Poll: Taxation is theft

queencitybuckeye Senior Member
8,068 posts 112 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 2:25 PM
posted by BoatShoes

"The Only Defense" is you know - the revolutionary political idea that gave birth to the liberal republican governments in the western world that generated unparalleled liberty and prosperity! 

The first law firm I became a partner at was founded in the 1890's and it's original partnership agreement - with amendments - continued on from its founding. Do I not assent to the original terms that remain in said partnership agreement when I accept a franchise from the same? Do I like it if I don't get to eat everything that I kill and that some of it is shared? Perhaps not - but in any case - I accepted those terms - even if I did so begrudgingly and believing it could be different or better. Nevertheless, it is not "theft" because the terms of the partnership agreement are not ideal. 

The Constitution is the same as an old private, partnership agreement that we all receive interests in by virtue of being born on land covered by said agreement. That is to say that the covenants in the Constitution run with the land and jurisdiction that is the United States. Posterity receives the franchise at birth - just like new partners may receive a share of an old partnership - and is free to accept, amend or abolish those terms. 

Even if you want to abolish the terms - you still begrudgingly assent to the terms when accept the rights and protections and benefits conferred onto you by the Constitution. If you enjoy the blessing of liberty conferred by the Constitution you're manifesting your assent to its terms - even if you think the terms could be better. 

 

Nonsense. You entered into your agreement with the firm voluntarily. I accepted nothing as those who were here before me are not "owners". Or if we must use your terrible non-analogy, I was BORN a partner in this firm, Scooter.

 

Zunardo Senior Member
815 posts 13 reps Joined Nov 2010
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 2:50 PM

Back in the day the colonists said, "No taxation without representation".  Therefore, they were agreeable that taxation was proper, provided they had duly-elected representatives, and did not view it as theft - either before or after defeating the British.  Correct?

8,788 posts 21 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 3:12 PM
posted by Zunardo

Back in the day the colonists said, "No taxation without representation".  Therefore, they were agreeable that taxation was proper, provided they had duly-elected representatives, and did not view it as theft - either before or after defeating the British.  Correct?

Noooo.

They did not want taxation and voiced their opposition that they did not have any voice or say so in the manner. If they had a voice, they would have voted no taxes at all. 

 

I get the annoyance with the federal income tax. If you can find a better way to pay for the U.S Military, I am all ears. 

Property taxes goes more into the local community, is that right? So, if you are pissed about that, shouldn't that be more of a local community issue, at the most the state? 

 

queencitybuckeye Senior Member
8,068 posts 112 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 3:17 PM
posted by ptown_trojans_1

I get the annoyance with the federal income tax. If you can find a better way to pay for the U.S Military, I am all ears. 

Start by using the military for its intended purpose, and only via the channels provided for by the constitution. We have no business in a bunch of places, and certainly none as a decade-long occupier without a declaration of war.

IOW, it's not a revenue issue, or at least it shouldn't be.

 

gut Senior Member
18,369 posts 93 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 3:17 PM
posted by ptown_trojans_1

I get the annoyance with the federal income tax. If you can find a better way to pay for the U.S Military, I am all ears. 

Boatshoes would say we just print the money and the cost would be free.

But, technically, if the govt printed money instead of taxing then the hidden tax would be much higher inflation.  Boat thinks inflation is dead, and so it would be free for the govt to print and spend however much money it desired.

 

justincredible Honorable Admin
37,969 posts 201 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 3:21 PM
posted by ptown_trojans_1

Noooo.

They did not want taxation and voiced their opposition that they did not have any voice or say so in the manner. If they had a voice, they would have voted no taxes at all. 

 

I get the annoyance with the federal income tax. If you can find a better way to pay for the U.S Military, I am all ears. 

Property taxes goes more into the local community, is that right? So, if you are pissed about that, shouldn't that be more of a local community issue, at the most the state? 

 

Yes, property taxes are a local issue. Mine went up over $500 last year because city residents voted to throw money ($48 million, I believe) at a Pre-K program that I'm almost certain will not work.

gut Senior Member
18,369 posts 93 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 4:05 PM

I'm not sure real estate taxes can be defended, at all.  It's just another level of progressive taxation, because presumably a property owner is at least a little better off than a renter of a comparable property.  I think other reasons for it largely have to do with compliance and enforcement.

FatHobbit Senior Member
9,058 posts 68 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 5:29 PM
posted by justincredible

Yes, property taxes are a local issue. Mine went up over $500 last year because city residents voted to throw money ($48 million, I believe) at a Pre-K program that I'm almost certain will not work.

