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Don't Like Taxes?

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Mammon
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Ah, a long sanctimonious variant on the "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization" bullshit.

Alas I think taxes are a battle we aren't really ready for yet (though I think it is worth fighting for some reforms) as we first need to cut peoples' desire for all that superfluous government (parks, indeed!).

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The guy is crazy and dishonest. Individuals wouldn't have to pay for entire systems on their own in a system without taxes. No one person would pay for the army, courts, education, healthcare, police, roads, parks, bridges, etc in a non-tax system. The few things the government done could be funded through a roughly $20 a week donation (on average) from all or most people. The rest (roads, etc) would be privitised and paid for by shareholders in the service using the profits gained from all of the service's customers, ie, all road, bridge, park, healthcare, etc users, not just one user, so they would pay for just a small portion of the cost of the systems they use. And unlike the current system they would pay for only what they use, not what they don't. If he doesn't want to pay for other people's usage he should be arguing against tax systems, because they are the systems where he pays for other people's usage, not a non-tax system.

I acknowledge that he made many other errors, but I'd rather focus on those ones right now and let others approach them. I am not in the mood to address the others.

On a related note, I plan to write up a report on the benefits to New Zealand of it switching to laissez faire. Although it will focus on NZ (I only have the relevant good price, population, taxpayer, and tax take statostics for NZ), there will be a lot of generalities that apply to all countries due to the nature of the subject of the report. Also, due to the nature of the subject of the report it will be easy to extrapolate a lot for use in figuring out equivalencies for other countries. I will make it freely available online to download and redistribute. So, you can email the author of the article if you want a copy when it is done if you want. :dough:

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I only made it through half of that drivel.

This pissed me off.

but I’m not going to pay for a park or a bridge on my own, even if I could, because most of its benefits will go to thousands or even millions of people who mean nothing to me.

And they speak of O'ists being selfish in a derogatory manner. I would help pay for a park for the enjoyment of my community, especially if my government was prohibited from stealing more of my money than it needs.

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And they speak of O'ists being selfish in a derogatory manner. I would help pay for a park for the enjoyment of my community, ...
I don't plan to read the article, but that quote does not seem to imply that people must be forced to be altruistic. The implication is even worse: that people have to be forced to be selfish. The argument goes this way:

  • The park and bridge is good for me
  • If the government taxes me and builds a bridge or park, I get value for my taxes
  • This is something I would pay for on my own

The assumption behind that third statement is this: human beings are short-sighted and irrational when they act on their own; governments, run by the enlightened, know what is good for people, better than they themselves do.

Usually, what the guy really means to say is that other people make dumb choices, and people like him know what's best for the hoi polloi.

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I see his argument as going this way...

* Even if the park and bridge is good for me I'm not going to pay for it unless the government makes me.

* This is why we have governments, to force us do things that are good for us.

* So we need taxes to pay for things that are done for our own good.

*After re-reading your comment Darius I think we are in violent agreement, coming at the same conclusion from two different start points.

Edited by Zip
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By the tone of the article, the logical consequences go like this:

I will not pay for a grocery store/beauty shop/bowling alley/restaurant/movie theater because most of the benefits would go to thousands or even millions of people who mean nothing to me. Better let the government handle it

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The problem being against taxes is that, so far, nothing else has worked. "Voluntary" contributions along the lines of "private defense agencies" or anything of the sort are clearly not able to stamp out organized crime in the form of organized "government" (like say, the government of Iran). Only other tax-gathering corporations are able to fight and defeat tax-gathering corporations, on a long term basis. You could colapse a particular tax-gathering corporation without being one yourself, but another -will- pop up again, it's like bankrupting a company in a thriving market, it won't make any difference in the end. As I see it, the best alternative would be a focus on a land-tax, as the value of land is directly related to its protection, along with the freedom granted to those using it, and aggressive imperalism by said corporation.

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I don't plan to read the article, but that quote does not seem to imply that people must be forced to be altruistic. The implication is even worse: that people have to be forced to be selfish.

It's even worse than that: It says that people are naturally inclined to avoid acting for their own benefit if it might also benefit others. That we're all second-handers, measuring our own prosperity by how miserable we can make others.

