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Compulsory contributions demanded by governments from individuals and other entities
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  • A tax is a compulsory financial charge or some other type of levy imposed on a taxpayer (an individual or legal entity) by a governmental organization in order to fund government spending and various public expenditures. Tax compliance refers to policy actions aimed at ensuring that taxpayers are paying the correct amount of tax at the correct time and securing any permitted tax allowances and tax reliefs. The first known taxation took place in Ancient Egypt around 3000-2800 BCE. A failure to pay in a timely manner (non-compliance), along with evasion of or resistance to taxation, is generally punishable by legislation. Taxes consist of direct or indirect taxes and may be paid in money or as its labor equivalent.

    Notable Topics

    • 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 a New York Times article describing the IRS practice of seizing bank accounts of ordinary people merely on the suspicion of avoiding reporting requirements on deposits of $10,000 or more
    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 ... Modest reforms will not be enough. Only uprooting the tax system and abolishing the evil IRS will do.
    Related Topics: Banking, Iowa
    Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Aubrey Herbert, 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 Aubrey Herbert, 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 ... [T]he 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
    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
    We know of no other U.S. newspapers that use as a guide the theory that no man or group of men should initiate force ... If we are consistent with this principle we have to ... take a stand against any form of taxation, because taxation is a form of initiating force. If one believes in taxation ..., 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.
    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
    Taxation is legalized robbery, compulsory tribute, exaction. The government does not ask your consent, and as far as it is concerned, none is needed. It wants a healthy portion of what you earned last year. You pay under penalty of confiscation, imprisonment, even death ... 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. You never freely agreed to surrender it. We've come a long way since small tea and stamp taxes bred revolutionary thoughts in our forefathers.
    Related Topic: Government
    Bad Medicine, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Nov 2003
    Discusses the potential effects of passing the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, signed into law in Dec 2003
    "Provide access" can only mean that money will be taken from one group to pay for other people's drugs. How else can government "provide access"? It's not as if politicians spend their own money ... If the elderly won't be paying the full cost, someone else will have to. That's the current generation of workers. Raising the payroll tax (that is, the tax on labor) will reduce living standards and discourage hiring. It will be little consolation that when the affected workers retire the next generation of workers will be similarly punished.
    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 [only] 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 ... Who has paid for the ballot booth? Who has directed the state to go forth and prosper! You, my friend. Taxpayers have paid for the process, agents of the state rely upon it and claim it for themselves, and are more than happy to have you involved with them.
    Benjamin Franklin: The Man Who Invented the American Dream, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Apr 1997
    Lengthy biographical essay, including a section on the posthumous publication and reaction to Franklin's Autobiography
    Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which became law November 1, 1765. It called for taxes on legal documents, newspapers, and playing cards in the colonies ... [Franklin] did speak out against "the mistaken Notion ... that the Colonies were planted at the Expense of Parliament, and that therefore the Parliament has a Right to tax them, &c." ... When Parliament held hearings on repeal, [he] was among the 30 witnesses who testified. Asked if Americans would accept a more moderate tax, Franklin declared: "No, never unless compelled by force of arms." The Stamp Act was repealed.
    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
    [T]o 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. ... [T]axation 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.
    Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 1, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, 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
    If we are ever to get this monster off our backs, it will not be through casuistry and pettifoggery. We will have to pull off a far tougher feat: convincing a critical mass of the American people that taxation is theft. A cautionary note: Do not conclude from what I will demonstrate in this series of articles that I approve of the income tax. My book on that subject, Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax, makes my position clear. The tax (like all taxes) entails the threat of physical force against nonaggressors and is thus indistinguishable from robbery or extortion.
    Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 2, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Sep 2006
    Reviews the income tax laws passed between 1861 and 1894 and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. (1895) that challenged the constitutionality of the 1894 law
    The United States got its first income tax during the War Between the States ... A flat rate of 5 percent was levied on incomes over $1,000 ... [I]n 1870 [the] pro-income-tax forces rallied, and Congress passed a 2.5 percent tax with a $2,000 exemption. Then, two years later, that tax was allowed to expire ... Congress next passed an income tax in 1894 ... The law imposed a 2 percent tax on "gains, profits and incomes" over $4,000 during a five-year period ... [I]t was successfully challenged by a bank stockholder, Charles Pollock ... [but this] paved the way for the Sixteenth Amendment.
    Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 3, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Oct 2006
    Reviews the wording and ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, the first income tax law after it, the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad (1916) and the Constitutional debates back in 1787
    In 1913 the Sixteenth Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution ... I leave aside the claims that the amendment was ratified improperly by the states. No court accepts this argument ... [It] is worded thus: The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration. ... The same year that [it] was ratified Congress passed a graduated income tax during a special session called by President Woodrow Wilson. As usual, the income tax began as a tax on the wealthy.
    The Brilliance of Turgot, by Murray N. Rothbard, Apr 1986
    Biography and review of Turgot's major writings; introduction to The Turgot Collection (2011), edited by David Gordon
    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."
    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.)
    The Chavez Tragedy, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Mar 2001
    Comments on the disclosure that Linda Chavez, nominee for U.S. Secretary of Labor, had harbored an "illegal alien" and perhaps employed her to do household chores
    Chavez would have equally broken the law had she hired an American citizen to clean her home but ... refused to withhold income taxes and FICA "contributions" (translation: taxes) ... [L]aws requiring the withholding of taxes violate the rights of both employers and employees—over and beyond the collection of taxes per se. Employers are conscripted to be uncompensated tax collectors and bookkeepers for the state. That's involuntary servitude. Employees are denied the right to hold their hard-earned wages in their hands before the money is grabbed by the government tax thugs.
    Clinton's Health-Care Plan for You: Cradle-to-Grave Slavery, Part I, by Jarret Wollstein, Freedom Daily, Jan 1994
    Examines various provisions of the Clinton health care plan of 1993, including studies conducted on the proposal by CONSAD Research Corporation and the Heartland Institute
    [R]egardless of how little treatment you get or how bad it is, you will still be required to pay Clinton's new health-care taxes—forever. And there's no limit on how high those taxes can be ... [His] health-care plan will be financed by a new payroll tax of 3.5% to 7.6% on all businesses and workers ... (including part-time workers). And there will be new taxes on cigarettes and alcohol and higher taxes on "the wealthy" for Medicare. This will increase payroll-withholding taxes taken from the average person's paycheck to over 42% ... [T]hese taxes ... could destroy up to 16.3 million jobs.
    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 ... you [pay] $1000 less in taxes next year, have you taken something from the government that rightfully belongs to it? ... 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 Constitution and the Rule of Law, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Aug 1992
    Describes, using some of F. A. Hayek's writings, the concepts that individual rights do not stem from the U.S. constitution, that the latter is meant to "straitjacket" the government and the misunderstood (or forgotten) "rule of law"
    Once a person bypasses the "standard deduction," he enters into the nether world of potential prosecution for tax violations ... [T]here is no way that a person can ever be in full compliance with all of them. Thus, each person who works his way through the maze of the IRS Code is always subject to criminal prosecution for violating one of the myriad of rules and regulations ... Although paying several millions ... in income taxes, [Leona Helmsley] supposedly committed the heinous crime of taking some improper deductions on her income-tax return, thereby depriving the politicians ... of their milk ...
    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
    Comments on a study estimating that 44% of income earners will have no federal income tax liability, suggests a politically incorrect solution and reflects on Madison's concerns about class warfare between the rich and the poor
    In general, I've always held that a tax cut for anybody, at any time, for any reason is a good thing because it keeps more of our earnings in our pockets and out of Washington. But there's a problem ... When 122 million Americans are outside of the federal income tax system, it's like throwing chum to our political sharks. These Americans become a natural spending constituency for big-government politicians. After all, if you have no income tax liability, how much do you care about how much Congress spends and the level of taxation? Political calls for tax cuts fall upon deaf ears.
    Related Topics: James Madison, Voting
    Death and Taxes–Can the Congress Kill a Pernicious Tax?, by Paul Boytinck, 16 Jul 2003
    Discusses the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2003, as argued (and passed) on the U.S. House of Representatives, an attempt to permanently repeal federal estate taxation
    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 as income taxes (federal, state and municipal), property taxes, sales taxes, sin taxes and a mounting array of indirect excise taxes ... and therefore some 80% of Americans are said to be against it.
