“No taxation without representation.’
According to Wikipedia, it’s a slogan originating during the 1750s and 1760s that summarized a primary grievance of the British colonists in the Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution.
In short, many in those colonies believed that as they were not directly represented in the distant British Parliament, any laws it passed taxing the colonists (such as the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act) were illegal under the Bill of Rights 1689, and were a denial of their rights as Englishmen.
In fundamental terms, it’s not so different from today. The surface issues are different—e.g., the players, such as the British monarchy and the American colonists.
But the principle is not.
Now, as then, the principle involves the right of the individual.
The only real right of the individual is to be left free from force. The British monarchy was forcing its subjects to pay for government activities against their will—often against their own interests.
In twenty-first century America, it’s the same issue.
Half the population is forced to pay income taxes. Half do not. Everyone has at least potential access to the goods and services paid for by half the population—government schools, government medical care—but those services are (by definition) utilized primarily by the half who do not pay income taxes, capital gains taxes, corporate taxes and the higher amount of payroll taxes.
Even with the ‘entitlement’ programs, Medicare and Social Security, those who make more money pay more into those systems. Yet increasingly, Republicans and Democrats agree, that in order to ‘save’ these long-since bankrupt programs, those who make more money (and paid more in) will be subject to fewer benefits (i.e., pay higher premiums for Medicare) in the future.
How popular Medicare and Social Security will remain once people reach old age and discover they’re not entitled to them, precisely because they paid more into them, remains to be seen.
This is not justice. It’s not practical and sustainable, either.
A government cannot operate as a Robin Hood or a Santa Claus. These are mythologies that are taught to children, because children—while not as stupid as many assume—tend to be trusting and to believe what their elders tell them.
The extent to which that mindset carries over into adulthood is the extent to which, as adults, they can be fooled. But nobody will be fooled forever. Inevitably, reality and facts come crashing in on both foolers and fooled.
Today (if you’re reading this April 15), it’s taxation day for those who do pay taxes. Taxpayers should keep in mind the basic principle, more than what they pay in taxes or expect to be ‘paid back.’ There is no ‘being paid back’ if (1) you paid nothing to begin with, or (2) if the money you are being paid back was taken forcibly from you.
The government is not doing you any favors. The only favor government has to offer you is to respect private property and the right of individuals—all individuals, including yourself—to be free from force or fraud.
I recognize that it’s tempting, for some, to say, ‘Well, I want more than that from my government. I want some help with my tuition, my car payments, my mortgage, my medical care, my chldren’s schooling, and whatever else Congress deems fitting.’ OK, then. But in saying this, you cannot evade the fact that you’re authorizing your government to initiate force against others to give you these things. If you think that government is morally justified in forcing others to give you things—pretty much, without limit—then by the same token, you must authorize government to seize whatever you have, from the greater income you hope to someday make.
You might be thinking, ‘Well, I don’t care. I don’t have anything now. That’s why I want these government programs, so I can get out there and make something for myself.’ Let’s say you do that. Let’s say you’re successful. Are you prepared, then, to have government take more and more of it—with huge tax rates as government tries to control its spiraling debt, one without parallel in human history.
What goes around, comes around. There’s nothing magical or mystical about it. It’s simply a fact. It’s the justice in the nature of reality itself.
You who support your government in its initiation of force against others, in the name of making your own life better, are signing up for the same thing yourself, down the road.
The American Revolution has come full circle, and we’re back where we started. Originally, it was colonists being taxed for the sake of the British monarchy. Today, it’s some citizens being taxed for the alleged sake of helping others, others subject to the same tyranny down the road when and if they make their own living.
I don’t know whether Americans of today or the near future will ever rebel like the original Americans did. But I do know, it cannot and will not go on, not indefinitely. People might never admit their errors, but they will pay for them just the same.
Happy Taxation Day!
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