“Throughout men’s history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, whose names changed, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, and deprived of honor. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers—as industrialists.”-Ayn Rand.
Frank Chodorov tells us that thousands of years back, when Rehoboam’s tax collector Hadoram set out to collect his revenues, Israelites met him with all their might. Stones were thrown upon him that he had to die. History tells us that power and authority were always opposed when first imposed, though the opposition did wear off in course of time. How do we fare up with the ancient Israelites? When did we learn to praise the power hungry as ‘aristocrats of the bureau’? When did our perceptions get so muddled, mind so feeble and soul utterly devoid of self-respect that a biblical story is needed to remind us of our folly?
Wealth is goods made by man. Wealth as such doesn’t exist simply on earth. It doesn’t simply grow on trees. It is not absorbed from the atmosphere. Wealth ought to be produced, and it is produced by individuals. It is man who creates the character of goods as wealth. What is produced by individuals rightly belong to them. Nobody else can have a rightful claim on it. To say that someone other than the producer can have a claim on wealth would mean that it belongs to the person who hasn’t produced it, but not to the producer. Nothing can be more ridiculous than such a claim.
If wealth produced by a person belongs to him, it should be obvious that taxation is robbery. Taking the produce of another person is definitely robbery .I do not think I have to point out that robbery is evil and immoral. What is shocking is that most people don’t see taxation for what it is. They fail to realize that to tax is to rob. Of all the nonsensical notions held by man, the most ridiculous is that taxation is voluntary. If taxation is voluntary, why is it conducted at the point of a gun? If it is not possible for one to evade the payment of taxes, then by what code of logic is it voluntary?
People are so used to the practice of taxation that they are unable to think of a world without it. They are unable to think logically and realize how monstrous it is to rob Peter to pay Paul. When it is pointed out that taxation is robbery, statists argue that we get goods and services in return for the taxes that we pay. They totally miss the point. Why not let the people keep their money and have them spend it on whatever goods and services they consider necessary? Why forcefully extort money from them? Is it possible for the government to provide services to people according to their contribution of tax money? If it is possible to do so, what is the whole point of it?
Implicit in the notion of taxation is the belief that wealth should be redistributed. Taxation redistributes wealth in a reckless fashion. Most people are of the opinion that wealth should be distributed fairly so that the poor would be taken of. There are several problems with this notion. No matter what ones need is, a person doesn’t have a rightful claim to the wealth produced by another person. The notion of redistribution as a fair practice takes wealth as a given. They naively believe that wealth would be produced no matter what policy the government adopts. They fail to realize that taxation reduces the incentives for both the producer and parasite to produce. Why should a person work if sustainability is guaranteed to him? Why should he educate his child at his expense if education is provided free of cost? Why should he pay for health care if it is free for all? While it is true that all do not depend on government for these services, it should be taken in account that a vast majority of people become parasites given a chance.
Another fallacy regarding taxation is that the money taxed out of the private industry is spent on the public sector. However, the government doesn’t spend the money just as the tax payer would have spent it. If government spends just as the tax payer would have spent it, the Government would have no excuse to step in and tax.
When people hold that taxation helps the poor, the notion which lies underneath is that people would keep on producing wealth no matter what government does to their wealth. When government taxes a significant part of the income of individuals, businessmen would not be able to expand production. It reduces incentives to take risks. Would anyone take a lottery if he has to divide the prize among those who hadn’t paid for it? Taxation also reduces the wage rates received. Wages are dependent on productivity of labor, which in turn depends on the capital invested. It is taxation which tampers with capital accumulation and reduces the lives of the vast majority of the population to poverty.