    Related Topics: Business, Nebraska
    Default Circus—er, Crisis—Averted?, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 18 Oct 2013
    Examines the U.S. government's possibility of default on its debt and other obligations, with some side remarks on handling of Social Security funds
    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 ... Too many dubious premises are packed into the conventional conversation. Ultimately, 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.
    Defenders of 'the peculiar institution', by Vin Suprynowicz, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 25 Mar 2007
    Responds to a letter from a professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, mocking a previous op-ed saying that taxation violates the 13th Amendment
    [O]ne 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. Refuse to let the armed men in your home or office when they arrive. Do "tax resisters" go to prison, or not? ... Mr. Pelton implies America was built on taxes, that the state is our "community." In fact, America was founded in resistance to taxation ...
    Related Topic: Compulsory Education
    Democracy and Government Schools, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Jan 2007
    Discusses the current state of government education, including "creative solutions" such as charter schools and vouchers, and the influence of the "religion of democracy" in achieving a free market in education
    Charter schools have made inroads in various states, but ... are financed by the taxpayers ... Financed out of the taxpayers' money, [voucher] schools can't operate freely ... [W]hile private schools and home-schooling may have to be tolerated, they must not be encouraged or allowed to compete with the state for tax money ... [C]harter schools and vouchers are objectionable because the taxpayers are forced to support them. The proper solution is to end government schooling, repeal school taxes, and let parents spend their money on education as they see fit. No schools should receive tax money.
    The Disastrous Middle Of the Road Policy, by Ludwig von Mises, The Commercial and Financial Chronicle, 4 May 1950
    From a speech to the University Club of New York on 18 Apr 1950; argues that the middle of the road policies of interventionism, such as price controls and progressive taxation, eventually lead to socialism via central planning
    Looking backward on the evolution of income tax rates from the beginning of the Federal income tax in 1913 until the present day, one can hardly expect that the tax will not one day absorb 100% of all surplus above the income of the average voter. It is this that Marx and Engels had in mind ... 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.
    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
    Underreporting inflation helps government officials in at least three ways. First of all, it provides more favorable economic news ... 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. And third, [underreporting] reduces government spending by limiting the spending increases that are tied to inflation.
    Don't Privatize Plunder, by Anthony Gregory, 22 Sep 2004
    Criticizes George W. Bush's plans to "privatize" Social Security, discussing the regressive aspects of it, how many older, even "free market" thinkers want to keep it afloat, and instead recommends scrapping it entirely by gradually reducing payroll taxes
    [T]he caller [to Rush Limbaugh] actually had a good question ... He asked why the administration cut income taxes instead of payroll taxes. He wasn't complaining about the rich getting tax cuts, as much as he was arguing that the poor should get tax cuts ... Limbaugh mumbled something about why payroll taxes couldn't be reasonably cut ... I'm starting to see why some people think Republicans care more about cutting taxes for the rich than for the rest ... Maybe they do. Some Republicans even think the poor are "under-taxed." Maybe these are the same folks who think that Iraq has been under-bombed.
    Don't Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment!, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 23 May 2008
    Prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court denial of review of Murphy v. IRS, analyzes various court cases regarding income taxation and suggests the only way to eliminate taxation is by educating and changing people's minds
    This history demonstrates that if the Sixteenth Amendment were repealed today, Congress would still have the power to tax wages and salaries, although not property income. But we can take this analysis further. The Pollock decision seems wrong on its face: there is a difference between taxing income from property and taxing property itself. One is a tax on transactions, the other a tax on possession. If you own a house and rent it, an income tax would take a percentage of the rental income. But if you lived in the house, you'd pay no income tax because there'd be no rent.
    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 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, The Goal Is Freedom, 20 Feb 2015
    Discusses voicing of opinions on public policy, as exemplified by Mike Lupica's comment on "health insurance for all", without having knowledge of economics, the corruption of the meaning of "insurance" and the goal of universal and affordable healthcare
    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. Moreover, the system creates an incentive to extend "insurance" to include noninsurable events simply to take advantage of the tax preference for noncash compensation.
    The Education Tax Racket, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 24 Aug 2001
    Discusses a complaint from a director of the Arkansas Department of Education about the boom in homeschooling possibly influencing property taxes used to pay for government schools
    "A third of our support for [government] schools comes from property taxes," Ray tells ... Time ... Ray goes on: "if a large number of a community's parents do not fully believe in the school system, it gets more difficult to pass those property taxes. And that directly impacts the schools' ability to operate." ... Why do schools need ... higher taxes in order to have the "ability to operate"? Why can't they operate on the money they have now? ... It seems that a number of tax-limitation measures have passed in Arkansas in recent years. Panicked legislators have been inching up the sales tax ...
    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. To punish the self-destructive, the government must also punish the self-improving and deprive them of the fruits of and the incentives for their self-improvement.
    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, ... 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 ... pirates ... Without the power to tax, Congress could not pay off the foreign debt, not even that owed to Spain ... [T]he 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 ...
    An End to Eminent Domain Abuse?, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, Apr 2005
    Published just two months before the unfortunate Kelo v. City of New London U.S. Supreme Court decision, expresses 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 ... In the ... mindset of typical government officials, if the existing pattern of land use in their jurisdiction doesn't provide them with the maximum amount of tax revenue, they are justified in taking land away from its owners and transferring title to others.
    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? ... My own preference is for a single tax on land, with landholders doing their own valuation; you'd state the price at which you'd be willing to sell your land, and pay taxes on that amount.
    Étienne de La Boétie, Part 2, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, May 2003
    Examines the major themes in La Boétie's "Discourse": custom (habit), control of information, buying off the people and withdrawal of consent
    [The foundation of tyranny] was institutionalized bribery by which millions of people were employed at state jobs and received tax funds ... These state employees "cling to the tyrant" and offer him their loyalty. Some state employees, such as police officers, became the hands of the state ... Tax-supported intellectuals, such as university professors and recipients of government grants, became the voice of the state, defending its legitimacy ... Over generations, a vast new class of people emerged within society: people who served the state in exchange for a tax-funded salary.
    Exploiting the Workers, by Anthony Gregory, 14 Apr 2006
    Discusses the attitudes of progressives and the "left", who usually favor the rights of workers, but show little or no concern of the exploitation of workers by income taxation
    On April 15, Americans must pay tribute to the state on the basis of their income. To be more precise, 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 ... April 15 still has its unique significance, for it is this date by which most Americans have to submit their tax forms, often exhausted from an excruciating effort to accurately account for their financial affairs from the past year ...
    The Federal War on Gold, Part 1, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Aug 2006
    Discusses some of the clauses in the U.S. constitution regarding coinage and the issuance of paper money by the federal government
    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 ... Being unaware of economic principles, people will even demand that federal officials impose price controls and excess-profits taxes on the evil offenders ...
    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
    Krugman makes no mention of the fact that 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.
    Flat Tax Folly, by Laurence M. Vance, Mises Daily, 14 Apr 2006
    A review of Flat Tax Revolution (2005) by Steve Forbes, also presenting five problems with the flat tax proposal
    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. This is not surprising since IRS employees (... there are 97,440 of them) don't even give the same answers to tax questions. Forbes mentions a 2003 Treasury Department study which found that callers to the IRS toll-free help lines "gave the wrong answers to tax-related questions more than 25 percent of the time."
    Foreign Policy, by John Bright, 29 Oct 1858
    Speech given to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce; criticizes British militarism and imperialism, pointing out the effects of several 19th century wars on national debt, poverty and families
    We have ... taxes which have been during many years so onerous that there have been times when the patient beasts of burden threatened to revolt ... 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.
    Four California tax increases defeated, Libertarian Party News, Dec 2004
    Reports on the successes of the Libertarian Party of California in opposing several tax increase proposals in the 2004 Santa Clara County elections
    When it comes to taking money away from taxpayers, how much is "enough?" That was the question ... Libertarian Mark Hinkle asked ... The LP joined with the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association ... to oppose 13 of the 15 tax increase proposals ... Proponents of the property taxes for school funds tried to shame the voters into supporting new taxes by saying they were necessary to meet high-sounding goals such as maintaining "high quality education ..." ... [T]he argument against the tax pointed out, no plan existed as to how the district would spend the money or how to measure its effectiveness ...
    Related Topic: California
    The Fraudulent Tax, by Laurence M. Vance, Mises Daily, 9 Oct 2006
    Examines the arguments made by proponents of the FairTax (a national retail sales tax), in particular, those made by Neal Boortz in The FairTax Book (2005)
    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 ... [I]f we accept ... the claim of FairTax supporters that tax evaders ... will now be "caught," therefore increasing the tax base, we can, for the sake of argument, say that some people might pay the same amount in taxes, many will pay less, and the few that will pay more are the ones who were paying little or no taxes to begin with.
