: Nock's Our Enemy, the State, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Mar 2006
Examines some of the major themes of Nock's Our Enemy, the State
"Today we tend to associate talk about class exploitation with Marx and Marxism. But in fact liberals (libertarians) developed class analysis before Marx. The theory is attributed to two French liberals, Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer. In their theory, class and exploitation arise the moment a taxing authority comes into existence, for at that point we have the emergence of two groups: tax-producers and tax-consumers. Taxation is the quintessential form of exploitation. One group labors in behalf of another, the fruits of that labor being expropriated for the privileged class."
Ricardo in Parliament, by Edwin Cannan, The Economic Journal , 1894
Account of Ricardo's final years, as a Member of Parliament for the borough of Portarlington, discussing his actions and speeches on matters of general and economic policy
"'Mr. Ricardo ... said that he hoped the House ... would understand that he was not contending that the taxing of necessaries was not injurious to labourers, but that it was no more injurious to them than any other mode of taxation. In fact all taxation had a tendency to injure the labouring classes, because it either diminished the fund employed in the maintenance of labour, or checked its accumulation. ... The taxes on law proceedings seemed to him the most abominable that existed in the country, by subjecting the poor man and the man of middling fortune who applied for justice to the most ruinous expense. ...'"
Rings of War, by Charley Reese, 1 Jan 2007
Reflects on war as concentric rings with soldiers in the center and the general public in the outer circle, criticising George W. Bush and Congress for not ending the 2003 Iraq War and suggesting a general tax for future wars as incentive to end them
"In the future, we should insist on a declaration of war with a 10 percent surtax on income and a 10 percent war tax on goods and services, both to expire with the cessation of hostilities. That would force everyone, even those in the seventh ring, to participate in the war and give everyone an incentive to end it. A pay-as-you-fight war would be whole lot less tolerable to most Americans. As long as we force soldiers to bleed, we should bleed financially."
Robert A. Heinlein's Soaring Spirit of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jul 1997
Biographical essay, including multiple quotes from fellow authors and significant excerpts from Heinlein's novels and stories
"In Glory Road (1963), former football star and soldier Evelyn Cyril Oscar Gordon responds to an advertisement for an adventure, and he's off on a rousing sword-and-sorcery fantasy. Among other things, he grumbles about taxes: 'Do you know how much tax a bachelor pays on $140,000 in the Land of the Brave and the Home of the Free? $103,000, that's what he pays. That leaves him $37,000. ... But suppose I wangled some way to beat the tax. ... I wouldn't be "cheating" Uncle Sugar; the USA had no more moral claim on that money (if I won) than on the Holy Roman Empire. ...'"
Robert Nozick, Philosopher of Liberty, by Roderick T. Long, The Freeman, Sep 2002
Focuses mainly on Nozick's contributions in Anarchy, State, and Utopia, with brief reference to his later works and his death earlier in 2002
"Nozick's strategy was to support libertarian rights by appealing to values widely shared by libertarians and nonlibertarians alike. For example, Nozick argued that because 'taking the earnings of n hours labor' is essentially equivalent to 'forcing the person to work n hours for another’s purpose,' the taxation of earnings is 'on a par with forced labor,' and so is unjust ... Admittedly, Nozick offered no proof that forced labor itself is unjust; but did he need to? The injustice of forced labor is a premise that most of his opponents already accept ..."
Roots Of Economic Understanding, by F. A. Harper, The Freeman, Nov 1955
Explains the rudiments of economics by specifying required attributes (desirability, scarcity, exchangeability) then delving into how people, from the earliest age, become cognizant of economic concepts, but ending with criticism of econmic ignorance
"If you are an average person in the United States, for instance, you have to work from New Year’s Day until late in April before you have satisfied the prior tax claims upon your productive effort—taxes that are taken from you by force and applied to uses of which you may or may not approve. Furthermore, your period of servitude probably is extended in that you pay tribute in one way or another to some nongovernmental persons or organizations in ways which a thoroughly free society would not countenance."
Selections from Lao-tzu (Laozi): Tao Te Ching (Daode-jing), by Lǎozǐ
Thirty-seven selections from the Dao De Jing, unidentified as to chapter or translator
"The reason people starve
Is because their rulers tax them excessively.
They are difficult to govern
Because their rulers have their own ends in mind.