At least in Ohio, using property tax to fund schools has been declared unconstitutional. But the rich people who would complain get to send their kids to better schools so nobody does anything about it. 

fish82 Senior Member
4,402 posts 36 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 6:26 PM
posted by queencitybuckeye

Start by using the military for its intended purpose, and only via the channels provided for by the constitution. We have no business in a bunch of places, and certainly none as a decade-long occupier without a declaration of war.

IOW, it's not a revenue issue, or at least it shouldn't be.

 

Agreed. If we scaled the military to it's intended purpose, i.e. protecting us from guys trying to invade us, we'd be golden.

The problem is that Ike's prophecy was correct. The military is now so wired into the economy that any real cuts would do some significant damage there.

gut Senior Member
18,369 posts 93 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 6:49 PM
posted by fish82

The military is now so wired into the economy that any real cuts would do some significant damage there.

I hate that argument.  You don't rip off that bandaid.  You gradually reduce over a decade or more, even slower through attrition if you like.  The impact on the overall economy would be minimal.

I still laugh at what I think might be the one example of savvy politics in Washington the past decade - when Repubs struck that deal with the sequestration cuts, and Obama thought he played them because they'd never let those defense cuts stand.

O-Trap Chief Shenanigans Officer
18,909 posts 140 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 7:21 PM
posted by BoatShoes

"The Only Defense" is you know - the revolutionary political idea that gave birth to the liberal republican governments in the western world that generated unparalleled liberty and prosperity! 

You're conflating a defense with result.

First, the proliferation of variables that might be said to have gotten us to this point are almost certainly many enough that basing the arrival of our modern Western civilization entirely on taxation is obviously not defensible.

Aside from this, there's also no good way to compare our present circumstances to any knowable alternative.  We don't have the ability to look into any sort of "multiverse" example, so to assume that where we are now is necessarily better than where we might otherwise be if any other variables had been tweaked is not defensible either.

But frankly, even if there weren't a proliferation of variables preventing us from knowing that taxation was necessary to our current civilization ... and even if there was some means of knowing that our current civilization is necessarily better than the alternative ... you're still using the ends to justify the means, so there are honestly layers of problems with this attempt to justify extorting the plebs.

posted by BoatShoes

The first law firm I became a partner at was founded in the 1890's and it's original partnership agreement - with amendments - continued on from its founding. Do I not assent to the original terms that remain in said partnership agreement when I accept a franchise from the same? Do I like it if I don't get to eat everything that I kill and that some of it is shared? Perhaps not - but in any case - I accepted those terms - even if I did so begrudgingly and believing it could be different or better. Nevertheless, it is not "theft" because the terms of the partnership agreement are not ideal. 

Here's the distinction: "... but in any case - I accepted those terms ..."

That doesn't translate to taxation.  If you're born, it's too late to make a choice.  To become a law partner, each individual who might wish to do so accepts it on an individual basis.  You don't get a tap on the shoulder from one of the senior partners who informs you that you're going to be a partner whether you want to or not, and you're going to accept the terms whether you want to or not.

But let's assume that that DID happen.  The ONLY justification for it is that the law firm is still, at the end of the day, privately owned.  Whether it's owned by shareholders, a board of directors, a family, or even just one person, it's still privately owned.  That means that, ultimately, the owners are within their rights to run their own property that way.  The IRS, and the enforcement thereof, is not, and as such, there's no owner who insists that it's his, her, or their right to run it the way they see fit.
 

posted by BoatShoes

The Constitution is the same as an old private, partnership agreement that we all receive interests in by virtue of being born on land covered by said agreement. That is to say that the covenants in the Constitution run with the land and jurisdiction that is the United States. Posterity receives the franchise at birth - just like new partners may receive a share of an old partnership - and is free to accept, amend or abolish those terms. 

If I receive something by merely being born, that's a gift.  It's freely given, and as such, the transfer of it from one person's possession to mine is still consented.  And again, a new partner agrees to the terms before he's bound by them, so there's that pesky consent thing, again.

Inasmuch, this parallel still doesn't stand up, because in the example, consent is clearly present, whereas in regard to taxation (and the article outlining its permission in the Constitution), the majority of American people throughout history have been subject to it without consent (whether or not they would have otherwise given it).
 

posted by BoatShoes

Even if you want to abolish the terms - you still begrudgingly assent to the terms when accept the rights and protections and benefits conferred onto you by the Constitution. If you enjoy the blessing of liberty conferred by the Constitution you're manifesting your assent to its terms - even if you think the terms could be better. 