    Related Topic: Ron Paul
    Freedom of Education, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Mar 1993
    Imagines a potential discussion between an advocate of religious freedom, a proponent of a system, established one hundred years ago, of public, i.e., government-sponsored, churches and an advocate of religious "vouchers"
    Advocate of Religious Freedom: ... Ministers and their lobbyists are constantly calling for higher taxes to fund the ever-burgeoning church budgets. And although church taxes continue to rise, the situation just gets worse ...
    Advocate of Vouchers: ... I have the perfect compromise: a voucher system for public and private churches ... Parents would be given vouchers by the state. They could present these vouchers at either a public or private church ...
    Advocate of Religious Freedom: But ... wouldn't you still be taxing people to pay for the churches?
    Freedom, Virtue, and Responsibility, Part 2, by Jacob G. Hornberger, May 1994
    Provides examples from taxes, the "dole", public housing and licensing that show how the welfare state and managed economy undermine human well-being, contrasting life in Russia under socialism vs. the supposed freedom in the United States
    [T]he welfare state punishes and discourages the idea of financial self-improvement ... For example, what is the underlying message of the progressive income tax—the jugular vein of the welfare state? "The better you do, the more we will punish you with higher taxes. And if you do well financially, you should feel guilty that you have more when others have less. We will alleviate your guilt by taking your ill-gotten gains ... and giving them to others. And if you resist ..., we will expose you to public shame for being a bad, selfish, uncaring person who is a racist and who hates the poor."
    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 (HKSAR), expected to be promulgated in 1990 (actually adopted 4 April 1990 and went into effect 1 July 1997), as a "free-market constitution"
    [L]ow 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. Article 105 links Hong Kong's low tax system into a budgetary policy which requires that, taking one year with another, revenues and expenditures remain in balance.
    Free Trade or Protectionism?, by Vincent H. Miller, James R. Elwood, 1988
    Educational pamphlet to inform about the benefits of free trade and the costs of so-called "protectionism" or "fair trade"
    European consumers pay dearly for EC restrictions ... and heavy taxes for domestic farm subsidies ... 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
    From Spencer's 1884 to Orwell's 1984, by Henry Hazlitt, Man vs. The Welfare State, 1969
    Chapter 23 of Man vs. The Welfare State; extensive review of Spencer's The Man versus the State comparing the 1880s to the contemporary (late 1960s) social and political environment
    Those who impose additional taxes are saying in effect: "Hitherto you have been free to spend this portion of your earnings in any way which pleased you; hereafter ... we will spend it for the general benefit." ... Oppressive taxation is a form of slavery of the individual to the community as a whole. "The essential question is—How much is he compelled to labor for other benefit than his own, and how much can he labor for his own benefit?" Even Spencer would probably have regarded with incredulity a prediction that ... England would have rates of income tax rising above 90 percent ...
    Funding Leviathan, Part 1, by Laurence M. Vance, Freedom Daily, Mar 2007
    Reviews the latest tax reform proposals from the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform and Steve Forbes' flat-tax plan, quoting Murray Rothbard on the flat-tax movement
    The federal leviathan is fed by taxes ... These taxes are, broadly and in descending order of their magnitude: individual income taxes, social insurance taxes, corporate income taxes, excise taxes, and estate and gift taxes ... 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, Freedom Daily, Apr 2007
    Reviews the FairTax reform proposal, and briefly comments on the Efficient Taxation of Income and Business Transfer Tax proposals, 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 ... [I]t is certainly reasonable to support any tax-reform proposal that aims to substantially reduce the federal leviathan's food supply ... We "need" an income tax because of the federal government's insatiable desire for money. Such was not always the case, however, for we have had a permanent income tax only since 1913 ...
    Related Topic: Murray N. Rothbard
    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 tax 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.
    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 policies ... 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
    Biographical essay on Dr. Gertrude B. Kelly, Irish immigrant, individualist feminist and contributor to Benjamin Tucker's Liberty
    Kelly argued for the impossibility of government's promoting knowledge ... But, even granting ... 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 ..., 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 F. Ayau, Imprimis, Nov 1984
    Paper delivered as part of a seminar in the Center for Constructive Alternatives; 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 ... 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"
    The means for the insuring of labour are of two sorts; the one made out of the matter of evil, the other made out of the matter of good. The first sort is commonly denominated force; and, under its application, the labourers are slaves ... The other mode of obtaining labour is by allurement, or the advantage which it brings ... 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.
    Government in Business, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Freeman, Sep 1956
    Contrasts characteristics of government-run enterprises with those of privately operated businesses and counters the argument of running government "like a business"
    The standard government reply to charges of inefficiency or shortage is to blame the public: "Taxpayers won't give us more money!" The public literally has to be forced to hand over more tax money for highways, schools ... [T]he question arises: "Why doesn't private enterprise have these problems?" ... In government, there are no profits for investors and no penalty charged against the inefficient operator. No one ... can insure that successful plants expand and unsuccessful ones disappear. These are some of the reasons why the government must raise its "capital" by literally conscripting it.
    Government Keeps People Poor, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Jun 2006
    Enumerates five ways in which, although politicians claim to care about the poor, government keeps people in poverty
    How does government keep people poor? A brief article cannot count all the ways, but we can cover the highlights. First, low-income people pay various taxes, even if the personal income tax isn't one of them. They labor under the payroll tax to support bankrupt Social Security and Medicare. They pay sales taxes, property taxes (through their rent), and gasoline taxes. Many taxes are built into the prices of products. The government's fiscal burden is heavy, and it's a burden that low-income people are less able to cope with than wealthier people.
    Government the Exploiter, Not Protector, by Sheldon Richman, 14 Jul 2006
    Argues that, contrary to popular belief, the primary goal of government is not to protect the citizens but rather to exploit them though taxes and a system of privileges that favors those with political connections
    The moment the political authority imposes taxes, exploitation is born, along with two irreconcilable groups: the tax producers and the tax consumers. The former include anyone who works and trades in the marketplace; the latter, those who live off the former: the government's personnel and those with political connections. For example, tax money pays government contractors to build things the powerful want built ... Government privilege includes tariffs, which keep low-priced imports out of the market, and the myriad regulations, taxes, licenses, and other restrictions that stifle competition.
    Health Insurance Scam, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 13 Nov 2009
    Analyzes how what is called "health insurance" is not about health nor is it insurance, how it came about from "wartime economic controls", and why it has resulted in rising medical care costs
    [The] 1940s wartime economic controls prohibited pay increases for factory workers ... Unlike wages, noncash benefits were not taxed and soon became part of labor negotiations. The tax advantage given to insurance versus cash wages brought forth ever more elaborate packages, which included coverage for uninsurable events, such as routine physical and dental exams. Employers had no problem with this because their employees actually paid the price in forgone cash wages ... [E]ven if [employees] had realized who was really paying, the tax advantage would have proved irresistible.
    Henry David Thoreau and "Civil Disobedience," Part 1, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, 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, [he] 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 ...
    Herbert, Auberon (1838-1906), by Eric Mack, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical and bibliographical 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. However, Herbert ... held that individuals should and would freely converge on a single supplier of rights protection.
    Hoover's Second Wrecking of American Agriculture, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Dec 2005
    Follow-up to "How the Feds Took Over Farming", describes the policies of Hoover's Federal Farm Board, the Smoot-Hawley Act, the Federal Reserve and taxes as contributors to the Great Depression and particularly their effect on farmers
    The single most devastating expense for farmers in the early 1930s was higher taxes ... Farmers were taxed heavily because most local and state governments relied on property taxes for most of their income, and because "farm land was still listed on the tax rolls at figures approaching the extravagant prices of the immediate post-war years." As crop prices declined, taxes as a percentage of income skyrocketed. An estimated 25 percent of the farms that went bankrupt between 1931 and 1933 were sold for failure to pay taxes.
    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 ... [I]t makes ... sense to suppose they would have invested it ... or spent it on something ... It does not make sense to say we are better off. At best, some in society (certain architects, builders, and cooks ...) profit at the expense of others (certain taxpayers) who would rather have paid for something else.
