The concept of taxation doesn’t survive these ten arguments.
By Perry Willis
I start with a simple assertion…
#1: Voluntary payments should replace taxation.
People then object that voluntary funding can’t provide enough money, so I say…
#2: The amount of government we have should be determined by what people want to fund, not by what politicians want to impose.
People respond that citizens don’t know how much money is needed and/or that people will expect others to provide the funding (the so-called “free rider problem” – see point 6 below). I respond…
#3: If people aren’t qualified to decide how much government we need then how can they decide which politicians are qualified to make those decisions for them?
This makes people pause and think. While they’re doing that I rush onto…
#4: I think taxes are impractical.
This turns the tables. We started out talking about why voluntary funding is (supposedly) impractical, but now we’re going to talk about why taxation is impractical. I start listing the reasons…
#5: Taxes are impractical because they permit and reward poor performance.
The government gets its money whether it performs well or not. And failed government programs are almost never terminated. Instead, they get bigger budgets.
#6: Taxes are impractical because of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs.
The people who get government contracts, subsidies, or other tax-funded benefits have a concentrated reason to lobby for their preservation and expansion. But the cost of any given program is spread among all taxpayers, providing little incentive to resist it.
This explains why Washington, DC is full of lobbyists working to increase spending rather than reduce it. This results in overspending.
So the real problem is NOT how to provide enough funding for government, it’s how to prevent politicians from spending too much. Voluntary funding would solve that problem.
#7: Taxation is impractical because your vote is powerless to control how politicians spend your money.
Your single vote will never decide any election. This means your vote has no power to change anything. But please notice…
#8: You have more power as a consumer than you do as a voter.
You can hire and fire major corporations all day long. And you don’t need majority approval to do it. Businesses have zero power to compel you to buy their product or service. Indeed, they must meet your needs to gain your business. Remember, the customer is always right! This is called consumer sovereignty.
If you replace taxation with voluntary funding then you’ll have the same power over the government that you currently have over businesses as a consumer. You’ll be able to pick and choose which government programs to fund, and in what amounts. That will bring consumer sovereignty to the political realm.
#9: Voluntary funding would give us consumer–controlled government.
We’ve had monarchies, direct democracies, republics, parliamentary systems, and various schemes to limit government through written constitutions. None of these experiments have prevented the waste, fraud, abuse, and oppression that taxation makes possible. By comparison, voluntary funding would give us something truly new in the world – consumer-controlled government.
This brings me to my concluding points…
#10: Taxes are not only impractical, they’re also immoral.
Taxation is an abstract word used to hide an ugly reality. Taxation is violence-based funding. Taxes force people to labor against their will to fund things other people want. In other words, taxes are fractional slavery. The work you do to pay taxes to fund things you don’t want is the fraction of your life that you live as a slave.
Bonus point: Taxes are the price we pay for NOT being civilized.
A civilized society would fund all of its operations through peaceful means. Only primitive uncivilized barbarians think violence is moral (or required) to fund things that have value.