The reason people take death lightly
Is because they want life to be rich.
Therefore they take death lightly.
It is only by not living for your own ends
That you can go beyond valuing life."
Related Topics: Government, War
Self-Interested Defenders of 'the Peculiar Institution', by Vin Suprynowicz, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 24 Mar 2007
"... one cannot erect a moral justification for an immoral act by listing the good things you've done with your slave's labor or with the property you have stolen. Taking wealth from others against their will, under the threat of brute force, is immoral. If you doubt that's what 'taxation' is, try refusing to pay."
Related Topic: Compulsory Education
Society without a State, by Murray Rothbard, 28 Dec 1974
Talk delivered at the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy
"The crucial role of taxation may be seen in the fact that the state is the only institution or organization in society which regularly and systematically acquires its income through the use of physical coercion. All other individuals or organizations acquire their income voluntarily, either (1) through the voluntary sale of goods and services to consumers on the market, or (2) through voluntary gifts or donations by members or other donors."
Related Topics: Anarchism, Law, The State
Taxation Is Robbery, by Frank Chodorov, Out of Step, 1962
Chapter XXII; starting with the historical origins of taxation, proceeds to examine its indirect and direct forms and the rationales behind it
"By way of preface, we might look to the origin of taxation, on the theory that beginnings shape ends, and there we find a mess of iniquity. A historical study of taxation leads inevitably to loot, tribute, ransom: the economic purposes of conquest. The barons who put up toll-gates along the Rhine were tax-gatherers. So were the gangs who 'pro­tected,' for a forced fee, the caravans going to market."
Tax Cuts Are Unfair? It Just Ain't So!, by David Kelley, The Freeman, Jul 1999
"... a tax cut does not confer a 'benefit' on taxpayers, as if the money belonged to the government, which was generously conferring gifts on its citizens. ... People are not passive recipients of an income 'distribution.' They acquire money by trading with others, earning income in diverse ways."
Tax Day, by Murray Rothbard, The Libertarian, 15 Apr 1969
Editorial discussing taxation as robbery, government as a gang of thieves and dedicating the issue to those engaged in some form of tax rebellion
"But does anyone seriously believe that if the payment of taxation were really made voluntary, say in the sense of contributing to the American Cancer Society, that any appreciable revenue would find itself into the coffers of government? Then why don't we try it as an experiment for a few years, or a few decades, and find out?"
Related Topic: Government
Tax Gouging: The Real Problem, by Thomas DiLorenzo, Mises Daily, 8 Jun 2006
"The property tax bonanza that is being enjoyed by state and local governmental bureaucracies creates yet another evil. ... they use the money to appease more and more special interest groups by starting up myriad new programs. Then when the real estate market cools ... the programs all remain in place while revenues shrink, creating a 'deficit crisis.'"
Test your freedom IQ, The Orange County Register, 18 Jun 2006
20 multiple-choice questions covering the role of government, free enterprise, taxes, property rights, free speech, religion, civil liberties, transportation, war and foreign policy, the Nanny State, gun ownership, education and immigration
"Government at all levels is too big and should be cut to fit a defined and limited number of tasks. Taxpayers should have first call on the product of their labors, not the government, and be able to spend, invest and save their earnings as they choose. The more areas of life we invite government into, the more coercion, irrational or rational, will be in our lives."
That Mercantilist Commerce Clause, by Sheldon Richman, 11 May 2007
Reviews the Oct 2004 paper "The Panda's Thumb: The Modest and Mercantilist Original Meaning of the Commerce Clause" by law professor Calvin Johnson
"Unfortunately, Johnson adds, the Anti-federalists did not oppose giving the power to tax imports to the national government. ... Johnson doesn't believe the [Commerce] Clause was the main impetus to the Constitution: 'Clause 1, the first power listed, gives the federal government the power to tax to provide for the common defense and general welfare. The tax power gave effect and consequence to the federal government. The explanation for the constitutional revolution thus plausibly resides in Clause 1, tax to provide for common defense and general welfare, rather than in Clause 3, the Commerce Clause.'"