    How Gold Was Money—How Gold Could Be Money Again, by Richard Timberlake, The Freeman, Apr 1995
    Examines U.S. monetary history, as it relates to gold, from the Constitution to the late 20th century, suggesting that rather than lobbying for a return to a gold standard, sound money advocates should insist on Treasury gold being returned to taxpayers
    The Treasury Department collects and disburses money for the federal government through its Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In some given taxable year, say 1996, the IRS would note the total number of dependents on the various income tax forms ... It would then issue one one-ounce gold certificate for each listed dependent to the heads of households who had filed the returns ... Taxpayers who received the gold certificates would be elated. After all these decades of paying taxes, they were finally getting something in return. True, it would be far less than what they had paid in ...
    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
    18. 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
    Discusses the societal and economics implications of a 68% "windfall profits" tax imposed on copper and gold mining in Mongolian territory
    The Mongolian state ... imposed what it has termed a "windfall profits" tax on mining carried out in that country ... This tax is so punitive that its imposition is tantamount to nationalization ... Funds that are forcibly exacted are subject to misallocation and abuse because there is little need to be concerned about satisfying the tax payer ... 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, Peru, Wages
    The Humanitarian with the Guillotine, by Isabel Paterson, Ideas on Liberty, Sep 1955
    Reprinted from The God of the Machine (1943), chapter XX; analyzes the negative consequences of "humanitarians" (or professional philanthropists) and politicians actions to provide relief to the needy
    [T]he proposal to care for the needy by the political means ... 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? They cannot deny that the means for relief must come from production. But they say there is enough and to spare. Then they must assume that the producers are not willing to give what is "right." Further they assume that there is a collective right to impose taxes, for any purpose the collective shall determine.
    I'd Like My Money Back, by Mary Theroux, 14 Apr 2009
    Letter to President Obama, California Congresswomen, the California Governor, the Alameda County Tax Collector and the Mayor of Oakland, pleading that they return "all monies previously remitted, for non-performance of services"
    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 you need additional evidence, please do not hesitate to ask: there’s plenty more where this came from.
    Related Topics: California, Iraq War, Barack Obama
    "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, ... 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) and suggests doing away with the pursuing of nonviolent persons for "victimless so-called crimes"
    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 ... [C]igarette smuggling from low-tax states is big business. Whenever the tax goes up, so does the smuggling. In fact, smuggling used to be an honorable American profession ... 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.
    Imperium in Imperio, by Frank Chodorov, analysis, Jun 1950
    Examines the theory of government espoused by James Madison, how property rights have regressed since then, and arguing that a States' Rights movement (meaning decentralization and local autonomy) should be focused on protecting property rights
    [N]ot until the Sixteenth Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution was its character completely altered. The income tax insinuated. a theory of government quite unknown to the Founding Fathers, holding that the function of government is to act as pater familias to society as a whole. To perform that role, the government must have access to all that is produced, as a matter of right, just as a feudal baron ... This, of course, is a complete rejection of the right of private property; what the citizen may retain from his earnings is a concession, revocable at will.
    The Income Tax: Root of All Evil, by Frank Chodorov, Freedom Daily, Aug 1990
    Excerpted from chapters III, V, VII and XI of Chodorov's 1954 book of 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
    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
    [People] always forget that one person's government care is another person's shackles in taxes! 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
    After quoting the "self-evident truths" paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, lists how the signers suffered, and contrasts them with government actions since 1913 that betrayed those ideals
    The ideals of the Declaration ... 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 both before and after 4 July 1776
    The American Revolution was, at best, a revolt against empire. The taxes at issue were being used to finance Britain's national security state ... It 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, Ideas on Liberty, May 1955
    Describes how attempts to equalize incomes and wealth lead to lowered standard of living for the masses and eventually to socialism
    The history of the taxation of profits, incomes and estates in all countries clearly shows that once the principle of equalization is adopted, there is no point at which the further progress of the policy of equalization can be checked ... [U]nder 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 ...
    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 [it] takes 75%, you are 75% enslaved. As recently as 1956, the average US citizen paid less than 10% of their income in taxes. In 1956, a single working parent could support a spouse and earn enough in 10 years to buy a new house. Today the government takes at least 50% of the average person's income. Many people are working 2 or even 3 jobs, and even with both spouses working, fewer and fewer families can afford to own a house.
    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. This situation differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery ... The difference is a slave has no rights to what he produces each year ...
    Related Topics: Government, Inflation
    "It's So Simple, It's Ridiculous", by Brian Doherty, Reason, May 2004
    Describes the travails of Bob Schulz, the We The People Foundation for Constitutional Education and other American income tax protesters
    Schulz has stopped paying federal income tax, and he isn't afraid to let anyone, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), know it. Not only is he not paying, but he's also leading a national movement telling everyone else they shouldn't pay either ... The claim that the 16th Amendment wasn't properly ratified actually holds up pretty well ... [T]here 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 ...
    James Madison: Father of the Implied-Powers Doctrine, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 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] 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, 15 Jul 2000
    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 Thomas Jefferson quotations on the subjects of liberty, rights and government
    Our liberty is not to be undermined by government intervention or redistribution. ...
    "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 ..."
    Lessons learned: Libertarian reflects on his campaign and offers advice, by Richard H. Timberlake, Libertarian Party News, Jan 1994
    Describes the background to "retired fuddy-duddy economics professor" Timberlake's campaign for city-county commissioner against a Democrat incumbent, campaign activities, analysis of results and suggestions for other LP candidates and the Party itself
    The proposed Athens-Clarke civic center [was part of] a package of public projects ... The revenues to pay for this complete smorgasbord would come from a local 1 percent addition to the state's 5 percent sales tax ... The 1 percent additional tax was duly imposed, and sales tax money accrued in the local government's interest-bearing account for the next four years ... Given that it would be built with sales tax money collected from out-of-town aliens ..., the guaranteed losses the civic center would incur over the indefinite future would have to be borne primarily by local property owners.
    Related Topics: Georgia, Libertarian Party, Voting
    Letters to Mr. Malthus, on Several Subjects of Political Economy, and on the Cause of the Stagnation of Commerce, by Jean-Baptiste Say, 1820
    Original title: Lettres à M. Malthus, sur différens sujets d'économie politique, notamment sur les causes de la stagnation générale du commerce
    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? ... [T]axes do not augment the profits of the producer, although they increase the price of every production: the incomes of the producers become insufficient ...
    "Liberal" Court Okays Eminent Domain Abuse, by George Leef, 1 Jul 2005
    Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court 5-4 decision, in favor of the defendants, in Kelo v. City of New London
    Suppose ... that the hotel and shops the politicians envision end up paying taxes that add to the city's revenues. Why assume that "the public" is going to benefit? Will tax rates in general be reduced? Certainly not. Will the added governmental expenditures those tax revenues make possible make life markedly better for the inhabitants? Will ... New London's streets get any better? Will the government schools educate any better? ... [E]xperience teaches us, that most of the benefit of the added tax revenue will go to those interest groups who are good at dipping into the public trough.
    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, Freedom Daily, Jun 2006
    Examines the class analysis of Charles Comte, Charles Dunoyer and Augustin Thierry and its basis on the work of J. B. Say, drawing on writings by Ralph Raico, Leonard Liggio, David M. Hart and Walter E. Grinder
    What is the upshot of this ... overview? 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.
    Libertarianism Is the Key to Our Future, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Jul 2006
    Examines three reasons—freedom, morality and pragmatism—that suggest that Americans will eventually return to their libertarian heritage
    Here is the essence of the income-tax/welfare-state argument with respect to morality: Your ... ancestors believed in a system in which everyone kept his own money and decided what to do with it ... That ... rugged individualism ... failed, partly because individuals cannot be trusted ... to help those in need. Here is how we saved America's ... system. Everyone was required to send ... part of his income to the federal government ... Then federal officials disbursed the funds to the poor and needy ... [T]he American people are considered good and moral as the welfare-state disbursements are made.
    Libertarians help California county save $98 million in school taxes, Libertarian Party News, Apr 2004
    Reports on the defeat of a proposed bond measure for school construction in Santa Barbara County and the activities of the county Libertarian Party to prevent the measure from passing
    [T]here was some good news for [California] Libertarians, who oppose raising taxes to fund further government waste. In Santa Maria ... voters rejected a proposed bond measure that would have cost them $98 million for school construction. Known as Measure V, it required 55 percent approval to pass; it got 50.26 percent of the vote ... "People forget what these people do with the money they get from taxes," [county LP chair] Wagener said. "Some [taxpayers] contacted us, saying they were happy I reminded them of how the school district wasted the money the last time."
