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istandwithrand
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Is Taxation Theft?
Apr 10th, 2017 at 1:16pm
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I am a moderate libertarian and I definitely agree that taxes should be minimized. But I saw a good video talking about the argument that taxation is theft. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aHlUI8jSLE Basically he saying that if taxation is theft, then why does the thief then give us a say (voting) in how the money is spent? I think he makes a valid point. What are your thoughts?
  
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SkyChief
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #1 - Apr 10th, 2017 at 2:43pm
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Welcome to the Forum.


THEFT (n):

the taking of the property of another or others without permission or right, especially secretly or by force:



If the government takes my wealth without my consent, by definition, Taxation is THEFT.

It really doesn't matter that the thief then give us a say (voting) in how the money is spent.

If a thief steals my 8-shot Smith & Wesson revolver, and then calls me up later and lets me suggest some people he should murder with it, does that somehow mitigate his theft of my revolver?
  
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Jeff
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #2 - Apr 10th, 2017 at 4:29pm
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istandwithrand wrote on Apr 10th, 2017 at 1:16pm:
I am a moderate libertarian and I definitely agree that taxes should be minimized. But I saw a good video talking about the argument that taxation is theft. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aHlUI8jSLE Basically he saying that if taxation is theft, then why does the thief then give us a say (voting) in how the money is spent? I think he makes a valid point. What are your thoughts?
You want courts and police and defense against foreign invasion and conquest? If you do, you must pay for them.
The "say" about how the government is permitted to spend our tax money is the law. They can't spend any of our taxes outside the law.

Taxing us to give our money to GE and Boeing and the UN and the IMF and the World Bank and bankrupt 'progressive' city and state governments etc. etc. etc. is most certainly theft and must be punished or it will not stop.

(I'm a moderate libertarian too! Smiley)
  
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The Opposition
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #3 - Apr 10th, 2017 at 10:42pm
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Let's examine what would happen if a regular person did the same thing. I steal your money then give you a small say in how it's used.

Yep.

Still theft.
  

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ahhell
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #4 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 12:19pm
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It is theft but some amount of theft is necessary to operate the government, which is necessary to have a civil society.   

As noted, if a guy points a gun at you and asked for you wallet but then says, "How much do you want to spend on buying me a new gun, dinner, shoes, vs my slush fund?" is that no longer theft?
  
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SkyChief
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #5 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 1:10pm
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ahhell wrote on Apr 11th, 2017 at 12:19pm:
It is theft but some amount of theft is necessary to operate the government, which is necessary to have a civil society.   

If this were true, how the heck did the Government function before Income Tax (theft) was invented?

(I already know the answer to this question, but I want you to research it to find out why your statement is absurd.)
  
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stevea
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #6 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 2:03pm
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SkyChief wrote on Apr 10th, 2017 at 2:43pm:
...


THEFT (n):

the taking of the property of another or others without permission or right, especially secretly or by force:


...


Bad definitions lead to invalid arguments.  Your definition was clearly incompetent; the phrase "especially secretly or by force" is self-contradictory.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theft

Quote:
a :  the act of stealing; specifically :  the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
b :  an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property


From the POV of statist law, there is nothing felonious or unlawful about taking by taxation.  This taking might violate some 'natural law' (I will not make that argument) - but the correct issue is - which law applies and why. Just b/c some individuals support state-law or natural-law, or religious law, or stevea's-law doesn't make it broadly valid.

Also note that theft and "stealing" specifically refers to "stealth"- surreptitious taking w/o force or confrontation.  "Robbery" is the correct term for the concept of confrontational taking by force.  "Taxes are robbery" is far closer to the actual meaning intended since confrontation & threats of force and not secret taking are involved.

--

My opinion is that Murray Rothbard was an extremist ideologue, a rather muddy-thinker, and a remarkably poor writer.  He was not stupid, and his ideas deserve to be examined, but he does not represent a conception of libertarianism that I can subscribe to.  According to Rothbard, parents have no obligation to feed or care for their children - if that isn't a rationality-defying ideology, then there is none.

--

As Jeff accurately described, IF you are a minarchist and believe that we need say police & courts - then someone must pay for it.  This idea runs smack into the 'free-rider' economic problem which suggests taxation is needed.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-rider_problem

Some ppl like David Friedman have suggested the use of private police & courts (therefore no taxation).  Although D.Friedman writes & thinks clearly, I don't think his attempts to construct a workable stateless system are very plausible.
  