If I agree to the terms BECAUSE they're outlined in the Constitution, then you're right.  But I don't.  I can agree with some terms in any document and still disagree with others in that same document, just so long as my reason for agreeing with the former is more than just their presence IN said document.

This is demonstrated rather well by a close friend of mine who is a self-professed Marxist Communist (in his own words).  He enjoys the freedoms outlined in the First Amendment, and he would defend those freedoms' presence in the Bill of Rights, but he completely rejects the idea that the Second Amendment belongs in the Constitution at all, regardless of its interpretation.  The fact that he willingly accepts the protections of Amendment 1 doesn't require him to accept the presence of Amendment 2 in the document unless his justification for defending Amendment 1 is simply that it's present in the Constitution.  But he doesn't, and as such, he isn't bound to resign himself to agreeing to all the terms, simply because he agrees with some of them.
 

posted by Zunardo

Back in the day the colonists said, "No taxation without representation".  Therefore, they were agreeable that taxation was proper, provided they had duly-elected representatives, and did not view it as theft - either before or after defeating the British.  Correct?

 

As I understand it, no.  I mean, I doubt there was a total consensus on the matter at all, but from my understanding, they viewed taxes as being largely illegitimate, but they revolted because they had no governmental means of objecting to them.
 

posted by gut

I'm not sure real estate taxes can be defended, at all.  It's just another level of progressive taxation, because presumably a property owner is at least a little better off than a renter of a comparable property.  I think other reasons for it largely have to do with compliance and enforcement.

 

I'm sure that's the reason given.  I'd say sales tax is probably the same, though the concept of sales tax seems patently absurd as well, because the tax accrued from the sale of two products sold at the same price can be completely different depending on the number of times it's been sold between manufacture and whatever the final sale.
 

posted by fish82

The problem is that Ike's prophecy was correct. The military is now so wired into the economy that any real cuts would do some significant damage there.

Frankly, what ha predicted (which has come to fruition) scares me more than any social program.  I object to both, but the former seems like a much larger problem, both as a budget item and as something able to be dealt with.

 

thavoice Senior Member
15,437 posts 41 reps Joined Nov 2009
Thu, Apr 26, 2018 10:33 PM
posted by queencitybuckeye

Not to nitpick, because it really isn't, but "country" != "government". Not by a long shot.

Very good point. I did mean...government.

 

BoatShoes Senior Member
5,991 posts 23 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, Apr 27, 2018 1:57 AM
posted by queencitybuckeye

Nonsense. You entered into your agreement with the firm voluntarily. I accepted nothing as those who were here before me are not "owners". Or if we must use your terrible non-analogy, I was BORN a partner in this firm, Scooter.

I received shares in my families business entities in northern Ohio when I was born. I currently disagree with some of the things my Uncle does as the president of said entities as opposed to paying more profits out as dividends to shareholders. Yet, I retain my stock that I inherited and do not alienate it. Do the uses of revenue that I disagree with constitute theft? No - it's ultimately a begrudging acceptance because I have the liberty to dispose of my interest. 

The same goes for citizens of the United States. No one is forcing you to keep your franchise that you inherited. The United States is ranked only 12th in the world in Economic Freedom. Switzerland is currently ranked number 4, has strong firearm rights, English is a popular language and it has more immigrants than any other country in the Western world. 

These facts indicate a clear begrudging acceptance to the terms of the U.S. Constitution. 

In any case I do think it would worthwhile to the cause of civic virtue to demand explicit manifestations of consent to the laws of the united states so we'd never again have to hear libertarians make the same arguments about the state stealing from them that communists make about capitalists and move on to figuring out what types and how much taxation are appropriate. 

 

BoatShoes Senior Member
5,991 posts 23 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, Apr 27, 2018 2:08 AM
posted by gut

Boatshoes would say we just print the money and the cost would be free.

But, technically, if the govt printed money instead of taxing then the hidden tax would be much higher inflation.  Boat thinks inflation is dead, and so it would be free for the govt to print and spend however much money it desired.

Sigh. I have ALWAYS SAID that the limit on the government's ability to spend its own currency is inflation and I've said that it's not me that thinks inflation is dead but the free market - as evidenced by an unprecedented increases in the supply of base money and government securities and yet the federal reserve still fails to hit its inflation target. 