    Related Topics: California, Libertarian Party
    A Libertarian Visits Cuba, Part 2, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Jul 1999
    Describes the meetings Hornberger had while conducting an informal study of socialism in Cuba, with "hard-liners" and reformers at research centers as well as people on the street
    I paid an unofficial visit to a branch office of the Cuban Internal Revenue Service in the hope of securing a copy of a Cuban income-tax return ... [A]n official ... said that there should be no problem giving me the tax return but that regulations required him to first secure permission from his superiors. I momentarily forgot where I was and said, "Yes, death and the state. They are impossible to avoid everywhere." Apparently tax officials are the same everywhere, because the man glared at me, went into an office, and returned to tell me that they had just run out of tax returns.
    Lies and Leviathan, by James Bovard, Freedom Daily, Aug 2006
    Describes the deceit used to institute and expand the U.S. Social Security program, as well as various other programs such as job training and placement, the No Child Left Behind Act, the Office of Strategic Influence, and various duplicitous officials
    New groups were continually dragooned into the [Social Security] system, partly as a result of the state's "power to use funds raised by compulsory means to make propaganda for an extension of this compulsory system," as ... Hayek noted. When groups such as the Amish objected on principle and refused to pay Social Security taxes, federal agents swept down and seized their cows, buggies, and other property. The [SSA] commissioner, Stanford Ross, after he announced his resignation, conceded in 1979 that
    ... Strictly speaking, the system was never intended to return to individuals what they paid.
    The life and times of Murray N. Rothbard, by Jim Powell
    Full title: The life and times of Murray N. Rothbard, who showed why private individuals can do just about everything that needs to be done
    Lengthy biographical essay
    Urged on by Hoover, Rothbard noted, "Congress passed, in the Revenue Act of 1932, one of the greatest increases in taxation ever enacted in the United States in peacetime. The range of tax increases was enormous: many wartime excise taxes were revived, sales taxes were imposed ...; admission and stock transfer taxes were increased; ... the personal income tax was raised drastically ...; personal exemptions were sharply reduced, and an earned credit ... eliminated; and surtaxes were raised enormously ... [T]he corporate income tax was increased ... and the gift tax ... was restored ..."
    Lysander Spooner on the National Debt, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 27 Sep 2013
    Examines contemporaneous warnings about Congress not raising the national debt limit by considering what Spooner wrote in "The Constitution of No Authority" about the legitimacy of the debt
    [I]n the essay, Spooner handily disposes of the claim that ... paying taxes implies consent ... [P]aying 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 ... How can one actually consent if there is no possible way to withhold consent? ... So by what authority do the people who claim to constitute the U.S. government borrow money in our names and compel us to repay the debt? By no authority at all, as far as I can see, unless "might makes right" counts as authority.
    A Man, a Plan, a Flop, by David Gordon, Mises Daily, 23 Apr 2006
    Critical review of Charles Murray's In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State (2006)
    [I]f 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 [it] will transfer income more efficiently. And to do so, high taxes are necessary.
    Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part XXIV: Milton Friedman's Framework for Economic Stability, by Richard M. Ebeling, Freedom Daily, Dec 1998
    Describes Friedman's criticisms of Keynesian policies and examines Friedman's own proposals for government intervention in the economy
    Friedman advocated a progressive income tax because he wanted it to be used as a macroeconomic policy tool. As incomes fell during an economic downturn, individuals would fall into lower tax brackets, meaning [they] would be retaining a larger after-tax percentage of whatever income they earned. In an inflationary environment, incomes would be rising, resulting in people's retaining a smaller after-tax percentage ... Thus, a progressive income tax would serve as an instrument for government to manipulate the amount of private-sector spending out of different levels of national income.
    Monopoly, Competition, and Educational Freedom, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Mar 2000
    Discusses monopolies and competition in the religious, postal delivery and educational realms and criticizes a speech by Gary Becker about competition in religion and education
    "Vouchers," Becker said, "are the best way to bring the innovations and competition of the private sec-tor into a government-funded school system." ... [W]e must keep in mind that funding for public sch-ooling would continue to occur through the taxing process regardless of whether people were choosing another branch of the system. [N]o state school would go out of business just because it abused and lost a few customers, unlike what would happen in a truly competitive market. Why didn't Becker at least propose that school taxes be abolished and that public schools be required to compete ...?
    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)
    Typical of our times is what usually happens 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 ... [T]hose 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.
    Mr. Bush's War, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Rothbard-Rockwell Report, 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
    [T]he 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. Why is gouging the consumer unmercifully perfectly OK if it is government gouging by the U.S.? These same liberals and centrists are even now advocating a higher federal tax on gasoline.
    Murray Rothbard's Philosophy of Freedom, by David Gordon, The Freeman, Nov 2007
    Examines the arguments made by Rothbard that, given the premise that slavery is wrong, self-ownership, private property rights and a free market without government interventions follow
    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 ... And the income tax is far from the only area in which the state acts as a slave master.
    My Life as a Libertarian, by D. T. Armentano, 21 Jul 2003
    Lengthy autobiographical essay, describing among other things, how he took an interest in antitrust policy and wrote several books and articles on the subject, and his disappointment when attempting to stop Connecticut from imposing a state income tax
    Professor Jack Sullivan ... and I wrote four detailed critiques of the proposed [Connecticut] state income tax ... We knew that the ... state budget process had been out of control for years ... We knew what happened in other states when a state income tax was adopted: their economic growth rates declined. We knew that state income taxes did not "fix" budget deficits. Indeed, the states with the highest state income taxes had the highest deficits! ... [W]e had all of the facts, all of the arguments, and all of the public support, while the other side had only one mantra: We want the money.
    The Myth of "Limited Government", by Joseph Sobran, 20 Dec 2001
    Discusses some of the concepts in Hans-Hermann Hoppe's Democracy: The God That Failed (2001)
    We are taught that the change from monarchy to democracy is progress; that is, a change from servitude to liberty. Yet no monarchy in Western history ever taxed its subjects as heavily as every modern democracy taxes its citizens. But we are taught that this condition is liberty, because "we" are—freely—taxing "ourselves." The individual, as a member of a democracy, is presumed to consent to being taxed and otherwise forced to do countless things he hasn’t chosen to do (or forbidden to do things he would prefer not to do).
    Related Topics: Democracy, Limited Government
    A National Wealth Tax to Fund Education?, by George Leef, 25 Mar 2005
    Examines a proposal from Robert Reich to do away with local property taxes and instead levy a national wealth tax to fund public education
    Poorer school districts can't afford to hire really well-trained teachers and have small classes, Reich says ... He wants to do away with local property taxes to fund public education and institute a national wealth tax instead, which he recommends setting at "one tenth of one percent of everyone's total assets each year, to be distributed to school districts around the country on the basis of the number of kids they have to educate." Reich contends that his national wealth tax would be "simple and fair," a means of giving "every school a fighting chance."
    The Natural Right of Property, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 17 Aug 2007
    Examines Thomas Hodgskin's philosophy, in particular his writings on property rights in The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted (1832)
    This was written in 1832. Hodgskin never experienced ... the Internal Revenue Service, or the U.S. income tax ...
    Nature may annihilate, but she never tortures ... Not so the legislator. He has inflicted on mankind for ages the miseries of revenue laws,—greater than those of pestilence and famine, and sometimes producing both these calamities ... Revenue laws meet us at every turn. They embitter our meals, and disturb our sleep. They excite dishonesty, and check enterprise. They impede division of labour, and create division of interest. They sow strife and enmity amongst townsmen and brethren ...
    New Declaration of Independence, by Vince Miller, Jarret Wollstein, Jan 2000
    Prefaced by quoting the second paragraph of the original Declaration, lists—in a manner similar to the original—the outrages of the "modern American State" (referred to as "They") and ending with a list of demands
    • 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.
    ... To restore the freedom, peace and prosperity of the people, we therefore demand: ...
    • That the Income Tax and the IRS be abolished and that all persons jailed for tax evasion be freed.
    A New Scheme, by F. A. Harper, The Freeman, Feb 1956
    Comments on the implications of a plan whereby the United States government would act as guarantor for private ventures wishing to invest in Indian projects, providing compensation in the event of subsequent nationalization by the Indian government
    The second consequence will be that the United States government will have to tax us all for the funds ... to reimburse the private investors. Why? Because the government is an enterprise of losses ... and must always collect the money for any such use in the form of taxes. This tax cost has to be borne by everyone in the United States—both rich and poor. And so it turns out that the scheme promises more than mere compensation to private investors ... It is difficult to see why our government should redesign the deal this way: "Heads, the investor wins; tails, all United States taxpayers lose."