I wouldn't be surprised if that turned out to be an accurate description of the author's mindset. He must be projecting his own premises on the rest of the people.

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The problem being against taxes is that, so far, nothing else has worked. "Voluntary" contributions along the lines of "private defense agencies" or anything of the sort are clearly not able to stamp out organized crime in the form of organized "government" (like say, the government of Iran). Only other tax-gathering corporations are able to fight and defeat tax-gathering corporations, on a long term basis.
You're asserting these things, but what is your argument or evidence for this position?
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You're asserting these things, but what is your argument or evidence for this position?

Can you show me an example of a "fee-colecting" agency defending it's territory or it's members against a tax-collecting agency, without the support of other tax-collection agencies? I cannot. They have certainly sprung up, but they have never triumphed. If you can make one triumph, go ahead. Once you do, I might hire you. Except you can't. Sometimes people say stupid things like "But the state has a monopoly on violence!". There is no such thing as a monopoly on violence, there is only success and failure. If an entity is crushed by another in this field, through violence, it is demonstrating it's lack of capacity to compete in the field. If a security company has it's headquarters occupied by the criminals they are supposed to guard against, they are clearly not a very good security company.

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Can you show me an example of a "fee-colecting" agency defending it's territory or it's members against a tax-collecting agency, without the support of other tax-collection agencies?
So, you're saying that since all governments have used taxes in history, that proves that taxes are the only thing that will work. I was just trying to understand your argument, not implying you were wrong. Edited by softwareNerd
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So, you're saying that since all governments have used taxes in history, that proves that taxes are the only thing that will work. I was just trying to understand your argument, not implying you were wrong.

I believe sometimes the term "tax" is overly broad. I take it to mean an essentially permanent fee (the legitimacy of charging this fee aside) that cannot be cancelled. Rent is an example, as you can only stop paying if you actually move out. Is rent charged by a feudal lord a "tax", in the rights violating sense of the word? I think it depends on how the man came to be a feudal lord. If a man beats his wife and rapes his daughter, is it wrong to kill him and take his farm from him? Since you are the one who did the work of riding the world of him, how much of the booty should you share with the wife and daughter, if any? After all, he does not have to commit a crime against -you- for you to determine that he does not deserve the right to property (or life). Is being a victim enough to entitle you to property? These are all important questions that are usually ignored by the simplistic "taxes are evil, I hate government" mentality.

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I believe sometimes the term "tax" is overly broad. I take it to mean an essentially permanent fee (the legitimacy of charging this fee aside) that cannot be cancelled. Rent is an example, as you can only stop paying if you actually move out. Is rent charged by a feudal lord a "tax", in the rights violating sense of the word? I think it depends on how the man came to be a feudal lord. If a man beats his wife and rapes his daughter, is it wrong to kill him and take his farm from him? Since you are the one who did the work of riding the world of him, how much of the booty should you share with the wife and daughter, if any? After all, he does not have to commit a crime against -you- for you to determine that he does not deserve the right to property (or life). Is being a victim enough to entitle you to property? These are all important questions that are usually ignored by the simplistic "taxes are evil, I hate government" mentality.

So might is right?

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How so?

I'm asking if the ability to impose taxes, the ability to enforce taxation makes it correct to do so.

Conversely is the innability to protect oneself from the imposition of taxes an acceptance of them or more importantly make the taxes justified?

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I'm asking if the ability to impose taxes, the ability to enforce taxation makes it correct to do so.

Conversely is the innability to protect oneself from the imposition of taxes an acceptance of them or more importantly make the taxes justified?

It makes it necessary to sustain one's life, which as I recall, is the standard of objectivist ethics. If no form of security can be had without taxation, then taxation is good. The good can never be impossible, or require abandoning one's life.

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simplistic "taxes are evil, I hate government" mentality.

I'm getting the vibe that you think Objectivism advocates anarchism. Objectivism does not advocate anarchism, but a voluntarily funded government whose sole function is rights violations protections (Police, Courts, Military).