Related Topics: Commerce Clause, James Madison
The Brilliance of Turgot, by Murray Rothbard, 1986
Biography and review of Turgot's major writings; introduction to The Turgot Collection
"Turgot claimed that taxes on towns were shifted backward to agriculture, and showed how taxation crippled commerce, distorted the location of towns, and led to the illegal evasion of duties. ... Taxes on capital destroyed accumulated thrift and hobbled industry. Turgot's eloquence was confined to pillorying bad taxes rather than elaborating on the alleged virtues of the land tax. Turgot's summation of the tax system was trenchant and hard-hitting: 'It seems that Public Finance, like a greedy monster, has been lying in wait for the entire wealth of the people.'"
The Constitutionalist, by Gary M. Galles, 28 Mar 2007
Comments on the 2008 presidential candidacy of Paul, aiming to demonstrate his principled and consistent views by a litany of quotes from Paul's writings and speeches in the preceding year
"'If [pay] $1000 less in taxes next year, have you taken something from the government that rightfully belongs to it? Or has the government simply taken less from you? You don't cost the government money, the government costs you money!' 'Taxes never create prosperity.' ... 'I apply a very simple test to any proposal to overhaul the tax code: Does it reduce or eliminate an existing tax? If not, then it amounts to nothing more than a political shell game that pits taxpayers against each other in a lobbying scramble to make sure the other guy pays. True tax reform is as simple as cutting or eliminating taxes.'"
The Early Economists Who Tried to Save France, by Richard Ebeling, 31 Oct 2016
Discusses the Physiocrats, focusing on Quesnay and Turgot
"The French Enlightenment thinkers of those middle decades of the eighteenth century were equally concerned about the financial burden that government's placed on the people due to extravagant and unnecessary taxation, which squanders the hard-earned wealth of the citizens and undermines their incentives for work and industry. This was said in especially insightful and eloquent words by Baron de Montesquieu ... '... If some citizens do not pay enough, there is no great harm; their plenty always reverts to the public; if some individuals pay too much, their ruin turns against the public. ...'"
The Economic Costs of Going to War: Transcript: Bill Moyers Talks with Lew Rockwell, by Lew Rockwell, NOW with Bill Moyers, 7 Mar 2003
Topics discussed include: the economy, the federal budget deficit, the national debt, inflation, Republican vs. Democrat presidents, tax cuts, war spending, World War II and the depression, Sadam Hussein and unemployment
"Well, you know, I'm all for tax cuts. I think taxes, I mean, the shorthand for taxes is wealth destruction. So certainly the fewer taxes we have the better. On the other hand the government spending has to be paid for somehow. So if he's expanding the government at the rate that he is, at a huge rate, to talk about tax cuts it seems to me is, you know, is irresponsible."
The Economics Behind the U.S. Government's Unwinnable War on Drugs, by Benjamin Powell, 1 Jul 2013
Analyzes the economics of the drug war, including the demand-supply effects of prohibition on both users and distributors, the effects of higher prices and variable quality, comparisons to alcohol prohibition and external effects
"At its core, a supply-side drug war acts essentially like a tax placed on drug suppliers. It increases their cost of bringing drugs to market and, thus, decreases their willingness to supply drugs. ... The drug war must be financed by tax dollars. Taxes restrict individual liberty by taking away peoples' freedom to spend their money on goods and services. Currently the government spends $51 billion annually on the war on drugs. This does not count potential tax revenue that could be raised if drugs were legalized (because that revenue represents a transfer, not a net cost or benefit)."
The Economic Way of Thinking about Health Care, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Feb 2015
Discusses the voicing of opinions on economic subjects without having knowledge of economics, the state of the health care and insurance industries and posits possible solutions
"What makes private medical insurance look like a good deal today is that employers seem to provide it for 'free' (or at low cost) as noncash compensation, or a fringe benefit, which is treated more favorably by the tax system than cash compensation. ... That gives employer-provided insurance an appeal it would never have in a free society, where taxation would not distort decision-making."
Related Topics: Health Care, Prices
The Egregiously Destructive War on Drugs, by Gennady Stolyarov II, Mises Daily, 30 May 2006
Discusses the adverse effects that the war on drugs has on innocent people who don't consume drugs
"The War on Drugs is waged with taxpayer money — which especially means the money of respectable, well-to-do people, who are taxed higher under the perverse 'progressive' or punitive tax system. Thus, to regulate and thwart the activities of the addicts, the government expropriates substantial property from moral, productive people who do not even think about consuming illegal drugs."