    Related Topics: Government, India
    No Representation Without Taxation!, by Jan Clifford Lester, 11 Apr 2001
    Considers the converse of the proposition "taxation without representation", concluding with a list of those who do "not pay taxes and so ought not to have an electoral vote"
    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 plus any payments in newly created state-currency ... So to the extent that people are in the pay of the state they cannot be genuine taxpayers. A proof of this is that if their jobs were abolished the state would have more money to spend elsewhere, unlike those jobs in the genuinely taxpaying sector.
    Related Topic: Voting
    Obstruction of Justice, by Robert Poole, Jr., Michigan Privatization Report, 1997
    Discusses U.S. federal policies that prevent or work against lower-level governments privatizing the "services" they provide
    Consider three otherwise identical infrastructure facilities that serve the public ... If the facility is owned by investors, it must pay federal corporate income taxes and in most cases it can finance its operations only with taxable debt. The identical facility, if owned by a government agency, pays no taxes and can borrow at tax-exempt rates ... Making tax-exempt bonds available to developers of any public-purpose infrastructure, regardless of ownership, would significantly reduce the antiprivate bias ... So ... would taxing government enterprises on the same basis as investor-owned ones ...
    Related Topic: Transportation
    Persuasion versus Force, by Mark Skousen, Liberty, Sep 1991
    Based on the "From Force to Persuasion" chapter in Alfred North Whitehead's Adventures of Ideas (1933), Skousen suggests a new libertarian creed, "The triumph of persuasion over force is the sign of a civilized society"
    Too often politicians think that new programs requiring new taxes are the only way to pay for citizens' retirement, health care, education or other social needs ... Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "Taxation is the price we pay for civilization." But isn't the opposite really the case? Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success.
    The Physiocrats, by Wendy McElroy, Freedom Daily, 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 [French] nonelite ... 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 Political Thought of Étienne de La Boétie, by Murray N. Rothbard, 1975
    Introduction to The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude (Free Life Editions, 1975), translated by Harry Kurz; summarizes the key insights of La Boétie's work
    La Boétie was the first theorist of the strategy of mass, nonviolent civil disobedience of State edicts and exactions. How practical such a tactic might be is difficult to say ... But the tactic of mass refusal to pay taxes ... 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 Recipe for Singapore's Prosperity, by Daniel J. Mitchell, 17 Jul 2017
    Examines various policies in Singapore that have led to its ranking high in the Economic Freedom of the World, but also pointing out problems that detract from a similar score in the Human Freedom Index
    [S]ince the burden of spending is modest, that enables Singapore to have a non-oppressive tax regime.
    • A top personal income tax rate of 22 percent (about half the U.S. level)
    • A corporate tax rate of 17 percent (less than half the U.S. level).
    • No death tax (unlike most other developed nations).
    • No capital gains tax (unlike most other developed nations).
    • Very little double-taxation of interest and dividends (unlike most other developed nations).
    That's the good news. The bad news is that a value-added tax was imposed back in the 1990s.
    Reform Social Security ... or Repeal It?, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Jul 2000
    In the prelude to the 2000 U.S. presidential election, counters Bush's proposal to reform Social Security and Gore's claims of jeopardizing it, with a call for outright repeal
    [M]ake no mistake about it: Social Security, like all tax-and-welfare schemes, is founded on the force of government. For example, suppose a 30-year-old man writes the following note to the Internal Revenue Service: "I am not enclosing my Social Security taxes this year because I have decided to provide for my own retirement. I hereby waive all rights to Social Security forever." The IRS, with the assistance of U.S. marshals and federal judges, will fine him, seize his assets, and in the extreme case, put him into jail. That is what is called "force."
    Related Topic: Social Security Tax
    The Repeal of Social Security, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Nov 1995
    Argues for the outright repeal of the Social Security Act of 1935 quoting Bastiat in his advice against using the law as an "instrument of equalization"
    [The Social Security Act] was a law that enabled government to use the force of taxation to take money from the young and productive and give it to others, specifically those who had reached retirement age ... For 150 years, Americans ... were free to accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth and to decide what to do with [it]. No one was forced to take care of his parents ... [T]he elderly and the poor were taken care of by families, churches, neighbors, and others in the community ... Americans, largely, rejected any law that took money from one person in order to give it to another person.
    Restoring Parental Responsibility for Education, by Marshall Fritz, The Freeman, Jul 1996
    Diffferentiates between "public" and "private" schools, arguing against calls for adding "market dynamics" to the former and pointing out lack of parental responsibility as the culprit for the lack of success in tax-funded schools
    What if, from the beginning of the government-school era in the 1830s and 1840s, we had referred to the two types of schools as "tax-funded schools" and "parent-or-charity-funded schools" (hereinafter shortened to "parent-funded")? One thing for sure: as "tax-funded schools" became the mess they are today, we would dismiss anyone who said he had a wonderful way to extend tax-funding to parent-funded schools. We'd see right through clever names such as "charter" and "voucher" and wonder why authors of such plans would risk the ruination of parent-funded schools by sneaking tax-funding into them.
    Revisiting a Libertarian Classic: Nock's Our Enemy, the State, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Mar 2006
    Examines some of the major themes of Nock's Our Enemy, the State (1935)
    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, Jun 1894
    Account of Ricardo's final years, as a Member of Parliament for Portarlington, discussing his actions and speeches on matters of general and economic policy; published in two parts (June and Sept. 1894 issues); quotes are from Hansard
    '... [Ricardo] said ... 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, criticizing 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
    [I]f you want to spare lives, bombard your representatives with letters urging them to end the war now. 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 [the majority], 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 ... 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. What had Uncle Sugar done for me? ..."
    Robert Nozick, Philosopher of Liberty, by Roderick T. Long, The Freeman, Sep 2002
    Focuses mainly on Nozick's contributions in Anarchy, State, and Utopia (page references are to 1974 edition), with brief reference to his later works and his death earlier in 2002
    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 (p. 169). 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; given that context, showing that taxation is "on a par with forced labor" is a decisive argument against the justice of taxation.
    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; examines tax resistance in colonial America up to the Jefferson presidency
    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 rallying cause against taxation by the Crown was at first a confused concept in the minds of most Americans. The colonists first argued that internal taxes, like stamp taxes, were bad, but external taxes, like import taxes, would be acceptable.
    Roots Of Economic Understanding, by F. A. Harper, Ideas on Liberty, 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. Only thereafter, for the remainder of the year, are you free to work for yourself.
    The Sanctity of Private Property, Part 1, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, Aug 1990
    Contrasts, using a Christian religious context, the attitudes of 19th century and earlier Americans with respect to economic liberties (such as income taxation and occupational licensure) with those of later Americans
    The Americans who lived from 1787 to 1913 believed that the fruits of their earnings belonged to God, not Caesar ... [T]hey did not permit their public officials to levy a tax on their income ... The Supreme Court ... declared the income tax in violation of the Constitution ... Public officials complied with the ruling but immediately began persuading the American people to alter their Constitution to permit such a tax. The arguments which the politicians used were evil and seductive. First, they argued that only the rich would be taxed; the poor and middle class need never be concerned.
    Selections from Lao-tzu (Laozi): Tao Te Ching (Daode-jing), by Lǎozǐ
    Thirty-seven translated excerpts from the Dào Dé Jīng, unidentified as to chapter or source [however, the translator appears to be professor A. Charles Muller at]
    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. [from Chapter 75]
    Related Topics: Government, War
    Socialism and Medicine, Part 3, by William L. Anderson, Freedom Daily, Jul 2008
    Further examination of medical care in the United States, analyzing the calls for "mandates" for universal health care
    Writes physician Jane Orient,
    ... In Canada ... socialized medicine is a reality of everyday life ... People with low incomes may pay as little as $300 a year through their taxes whether they like it or not. Those in the upper-income category may pay as much as $22,000 for the same low-quality insurance policy ... Can you think of any other product that you have to pay for according to your income? When you buy a car, does the dealer look at your tax return and say, "Well, this car is going to be ten times as much for you as it is for me"? It's a great way to redistribute the wealth.