Perhaps I'm wrong in this assessment, but I'm not finding a coherent thought process in your posts. They seem more like a stream of consciousness, rather than points that go to the heart of the issue. If you could be more specific, then you can expect more specific answers. At the very least, I'd like to recommend reading "Government Financing in a Free Society", from The Virtue of Selfishness, which would cover most of the arguments you would see here.

Edited by Chops
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I'm getting the vibe that you think Objectivism advocates anarchism.

I don't.

Objectivism does not advocate anarchism, but a voluntarily funded government

Depending on how you understand that, it is anarchism. I'll try and explain that bellow.

whose sole function is rights violations protections (Police, Courts, Military).

Sure.

Perhaps I'm wrong in this assessment, but I'm not finding a coherent thought process in your posts. They seem more like a stream of consciousness, rather than points that go to the heart of the issue. If you could be more specific, then you can expect more specific answers. At the very least, I'd like to recommend reading "Government Financing in a Free Society", from The Virtue of Selfishness, which would cover most of the arguments you would see here.

I've read it. As I recall, Rand gives the idea of a stamp tax used to certify mortgage contracts. Let's imagine you implement that. Unless you completely ignore the validity of contracts (voluntary agreements) that have no such stamp, and decide to violate them (commit an act of aggression), you will end up having to enforce them. To make it more concrete, let's use an example.

There is a house I want to buy and I need a mortgage. I go to your bank, but you tell me you do not work with the "government" stamp, and instead use a private company. I say, "Ok, I agree.". We sign the papers, you loan me the money, and I default. According to our contract, you have the right to evict me and confiscate the house. However, the contract is not stamped! So you call your private company who comes in and throws me out by force. I call the cops. Unless they recognize the legitimacy of the contract, they have to treat the private company as a criminal organization, and the bank as a co-conspirator.

That means, in reality, it is not a "voluntary tax", it is a monopoly fee (a tax) on the mortgage industry. If the cops do recognize the legitimacy of the contract, then the "government" is just a private agency competing in the mortgage contract enforcement market, and it would be suicide (financialy) for it to spend resources in areas that fall out of that narrow field.

Edited by andre_sanchez
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It makes it necessary to sustain one's life, which as I recall, is the standard of objectivist ethics. If no form of security can be had without taxation, then taxation is good. The good can never be impossible, or require abandoning one's life.

So if taxation can not guarantee that security then taxation is bad?

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What is your argument for this assertion being correct?

There are tax-collecting corporations (States) who protect rights fairly well, and life on earth is almost entirely under the domain of one or another of these corporations. There are no "fee-based" corporations who do the same. There have never been "fee-based" corporations who do the same. I'm not sure why, though I have some theories.

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So if taxation can not guarantee that security then taxation is bad?

Are you alive? Threats to your life do not come only from random serial-killers. Security is not a "yes/no" term, like life. You have a certain level of security as a canadian citizen, a level that is higher than most people in the world.

Living in Brazil, I remember not long ago when the PCC started a terror campaign. The PCC is basicaly a syndicate of criminal organizations and it basicaly started burning schools and buses, attacking police stations and all sorts of stuff like that. Most prisons revolted and the prisoners took innocent people hostage. Roads that would usualy be full of cars were empty, shops closed early, people left work early. It gave me a small level of understanding of the kind of terror the romans must have felt when they lost at Teutoburg and thought the germans would march over Rome. Their fears did not materialize for them on that occasion, but they were not unjustified.

Bad people cooperate. And people who are even worse than those bad people also cooperate. And those who are even worse than THEM also cooperate. If your life depends on the protection granted by one group of these bad people against another, if you cannot protect yourself otherwise, how can you say it is wrong for them to tax you? The process of sustaining life does not involve only the acquisition of food and shelter. You don't have to eat the same thing, or farm the same way, but unless you have a better way, or at least one where you are not likely to starve, it's not virtuous to abandon the way you have. The burden of proof, the risks and the rewards, are on you to prove that another way is possible. If you can do it, you will likely be the richest man on earth for a long time.

Also, do you see a contradiction in this assertion?

No. There is a difference between being taxed and being gassed, wouldn't you say?

Edited by andre_sanchez
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