I've never said the government's ability to issue securities and spend its currency into the economy is unlimited. It is limited by inflation. Now show me the evidence that even as we cut taxes massively and flood the economy with more currency and treasury securities that there is any imminent threat of harm from higher inflation? Oh wait, as I write this, the 5-year forward inflation expectation rate is 2.25% and the Fed is already itching to raise rates showing incredible readiness and ability to head off any accelerating inflation. 

IOW - no "hidden inflation tax" expected by the free market despite massive Trump deficits, spending and tax cuts following years of massive Obama deficits and unprecedented increases in the money supply by the Fed. The markets aren't perfect but let's hear why you know better than the free market. 

 

BoatShoes Senior Member
5,991 posts 23 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, Apr 27, 2018 2:15 AM
posted by gut

I'm not sure real estate taxes can be defended, at all.  It's just another level of progressive taxation, because presumably a property owner is at least a little better off than a renter of a comparable property.  I think other reasons for it largely have to do with compliance and enforcement.

Property Taxes are some of the most defensible of all taxes because the people of the states replaced the monarchy as the holder of the right to escheat. That is to say that all titles to land are issued by the state. Nobody created land with the fruit of their labor - God created land. Accordingly, it is the prerogative of the popular sovereign to place a levy on the value of land if it so chooses. Whether that is a good choice as a matter of public policy is a different matter. 

But as a matter of whether or not "taxation is theft" it can't reasonably argued that a tax on the value of land, title to which ultimately was issued by the state, could possibly be theft when no human created any land with fruit of his labor. 

A tax on the value of improvements to land - however - is a different matter. 

Thus, it's my belief that we could avoid any claim that "taxation is theft" if we followed the geo-libertarian/georgist principle of only levying taxes on the value of unimproved land without taxing the value of improvements or the fruits of labor. 

 

BoatShoes Senior Member
5,991 posts 23 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, Apr 27, 2018 2:17 AM
posted by Spock

To me the idea that we are taxed for about 40 things is unconstitutional.  

Bad public policy maybe but not Unconstitutional. Congress clearly has the power to tax. Whether and what to tax X is wise or not is a different issue and a political question. 

 

BoatShoes Senior Member
5,991 posts 23 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, Apr 27, 2018 2:33 AM
posted by justincredible

My main gripe with taxation is income and property tax. You basically do not own the fruits of your labor, you're just leasing them from the government, and you can never actually own your home/land. We can argue back and forth about the necessary levels of taxation, but I will never be convinced that these two forms of taxation are anything other than pure theft and have no place in a free society.

I agree with you on taxing "income" - I disagree with you regard to land (but not the improvements you make to your property). Nobody created land with the fruit of their labor. All land was created by nature and we have replaced monarchs with the popular sovereign which governs over the lands of the earth. Necessarily, as was true in the United States, all title to land for exclusive private use must necessarily come from the popular sovereign first and the popular sovereign retains contingent reversionary interests or at least the right to escheat should the owner of land title have no heirs - just like the old kings did. Accordingly, it is just if the popular sovereign wants to charge a price for that private land title - just like it would be just for the owner/creator of intellectual property to charge a price for a license to exclusively use IP. 

As you suggest that same logic can't be applied to income or improvements to land which are the fruit of labor. 

Hence, the whole discussion of whether taxes on income in a republican government are morally equal to theft can be avoided by the geo-libertarian solution of taxing only the value of unimproved land. 

 

queencitybuckeye Senior Member
8,068 posts 112 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, Apr 27, 2018 6:17 AM
posted by BoatShoes

I received shares in my families business entities in northern Ohio when I was born. I currently disagree with some of the things my Uncle does as the president of said entities as opposed to paying more profits out as dividends to shareholders. Yet, I retain my stock that I inherited and do not alienate it. Do the uses of revenue that I disagree with constitute theft? No - it's ultimately a begrudging acceptance because I have the liberty to dispose of my interest. 

The same goes for citizens of the United States. No one is forcing you to keep your franchise that you inherited. The United States is ranked only 12th in the world in Economic Freedom. Switzerland is currently ranked number 4, has strong firearm rights, English is a popular language and it has more immigrants than any other country in the Western world. 

These facts indicate a clear begrudging acceptance to the terms of the U.S. Constitution. 

In any case I do think it would worthwhile to the cause of civic virtue to demand explicit manifestations of consent to the laws of the united states so we'd never again have to hear libertarians make the same arguments about the state stealing from them that communists make about capitalists and move on to figuring out what types and how much taxation are appropriate. 