    The Social Security Fraud, by Sheldon Richman, Sep 2001
    Discusses comments made by Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill indicating that the Social Security Trust Fund has no tangible assets and the response from Rep. Charlie Rangel
    Social Security propagandists ... have tried to make the American people believe the system was like any private-sector pension program. They called taxes—i.e., forced exactions under threat of imprisonment—"contributions" and conjured up the phony-baloney trust fund. They wanted us to think that the money we "contribute" is put away for us individually, ... invested so that when we retire we can draw a return on our money. Nonsense! There can't be a return: our money is consumed ... All the politicians really promise is that when we retire they will tax someone else and give that money to us.
    Related Topic: Social Security Tax
    Society Without A State, by Murray N. Rothbard, 28 Dec 1974
    Paper delivered before the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, Washington, DC; published in The Libertarian Forum, Volume VII, No. 1, January 1975
    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 (a) through the voluntary sale of goods and services to consumers on the market, or (b) through voluntary gifts or donations by members or other donors ... [O]nly the State can confiscate my property or put me in jail if I do not pay its tax-tribute.
    Related Topics: Anarchism, Law, The State
    Speaking to Nonlibertarians, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 11 Jul 2014
    Suggests an approach by which libertarians can try to persuade others of the undesirability of government-provided services and the benefits of free markets
    [P]eople's attraction to government-provided social services is not the problem (they believe they pay for them through taxes) ... [G]overnment provision is a bad way to secure a good end ... [I]t is morally wrong because it requires compulsion—the threat of physical violence—starting with taxation ... [Most nonlibertarians] see government as a vast mutual-aid society (even if they are unfamiliar with that term): You pay your dues (taxes) and you draw benefits when you qualify under the various programs. If you don't pay your dues, you are penalized because you agreed to pay them.
    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
    Civil society ... is a trading society ... 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 Supreme Court Repeals the Constitution, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Sep 2005
    Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. City of New London (2005), with emphasis on the dissenting opinions of O'Connor and Thomas
    The city argued that, since the new businesses will produce increased tax revenue and jobs, the takings will benefit the public, even if it won't directly use the land. In other words, governments should be able to take property from its owners if other ... owners will put it to better uses. How is that to be determined? Primarily by the amount of tax revenue expected from the alternative uses ... This is a scary principle. As O'Connor wrote, "[Who] among us can say she already makes the most productive or attractive possible use of her property? The specter of condemnation hangs over all property."
    Taxation Is Robbery, by Frank Chodorov, Out of Step, 1962
    Chapter XXII, previously published in 1947 as a Human Events pamphlet; 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 ... 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 ... The conquering Romans introduced the idea that what they collected from subject peoples was merely just payment for maintaining "law and order." ... [T]he Norman conquerors collected catch-as-catch-can tribute from the English ...
    Tax Cuts Are Unfair? It Just Ain't So!, by David Kelley, The Freeman, Jul 1999
    Discusses Republican proposals for a 10% cut in income-tax rates, countering arguments made by opponents
    First, a tax cut does not confer a "benefit" on taxpayers, as if the money belonged to the government, which was generously conferring gifts ... If you follow that ... to its logical conclusion, all income belongs to the state, and any tax rate below 100 percent constitutes a gift ... It is the taxpayers who earn the income by producing it; it belongs to them. A portion is taken in taxes, and when government lowers the tax rate it is simply refraining from taking as much as it used to. The second point is that the wealthy save the most from a lower tax rate because they pay the most in taxes.
    Related Topics: Entrepreneurship, Ayn Rand
    Tax Day, by Murray N. 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
    The first great lesson to learn about taxation is that taxation is simply robbery. No more and no less. For what is "robbery"? Robbery is the taking of a man's property by the use of violence or the threat thereof, and therefore without the victim's consent ... [D]oes 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
    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 imposing 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 [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.
    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
    5. I'm confused about taxes. Should they be higher or lower?
    a) Higher. Government is a great benefit to the people ...
    b) The size of government is about right, but it could be better managed and some waste can be cut.
    c) Lower. 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, The Goal Is Freedom, 11 May 2007
    Reviews law professor Calvin H. Johnson's "The Panda's Thumb: The Modest and Mercantilist Original Meaning of the Commerce Clause", William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, Vol 13, Issue 1, October 2004
    Unfortunately, ... 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."
    Thinking about Foreign Policy, by Sheldon Richman, Freedom Daily, Dec 2006
    Analyzes why most people, even libertarians, tend to think about foreign policy as if it were decided upon by "the people" or at least with their interests in mind, rather than the "ruling elite" and its desire "to preserve and augment its own power"
    In brief, government may exploit people under the authority of the law. The most basic power is the power to tax, without which no other power could be exercised. The power to coercively extract wealth from a population immediately sets up two groups: the taxpayers and the tax consumers ... [A]lthough 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. (It doesn't matter that the tax collectors may believe the objectives are good ...)
    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
    10. Rep. John Linder ... Lead sponsor of the "Fair Tax," which would abolish the income tax, eliminate the IRS and create a consumption tax ...
    6. Sen. John Sununu ... Ran for office on the issue of Social Security reform and championed legislation for reform through personal retirement accounts ...
    4. Sen. Jon Kyl ... Sponsor of bills to make the Bush income, dividend and capital gains tax cuts permanent and to abolish the death tax ...
    2. 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
    UpdThe Top 25 Liberty Songs, by Bill Winter, Libertarian Party News, Aug 2001
    List of 25 "Liberty's Best Songs" chosen from over 200 suggestions, each with a short summary and highlighted lyrics, and a supplementary list of 25 runners-up
    ["Taxman"] highlights in a funny way the lengths that government will go to tax people. It also conveys quite well the attitude many politicians have—namely, that our money is theirs and we should be happy that they let us keep any of it. The lyrics ... by George Harrison, make a wonderfully libertarian point about taxes: "If you drive a car, I'll tax the street / If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat / If you get too cold, I'll tax your heat / If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet." And don't miss the last line: "I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman / and you're working for no one but me."
    The Ultimate Tax Cut, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Freedom Daily, 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 through monetary inflation, and asks a fundamental question regarding the role of government
    From the founding of the United States through the early part of the 20th century, with a few exceptions (e.g., the Civil War), Americans lived without income taxation, the federal government being funded primarily by tariffs and excise taxes. Americans were free to keep everything they earned and decide what to do with their money. There was no IRS and no one had to file income-tax returns ... Why did our American ancestors oppose income taxation? Because they had discovered an important point: People cannot be free in a society in which the government has the power to levy taxes on income.
    Related Topics: Business, Government, Inflation
    Uncle Sam's Retirement Scam, by Doug Bandow, The Freeman, Jan 2002
    Examines alternatives to deal with funding the Social Security "Ponzi scheme", from raising FICA taxes, using general tax revenues, reducing benefits, engaging in an "orgy of borrowing" or allowing people to invest privately
    The dollars collected by the Social Security (FICA) tax were originally real assets. But the government has spent them ... Don't worry about the meaningless trust fund, [economist Paul Krugman] writes. Just use general tax revenues to pay the bill ... But the taxes won't be cheap. The annual deficit will rise from $93 billion in 2020 to $271 billion in 2030 ... in today's dollars ... Social Security actuaries warn that doing nothing now will require doubling the system's "cost rate," essentially, the tax rate, by 2031, when the last of the boomers reach the usual retirement age.
    Related Topic: Social Security Tax
    Washington Logic, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Sep 2006
    Comments on the perverted logic used in Washington politics, as evidenced by lobbying for and against import tariffs
    To think like this, you have to see tariffs (which, remember, are taxes on imports) as affecting only companies and the U.S. Treasury. So if an American company successfully lobbies Congress for a tariff, that company and the Treasury win, and the foreign-based competitor loses. If the tariff is removed, the first company and the Treasury lose, while the foreign-based company enjoys what the Post calls a "tax break." The Treasury in this view is equated with the taxpayers, which is like equating a thief with his victim ... Get that? The taxpayers lose when tariffs are suspended.
    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, United States, Wages
    What's Wrong with Public Schools?, by Sheldon Richman, Separating School & State, 1994
    Excerpt from chapter 2 of Separating School & State (1994), published online on 25 March 2005
    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 ... 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 ... [I]n 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 criticizes the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasizing some issues and prioritizing 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. The power of the markets would increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of our health care system enormously.
