Thursday, 12 March 2009

Taxation is Evil - Maybe a Necessary Evil, but Certainly an Evil


Taxation forcibly deprives an individual of their property. If the right to property is recognised, then taxation can only be considered a breach of an individuals rights.

Simply, taxation forces people to pay for things that they would otherwise not choose to pay for. If a person was willing, then they would freely pay with out the duress associated with taxation.


The argument for taxation runs that there are a number of things that people would be prepared to pay for, but only if everyone else pays too. Accordingly these items are funded through taxation, the only people being 'inconvenienced' by this being those who would have been prepared to 'freeload' (get a benefit from the spending, without, themselves, contributing).


While taxations main benefit may be to prevent freeloading, there arguments can be made as to the level of payment each individual should make towards a spending-in-common.

The obviously equitable answer is payment according to benefit received.

However in the interest of a societies identity, it generally seems accepted that tax funded benefits should generally be available to everyone in that society. This raises the question of how to handle the situation where someone cannot afford to pay for the level of benefit that they are receiving.

The main option here would appear to be between lowering the level of benefit received by an individual according to the contribution they made vs subsidising the provision of the benefit/service to that individual.

Abuse of Taxation

Once a society have agreed what 'spending in common' they are happy to support, the equitable distribution of the tax bills to cover that spending needs to be decided - with a blank canvas an obvious approach might be proportional to the benefit received and the ability to pay. However it has proved popular to distribute the tax-bills on other basis too including:-
  • Taxing of 'bad' things
  • Taxing of luxuries
  • Taxing of 'bad' behaviour
  • Taxing of excess wealth
These tend to give a gloss of 'moral' justification to the taxation, and in those who benefit from the spending without incurring the additional taxation it may appeal to the 'freeloader' in them.

Over time the 'moral' justification has led to an apparent separation of taxation and spending - and people have sometimes come to support taxation of things they don't like as a punitive measure against those who do like/consume those things, with no regard as to what the additional money raised is for.

This sad, immoral state of affairs needs to be recognised and addressed.

To be free, people need to understand what is happening to them.

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