The Essence of Liberty: What is it that really makes one a libertarian?, by David Nolan, Libertarian Party News, Mar 1995
Discusses five points of "no compromise" that Nolan considered essential to libertarianism
"In an ideal world, there would be no taxation. All services would be paid for on an as-used basis. But in a less-than-ideal world, some services will be force-financed for the foreseeable future. However, not all taxes are equally deleterious, and the worst form of taxation is a tax on productivity-i.e. an 'income' tax-and no libertarian supports this type of taxation. What kind of taxation is least harmful? This is a topic still open for debate."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 1, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Aug 2006
Discusses some of the provisos in the U.S. constitution regarding coinage and the issuance of paper money
"Inflation is the process by which governments print up the money to pay for ever-increasing expenditures. Why not instead simply increase taxes on people in order to get the money to pay for the soaring expenses? There's an obvious reason: Taxes make people angry at government officials. It's much easier and safer to simply print the money because then most people have absolutely no idea that the government is behind what is happening."
The Flagellation of the Pursuit of Happiness, by George Reisman, 14 Jun 2006
Commentary on Paul Krugman's arguments against a Senate vote to abolish the estate tax
"... in each case the money paid as estate taxes was rightfully the property of the bequestor, who earned it and who had a right to determine to whom his property would go ... He thinks the estate tax has no negative consequences for the average person because it 'is overwhelmingly a tax on the very, very wealthy; only about one estate in 200,' he says, 'pays any tax at all.' ... Estate taxes are at the expense of the supply of consumers' goods for all and at the expense of the demand for the labor of all. They are urged in opposition to the general standard of living and the well being of all."
The Fraudulent Tax, by Laurence M. Vance, Mises Daily, 9 Oct 2006
"The twin truths that taxation is theft (no matter how the money is collected) and that the US government should never be given a budget that is in the trillions (no matter how the money is collected) are concepts that FairTax proponents have never grasped. The FairTax is intended to be revenue neutral ... Federal spending will remain at the same obscene level that it is now."
The Future of an Illusion: Kerry's Tax Policy, by Charles Adams, 21 Sep 2004
Discusses presidential candidate John Kerry's proposal to tax "the rich" and provides several historical examples of how the wealthy avoid being affected by higher rates
"History is full of amazing examples, like the first income tax in the United States, in 1916, when the top bracket was 7%; a few years later the top bracket was raised to 77%, or eleven times higher, yet the 77% rate did not produce eleven times as much revenue, in fact it shocked the Treasury by producing almost the same revenue as the 7% rate did. At the 7% top bracket, about 1300 returns were filed; with the 77% top bracket, only about 250 returns were filed. Where did all the top bracket taxpayers go? The rich simply rearranged their affairs to avoid the 77% tax rate."
The Humanitarian with the Guillotine, by Isabel Paterson, The Freeman, Sep 1955
Reprinted from The God of the Machine, 1943; analyses the negative consequences of "humanitarians" (or professional philanthropists) and politicians act to provide relief to the needy
"And that is what the proposal to care for the needy by the political means comes to. It gives the power to the politicians to tax without limit; and there is absolutely no way to ensure that the money shall go where it was intended to go. ... Why do kind-hearted persons call in the political power? ... Further they assume that there is a collective right to impose taxes, for any purpose the collective shall determine."
The Idea of a Private Law Society, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Mises Daily, 28 Jul 2006
Discusses the problem of social order, i.e., rules to regulate the use of "everything scarce so that all possible conflicts can be ruled out"
"Even worse, the state is a monopolist of taxation, and while those who receive the taxes — the government employees — regard taxes as something good, those who must pay the taxes regard the payment as something bad, as an act of expropriation. As a tax-funded life-and-property protection agency, then, the very institution of government is nothing less than a contradiction in terms. It is an expropriating property protector, 'producing' ever more taxes and ever less protection."
The Income Tax: Root of All Evil, by Frank Chodorov, The Income Tax: Root Of All Evil, 1954
Excerpt from Chodorov's book with the same title; discusses the effects of the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution
"The income tax, by attacking the dignity of the individual at the very base, has led to the practice of perjury, fraud, deception, and bribery. Avoidance or evasion of the levies has become the great American game, and talents of the highest order are employed in the effort to save something from the clutches of the State. People who in their private lives are above reproach will resort to the meanest devices to effect some saving and will even brag of their ingenuity. The necessity of trying to get along under the income tax has made us a corrupt people ..."