    Woodstock May Have Saved Sen. McCain's Life, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Nov 2007
    Critiques John McCain's comment regarding Hillary Clinton's proposal for taxpayer funding of a Woodstock festival museum
    John McCain scored a standing ovation at the last ... debate when he attacked Sen. Hillary Clinton for proposing—unsuccessfully—to spend a million taxpayer dollars on a museum commemorating the 1969 Woodstock festival ... Had McCain simply attacked Clinton's attempt at pork-barrel spending—the museum is set to open next year in Bethel, New York—that would have been fine (although McCain, too, has some pork-barreling on his record). Taxpayers shouldn't be forced to support any kind of museum. But McCain had much more on his mind than presidential ambition and protection of the taxpayers.
    Related Topic: Vietnam War
    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 scientist can create enormous value by publishing a breakthrough paper even if he never captures a penny of it ... A risk-taking entrepreneur can both create and capture value by bringing a new product or service to market, charging willing customers top dollar ... 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.
    Your Money or Your Life: Tackling Rising Costs in Health Care, by David J. Theroux, 19 Jan 1984
    Discusses the trend of rising healh care costs and attributes it to regulation, particularly licensing, and the proliferation of third-party payers, both Medicare and Medicaid as well as group insurance plans
    Employers and employees prefer health insurance to direct compensation because insurance can be written off as a tax-deductible business expense. For low-income individuals, a dollar spent by an employer to purchase health insurance is worth nearly 50 percent more than if it were paid directly to an employee for purchase of insurance ... H. E. Frech, economics professor ..., believes elimination of the tax-deductible status ... would do away with most over-insurance while real general reductions in corporate and individual taxes would offset reduced benefits.


    UpdThe Nightmare of the New Deal, Part 1, by George Leef, Freedom Daily, 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 ... 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 Alliance Story: An Interview With Marshall Fritz, by Marshall Fritz, Tammy Drennan
    Topics include how Fritz came to his views, why he thinks government schools cannot be reformed, charter schools, various objections to turning education to the free market and the effects of state/school separation on taxes, the economy and "the church"
    MF: ... Competition, innovation and unity of purpose between parent and teacher can bring the cost of schooling down by 50% to 75% of today's government schools. Separation will allow a 300 billion dollar tax cut. This means two-thirds of the population can afford tuition and will have 200 billion dollars left over ... When Americans discovered in 1946 that they were no longer fighting World War II, they demanded and got the largest tax cut in history. When we discover the government isn't running the schools anymore, we can demand and get the next largest tax cut in history.
    America's Most Dangerous Politician, by Gary Johnson, Michael W. Lynch, Reason, Jan 2001
    Topics discussed include: drugs, why he stopped smoking marijuana, drug legalization, school vouchers, charter schools, road building and tax cuts
    Johnson: ... We have reduced taxes ... More significantly, before my taking office there was never a set of six years in the state of New Mexico where not a single tax had gone up ... I cut taxes to the tune of about $123 million on an annual basis ... But any citizen in the state would be hard pressed to tell you what any of those were. Every single year, I have advocated significant income tax reduction, and I will continue to do so. It's significant that we've had no tax increases in New Mexico since I've been governor. It has never happened before.
    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
    Milton Friedman: ... [F]rom 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 ... its main advantage ... would be to end this business of changing the whole tax system every few years ...
    Chris Hedges on Reporting on War—And Paying For It, by Lew Rockwell, Bill Moyers, NOW with Bill Moyers, 7 Mar 2003
    Conducted two weeks before the invasion of Iraq; topics include: the economy, the budget deficit and national debt, inflation, Republican vs. Democrat presidents, tax cuts, war spending, World War II and the depression, Sadam Hussein and unemployment
    ROCKWELL: ... I'm all for tax cuts. I think ... 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 [Bush is] expanding the government at the rate that he is, at a huge rate, to talk about tax cuts it seems to me ... is irresponsible. Probably the most destructive way to fund the federal government is through inflation through the Federal Reserve. So actually I hate to say taxes are better than that, but yes taxes are less economically destructive than inflation.
    Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?, by Lew Rockwell, Kenny Johnsson, 25 May 2007
    Interview by Kenny Johnsson for the short-lived "The Liberal Post" blog; topics discussed include libertarianism, statism, war, elections, taxes, anarchism and the U.S. Constitution
    Rockwell: The tax reform game is an old one. The idea is to tell people that taxes can be made simpler, easier, less intrusive, less distortive, less onerous ... [T]axing 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 asks for a key to the front door so that he won't have to break in, 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.
    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
    Region: Have you any observations on current levels and types of taxation compared with your day?
    Smith: 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
    Buchanan: ... 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 ... spending program for your district 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
    HESS: ... 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.
    An Interview with Michael Badnarik, by Michael Badnarik, R. W. Bradford, Liberty, Aug 2004
    Badnarik answers questions ranging from basic biographical information to his classes on the Constitution, and in a follow-up, his responses to Fox News, his taxes, zip codes, Gary Nolan and Aaron Russo
    Liberty: I've heard stories that you're into some kind of rightwing constitutional antitax activities.
    Badnarik: It's not right wing. We the people ordained and established the Constitution ... The government has not been responsive to the people. If the IRS is planning to collect taxes they have to determine how those taxes are valid, how you become liable for those taxes. Americans across the [U.S.] have been asking the IRS how do I determine whether or not I am valid and how much tax I am valid for. And the Department of Justice and the IRS have continuously refused to answer those questions.
    Related Topics: Iraq War, Libertarian Party
    Takings Exception: An Interview with Richard Epstein, by Richard Epstein, Steve Chapman, Reason, Apr 1995
    Interview topics include libertarian ideas, Epstein's book Takings, the public housing and inner city issues, and civil rights laws
    Epstein: 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 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
    Famous art inspired by taxes, by Thaves, Frank and Ernest, 16 Apr 2017
    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are hurting ..., by Mike Thompson, 20 Sep 2008
    The government can just take some of my money—for no reason?!, by Aaron McGruder, The Boondocks, 7 Oct 2007
    Related Topic: Government
    Hand over your money!, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 15 Apr 2012
    Making the robots pay income taxes, by Thaves, Frank and Ernest, 26 Apr 2015
    March Madness, by Gary Varvel, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Mar 2006
    A new simplified tax code, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 16 Apr 2018
    I am Robbing Hood, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 22 Aug 2007
    Tax auditor's second job as a chef, by Thaves, Frank and Ernest, 8 Oct 2017
    Tax Holiday, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 18 Apr 2017
    Tax terms, by Thaves, Frank and Ernest, 12 Apr 2020
    That puts you at the 33% bracket ..., by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 31 Oct 2014
    You stole money to pay taxes?, 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
    Partial contents: Taxes: What They Are and Where They Began - The Kaleidoscopic Romans - Russia, Switzerland, Spain, and Germany - The Ancien Regime - After Magna Carta - The Rocky Road of Early American Taxation - The Monster That Laid the Golden Egg
    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
    Contents: The Tyranny of British Taxation, 1764-1776 - The Tyranny of Federalist Taxes, 1791-1799 - The Tyranny of the Tariff, 1828-1861 - The Tyranny of the Revenuers, 1865-1900 - The Tyranny of the Income Tax, 1913-199?
    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


    How Could I Live Without Filing Taxes?, by Carla Howell
    A song about the "joys" of tax preparation, includes links for MP3 audio and lyrics
    Carla Howell is offering free distribution of How Could I Live Without Filing Taxes? for radio broadcast. Anyone may send or swap a digital audio copy of the March 2001 release version of her song posted below, play it on-air, or post it to another web site free of charge per the Copyright terms below.


    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

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

    The Spirit of '43, by Walt Disney (producer), 7 Jan 1943
    World War II propaganda cartoon showing how the United States military industrial complex needs income taxation to subsist; starring Donald Duck as the average American worker on payday
    Thrifty personality duck: I've got some better dates.
    Narrator: Important ones too, when every American should pay his or her income tax, gladly and proudly. This year, thanks to Hitler and Hirohito, taxes are higher than ever before. Will you have enough money on hand to meet your payments when they called you? ...
    Well, now what are you going to do? Spend for the Axis, or save for taxes? Just remember, every dollar you spend for something you don't need is a dollar spent to help the Axis. That's right, and every dollar you sock away for taxes is another dollar to sock the Axis.

    We're the Government -- and You're Not: A Presentation of the U.S. Department of Homeland Propaganda, by David McElroy, 26 Jan 2007
    So lesson number one is: pay your taxes and be thankful that we let you keep any of your money.
    Related Topic: Government

    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 17 Jan 2023, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.