 

Your arguments again are a textbook example of circular reasoning, that the government is legitimate because the document written to establish the government says that it's legitimate. It's nonsense of course, the only "legitimacy" comes from the ability and willingness of those in charge to use violence against people it has no moral or ethical right to rule. And you as a lawyer (supposedly) claim this to be a "contract".

The argument you make in your humblebrag about your family empire is again flawed by this absurd notion of legitimacy. You leaving your business interests behind is worlds apart from the idea of having to physically leave my home to escape threats from thugs. A better analogy is saying, "if you don't want to deal with the mafia, don't start a business in New York, go somewhere else".

BoatShoes Senior Member
5,991 posts 23 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, Apr 27, 2018 11:11 AM
posted by queencitybuckeye

Your arguments again are a textbook example of circular reasoning, that the government is legitimate because the document written to establish the government says that it's legitimate. It's nonsense of course, the only "legitimacy" comes from the ability and willingness of those in charge to use violence against people it has no moral or ethical right to rule. And you as a lawyer (supposedly) claim this to be a "contract".

The argument you make in your humblebrag about your family empire is again flawed by this absurd notion of legitimacy. You leaving your business interests behind is worlds apart from the idea of having to physically leave my home to escape threats from thugs. A better analogy is saying, "if you don't want to deal with the mafia, don't start a business in New York, go somewhere else".

1. I disagree that claim is circular. The foundational principle is simple - can a principal be bound by an agent? Yes. From there, can a principal manifest assent to the terms of a private agreement or association negotiated by such an agent through behavior or conduct? Yes i.e. does certain behavior such as freely accepting the benefits of an association constitute consent to the terms of that association? We would say yes if it were a private association and the same reasoning should apply to civic associations.

You might disagree with whether or not certain citizen conduct or behavior constitutes consent - and that's fine - but it's clearly not circular. 

A republican government is just one larger, civic example of the concept of principal-agency. If you're going to take the position that the particular principal-agency relationship that creates republican government does not constitute valid consent and thereby makes Republican Government illegitimate then be my guest! That goes to my original point in the meme thread.

As I intimated in the first meme that got this whole thing started - sure "taxation is theft" if the Constitution, Republican government and liberal representative democracy are illegitimate and cannot confer consent. 

Correct me if I'm wrong please but you indeed seem to be suggesting that the Constitution and such are indeed illegitimate as you disagree that they constitute valid methods through which the governed principals may confer consent to their agents? On that point I would disagree (and I think most people would save the most hardcore libertarians - none of whom seem to be trying to escape their slavery through underground railroads and mass protests and revolts for what it's worth).

But in any case if you're going o take the position that a Republican Government established by a Constitution such as ours is illegitimate and unjust and cannot confer consent then feel free - and, under that condition I would agree that taxation is morally equal to theft. 

I however agree with the canon of western liberal political philosophy that makes the case that a civil constitution and the incorporation of a commonwealth can be just as legitimate as a private constitution that incorporates a binding private association. 

 

2. There's no humblebrag. It's just a relevant example of how libertarians would perfectly agree that the inheritor of a franchise acts voluntarily and with consent when he refuses to alienate said franchise. You suggest inheriting an interest in a private association and assenting to its terms through behavior is "worlds apart" from inheriting an interest in a commonwealth and assenting to its terms through behavior. I disagree. Tell me why they're worlds apart? In fact I wouldn't be surprised if it'd be easier for you to emigrate to a nation with more economic freedom than the U.S. than it would be to sell my junk stock lol. 

 

3. I recall threads where you've made arguments that employees are free not to associate with their employers and sell their labor elsewhere if they don't like the terms that their employers offer. Interestingly enough, the Marxists make the same sort of claims with regard to employee relations with capitalists & private associations that you make with regard to citizen relations with the civic association we call the "state" e.g. "get extorted by the mafia or starve" etc. The libertarian says "I'm not free because I have to choose which civic association robs me of the fruit of my labor." The Marxist says "I'm not free because I have to choose which private association robs me of the fruit of my labor."

The real difference between Marxists and libertarians is who/what they improperly characterize as a thief that needs to be overthrown. At least the civic associations provide us with votes. 

With all of that tl;dr said - as a believer in the legitimacy of Republican government - there is more that could be done to make them more legitimate and respectful of libertarian concerns and values. For example, proportional representation that would allow for libertarian style parties to gain legitimate power would go along way toward making those with a libertarian conscience feel more represented in my humble opinion. 

 

queencitybuckeye Senior Member
8,068 posts 112 reps Joined Nov 2009
Fri, Apr 27, 2018 11:20 AM

Sorry, way too long. Not interested.

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