Related Topics: Property Rights, Socialism, Voting
The Nightmare of the New Deal, Part 1, by George Leef, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
Review of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression (2007) by Amity Shlaes; introduction and focus on the "bad guys"
"The two most famous targets of Roosevelt's attack dogs were Andrew Mellon, the wealthy former secretary of the treasury, and Samuel Insull ... Income-tax charges were filed against both men, not because they had committed any clear violation of the difficult-to-understand IRS code (yes, even then: Shlaes includes a copy of a letter from Roosevelt himself to the IRS commissioner explaining that he couldn't figure out how to calculate his own taxes), but just because the prosecutions helped inflame public opinion against those 'economic royalists,' as Roosevelt liked to characterize people who had earned a lot of money. "
The Physiocrats, by Wendy McElroy, Future of Freedom, Dec 2010
Discusses the 18th century French economists and their influences on Adam Smith, on American agriarianism and on Henry George
"A direct tax ate as much as 50 percent of the earnings of the nonelite. ... Many other commodities had their own separate taxes. Daily life itself was monitored for purposes of taxes and fines. Fees were levied at every stage of manufacture, upon transportation, at the time of sale to retailers and, then, at the sale to customers. The list of taxes could scroll on and on, including many customs duties that were imposed not merely on goods passing into and out of France but often on goods traveling between different provinces within the nation. It is estimated that those taxes literally doubled the cost of goods."
The Politics of Étienne de La Boétie, by Murray Rothbard, 1975
Introduction to the 1975 edition of The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, translated by Harry Kurz; summarises the key insights of La Boétie's work
"But the tactic of mass refusal to pay taxes, for example, is increasingly being employed in the United States today, albeit in a sporadic form. In December 1974 the residents of the city of Willimantic, Connecticut, assembled in a town meeting and rejected the entire city budget three times, finally forcing a tax cut of 9 percent. This is but one example of growing public revulsion against crippling taxation throughout the country."
The Rocky Road of American Taxation, by Charles Adams, Mises Daily, 15 Apr 2006
Adapted from the author's For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
"No modern revolution was deeper rooted in taxation than the revolt of the Thirteen Colonies ... British taxation not only caused the revolution, but perhaps most important, it acted as a unifying force in the colonies. ... The American independence movement ... began in 1766 when colonial leaders met to protest British taxes under the Stamp Act."
The Snare of Government Subsidies, by Gary North, Mises Daily, 31 Aug 2006
Explains how government starts by granting a benefit to some group (purportedly for the public interest), someone takes advantage of the system, the group is asked to police itself, cheating grows, a crisis is perceived, leading to increased interventions
"Perhaps the most popular form of [government] subsidy is tax relief. Certain occupations, companies, or organizations receive tax breaks. In an era of growing taxation, this approach has been one of the most effective; the higher the tax level, the more advantageous is tax exemption. The American oil industry was the recipient of multiple tax breaks until quite recently, and they are still substantial."
The Spirit of Humility [PDF], by Stanley Kober, Cato Journal, 1997
Discusses the recognition of the limits on human knowledge, which the author claims leads to the title spirit as evidenced in "the American experiment" and its possible lessons for European unification
"The money [the people] earn is theirs to do with as they see fit, and any taxation must be approved by them through their elected representatives. This fundamental principle of the American Revolution reflects Ferguson's insight, for societies based on the principle that the money people earn belongs to the state, can be taken from them without their consent or even knowledge, are states biased toward excessive military spending and war. If there was any doubt about this proposition, the collapse of the Soviet economy should have put an end to it."
The Ultimate Tax Cut, by Jacob Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
Explains how tax cuts promised by political candidates are fraudulent, since the government expenditures still have to be paid somehow, either by taxation or monetary inflation
"I had envisioned the government as just being part of a huge collection of enterprises, producing its own wealth and deciding what to do with it. ... then I discovered that the federal government acquired its money differently than everyone else. Its money comes from taxes, which are forcible exactions imposed on people. That is obviously very different from how people in the private sector get their money."