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SkyChief
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #7 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 3:00pm
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stevea wrote on Apr 11th, 2017 at 2:03pm:
... IF you are a minarchist and believe that we need say police & courts - then someone must pay for it.  This idea runs smack into the 'free-rider' economic problem which suggests taxation is needed.

Gee, I wonder who paid for the Police (Marshall, Sheriff) and the Courts before Income Taxes were levied.

Actually, I don't wonder. I already know the answer.  I could tell you, but it wouldn't really sink in.

You'll retain the knowledge better if you research it for yourself.

The main thing to understand is that Income Taxes were never needed (or intended) to fund the government.  The government has never needed any funding from citizens in the form of Income Taxes.

Income Taxes were invented during the Civil War to fund ....  The Union Army and Navy!  NOT the government!

Income Taxes are a way for the government to get funding to pay for non-essential entitlement programs.  AS you probably know,  Democrats have managed to weaponize Income Taxes by auditing and denying 501-C exempt status to political groups they don't like. Many people should have gone to jail for these crimes, but it was all swept under the rug.

Ron Paul offers some common-sense reasons why we don't need Income Taxes:

“I want to abolish the income tax, but I don’t want to replace it with anything. About 45 percent of all federal revenue comes from the personal income tax. That means that about 55 percent — over half of all revenue — comes from other sources, like excise taxes, fees, and corporate taxes.
We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990s. We don’t need to “replace” the income tax at all. "
- Ron Paul

  
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Jeff
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #8 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 4:56pm
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SkyChief wrote on Apr 11th, 2017 at 3:00pm:
Gee, I wonder who paid for the Police (Marshall, Sheriff) and the Courts before Income Taxes were levied.


Other than the state and federal courts, all of that has always been paid for by local property taxes.

How ignorant are you?

Why do we need state courts? To make sure the local courts don't screw us.

How do we pay for state courts? Mostly by state 'income' taxes, since our state governments all seem to like the idea of wages and salaries being defined as 'incomes'.
  
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stevea
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Re: Is Taxation Theft?
Reply #9 - Apr 11th, 2017 at 6:12pm
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SkyChief wrote on Apr 11th, 2017 at 3:00pm:
Gee, I wonder who paid for the Police (Marshall, Sheriff) and the Courts before Income Taxes were levied.


I'll explain why you are silly-wrong, but it won't sink in.
No one said INCOME taxes !

Marshall - US Marshal service - part of the federal government, ultimately paid mostly by federal tariffs and excises (which consumers ultimately paid).
Sheriffs were local, paid a salary and often a percentage of local tax revenues.  I don't greatly care how those taxes were imposed - it's irrelevant to my point.

You comment has absolutely NOTHING to do with the free rider problems, nor does it explain anything relevant.  Total derail b/c you failed to read, understand or address the issue.

--

Quote:
The main thing to understand is that Income Taxes were never needed (or intended) to fund the government.  The government has never needed any funding from citizens in the form of Income Taxes.


I NEVER said income taxes - or maybe you can't read ?

Quote:
Income Taxes were invented during the Civil War to fund ....  The Union Army and Navy!  NOT the government!


Pretty defective reading of history.
Direct imcome taxes were discussed (not implemented) in 1812.
Yes, the revenue act of 1861 was abt civil war costs.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revenue_Act_of_1861
But the 16th amendment was clearly about funding government generally by income tax.

You were all loaded for bear on YOUR topic and failed to see that wasn't relevant here.

===

The free-rider problem is an economic problem that has to do with public goods.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-rider_problem
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good

For example it might be clear that everyone in town would benefit from draining the malaria swamp (the public good is the reduction in malaria) but that good costs money to accomplish, and everyone is equally protected whether they pay or not.

Most ppl classify a reasonable amount of police & courts as a public good.  Everyone is advantaged when the thief or murderer is apprehended and tried.

The most commonly suggested means of paying for these public goods is a tax [for the very slow-witted, note that I did *NOT* say INCOME TAX!].  It might be any form of tax, but ultimately the imposition of any tax involves forcible taking from someone.

Also note that this forcible taking impacts people throughout the community - not just the party who was taken from.   I might agree that personal income tax is among the least desirable forms, but taking when you transact (by sales tax or VAT) or taking by excise  is still a forcible taking that you partially pay for and has no better standing from a libertarian POV than any other tax.







  
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