Related Topics: Government, Inflation
The Yin Yang of Value Creation and Value Capture, by Bill Frezza, 18 May 2009
Contrasts collectivist vs. laissez-faire ideologues and their views on the relationship between value creation and capture
"A hold up man or tax collector can capture value without creating any by sticking a gun in your face and taking your money. The former knows no law. The latter better understand that value creation and value capture achieve linkage through the rule of law, and there are lots of ways to get that wrong."
Related Topic: Entrepreneurship
Thinking about Foreign Policy, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Dec 2006
Analyses why most people tend to think about foreign policy as if it were decided upon by "the people" and attempts to correct the misunderstandings
"The power to coercively extract wealth from a population immediately sets up two groups: the taxpayers and the tax consumers. ... although under democracy the tax-consuming class is more fluid than under other political systems, the exploiter-exploited framework is preserved. Some have the power to tax others to carry out their objectives."
Top 10 Members of Congress Fighting for Lower Taxes, by Editors of HUMAN EVENTS, Human Events, 4 Apr 2006
List of three senators and seven representatives, ranked by the editors according to their stances or records on taxation measures
"Rep. John Linder ... Lead sponsor of the 'Fair Tax,' which would abolish the income tax, eliminate the IRS and create a consumption tax. ... Sen. John Sununu ... Ran for office on the issue of Social Security reform and championed legislation for reform through personal retirement accounts. ... Sen. Jon Kyl ... Sponsor of bills to make the Bush income, dividend and capital gains tax cuts permanent and to abolish the death tax. ... Sen. Jim DeMint ... Sponsor of legislation (the 8.5% Tax Reform Plan) to abolish the income tax and replace it with a national sales tax and business tax."
Related Topic: Ron Paul
Washington Logic, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Sep 2006
Commentary on the perverted logic used in Washington politics, as evidenced by lobbying for and against import tariffs
"So it's the tariff that is a special-interest measure and an unjust cost to taxpayer-consumers. But if that's the case, then suspending the tariff can't also be a special-interest measure. When a thief is made to stop stealing, we don't speak of his loss of advantage. We speak of justice."
What About Immigration?, by Julian Simon, The Freeman, Jan 1986
Examines the economic impact of immigration to the United States, including actual levels of legal and illegal immigration, effect on unemployment, wages, services used, taxes paid and productivity
"Within three to five years after entry, immigrant family earnings reach and pass those of the average native family. The average native family paid an estimated $3,008 in taxes in 1975. In comparison, immigrant families here 10 years paid $3,359, those here 11 to 15 years paid $3,564, and those here 16 to 25 years paid $3,592. Such substantial differences benefit natives. ... A recent study by Weintraub and Cardenas of illegal aliens in Texas provides reliable evidence that the taxes paid by the immigrants greatly exceed the cost of services that they use."
Related Topics: Unemployment, Wages
What's Wrong with Public Schools?, by Sheldon Richman, Separating School & State, 25 Mar 2005
Excerpt from chapter 2 of Separating School & State: How to Liberate Americas Families (1994)
"As government schools, the public schools are financed entirely out of taxation. Most school revenues come from the local taxes on real estate. Owners of real estate are assessed on the basis of the value of their land and buildings. The growing federal and state financing of public education comes from income taxes. ... What does the presence of taxation indicate about the schools? It indicates that those who run the schools have an access to revenue that no one outside government has. The proprietor of a shoe store cannot send you a bill, whether or not you buy shoes there, and demand payment under penalty of law."
Why is Medical Care so Expensive?, by Hans Sennholz, Mises Daily, 22 Aug 2006
Discusses various explanations given for the explosion in medical expenses and then focuses on some of the more likely culprits behind the increased costs
"Facing ever rising costs, some want to reduce the cost-of living increases in benefits, others plan to increase the wage subject to payroll taxation. In 2005 the benefit-politicians raised the maximum earnings subject to Social Security tax exactions to $90,000 with the tax rate at 12.4 percent, borne equally by employer and employee. In 2006 they raised the maximum to $94,200; in coming years they will boost it to $100,000 and more. ... In 2003 Congress was persuaded to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare, starting in 2006. Most of its costs, estimated at some $700 billion over the next 10 years, are to be paid by taxpayers."
Related Topics: Health Care, Politics, Technology
Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticises the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasising some issues and prioritising others
"The final thing we must do in health care is to change the tax structure. Eliminating tax incentives for health care would change everything. Most companies (like Whole Foods) would stop offering free or subsidized health insurance if the benefit wasn't tax-deductible. Individuals would no longer receive 'free' health care and would start spending their own money."


Takings Exception: An Interview with Richard Epstein, by Richard Epstein, Steve Chapman, Reason, Apr 1995
Topics include libertarian ideas, Epstein's book Takings, the public housing and inner city issues, and civil rights laws
"There is the kind of libertarian universe ... [that] prohibits any government system of mandatory taxation for any purpose whatsoever because it would be a forced exaction. On the opposite extreme, there is a system in which you say the state can take from A and give to B because it wants to make B better off. It's quite willing to make A worse off to do so. That looks to most people like theft mediated by legislative behavior. ... What I said in Takings is, No, there's a tertium quid, a third alternative that allows government regulation and taxation to be used to overcome the holdout problems ..."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

1040ez (DUBYA-2), by Joel Pett, 19 Apr 2008
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are hurting ..., by Mike Thompson, 20 Sep 2008
Hand over your money!, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 15 Apr 2012
Hey, buddy, can you spare a few bucks ..., by David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 3 Mar 2006
Related Topic: Sports
I am Robbing Hood, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 22 Aug 2007
Let me get this straight ..., by Aaron McGruder, The Boondocks, 7 Oct 2007
Lots of famous art may have been inspired by taxes, by Tom Thaves (Thaves), 16 Apr 2017
March Madness, by Gary Varvel, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Mar 2006
OK, Jimmy... That's 3 pounds... which puts you at the 33% bracket..., by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 31 Oct 2014
People of Id, I'm pleased to announce a new simplified tax code, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 16 Apr 2018
Tax Holiday, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 18 Apr 2017
The man who audited Ernie's tax return has a second job as a chef., by Tom Thaves (Thaves), 8 Oct 2017
To broaden the tax base, they started making the robots pay income taxes, by Tom Thaves (Thaves), Frank and Ernest, 26 Apr 2015
We caught this man stealing ..., by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 14 May 2009


Fight, Flight and Fraud: The Story of Taxation
    by Charles Adams, 1982
For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
    by Charles Adams, 1993
On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, by David Ricardo, 1817
Partial contents: On Value - On Rent - On the Rent of Mines - On Natural and Market Price - Of Wages - On Profits - On Foreign Trade - On Taxes - Taxes on Raw Produce - Taxes on Rent - Tithes - Land-Tax - Taxes on Gold - Taxes on Houses - Taxes on Profits
Related Topic: Economics
The Power to Tax: Analytical Foundations of a Fiscal Constitution
    by Geoffrey Brennan, James M. Buchanan, 1980
Partial contents: Taxation in Constitutional Perspective - Natural Government - The Taxation of Commodities - Taxation through Time - Money Creation and Taxation - The Disposition of Public Revenues - The Domain of Politics - Toward Authentic Tax Reform
Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: The Tax Revolts that Built America
    by Charles Adams, 1998
Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax
    by Sheldon Richman, The Future of Freedom Foundation, 1999
Partial table of contents: The Permanent War - The Immorality of the Income Tax - Who's the Master? Who's the Servant? - The Income Tax Makes You Poorer - How We Got the Income Tax - Let's Abolish the Income Tax - Appendix: Beware Income Tax Casuistry


A Quick Lesson in Understanding Taxes, by Tim Slagle, 5 Feb 2008
A look at taxes from the perspective of a child on Halloween

Charles Rangel and the Harlem Tax Revolt of '09, by Evan Coyne Maloney, 18 Jan 2009
Interviews with men and women in the streets of Harlem about taxes and House Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel

George Ought to Help, by Tomasz Kaye, 13 Nov 2010
A short animation to reflect on majority-imposed aggression

"Is Taxation Voluntary?": A Jan Helfeld Interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, by Jan Helfeld, 31 Mar 2008
Harry Reid argues that U.S. income taxation is "voluntary," contrasted with other countries

The Spirit of '43, by Walt Disney (producer), 7 Jan 1943
World War II propaganda cartoon showing how the military industrial complex needs income taxation to subsist

What Would You Do?, 14 May 2008
Interviews with people asking "What would you do with $3600 every year?" (average amount expected from elimination of the Massachusetts income tax)
Related Topic: Massachusetts

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tax" as of 19 Nov 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.