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Immigrants and taxes

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I ousted this over on Harry Binswanger’s board to get a critique of this response that I have written to my friend. Was curious what Objectivists here think about this response. Below, I will summarize what Mr. Binswanger said in reply. To see his actual post you will have to sign up at his website, which I highly recommend. 


A conflict of rights?

I wrote this as a response to a friend. I am wanting to know if my response is coherent or flawed.

There is no conflict between the immigrant and the taxpayer.

One man is paying taxes that go towards welfare. Immigrants are coming over, which allows certain policies to drive up the cost of taxes paid to accommodate the potential need for the added members that would come from immigrants coming over and receiving welfare. The man paying taxes has the right to keep his property, in this case his money, yet the immigrant has the right to his freedom, that is, the ability to go where his work is in demand and where he can commence in voluntary trade. In this case the immigrant does not want to be a part of the welfare system. He is a dreamer and wants to create his own wealth. Yet, he is part of a group that by coming over increases the taxes that are imposed upon the man who opposes the welfare tax.

In this case, it is my contention that there is no infringement upon the taxpayers’ rights due to the immigrant who wants to come and trade. However, there is an infringement of rights that directly come from the state that is taking your money without regard to your life.

The ends (in this case keeping taxes low) do not justify the means (overriding the right to a person’s life). Paying more in welfare tax is not caused by immigration. Paying more taxes is caused by the idea that man must be supported by the collective in order to live. This is furthermore supported by the idea that taking someone else’s money through taxation is justified because it is good that we all share in our wealth to make a better society. Both of these ideas are contradictory, irrational, and evil.

The solution is not to maintain your rights by violating the rights of someone else. This is a contradiction and is sanctioning the principle that the ends justify the means, as well as the principle that one can have one’s cake and eat it too. You do not have the right to property at the expense of another person’s right to freedom and a person does not have the right to freedom at the expense of your right to property.

The problem in this case is the arbiter of means. Let’s reverse this role. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot.

What if every immigrant were taxed every time a person obtained property. Let’s say that the justification is that property is so expensive that in order to obtain it, you need a bit of stimulus from the collective wealth of immigrants. However, the property is substandard and can barely be said to raise a flourishing family.

The problem is that the more people who want property, the more the immigrants will have to be taxed in order to support the growing demand to have property. What if most property owners believe that this is a great idea? They are ok to live in substandard property and they live off the support of the immigrants. However, you come along and are a contractor with the ability to have the property well above the standard property allotted apart from the assistance of the immigrant stimulus. You want to exercise your right to your own property that you earn by the work of your hand.

The immigrant, though, as more and more people are ok with substandard property, gets upset because as the demand for property increases, so does the tax upon the immigrants. They insist that you are not allowed to obtain property at all, not even substandard property, because they have reached their limit with the amount that is already coming out of their taxes. They insist that you are part of the group that is ok living off of the stimulus and will only add to the problem.

In this case it would seem that you will note that your right to your property is not one that is given to you, but is derived from your existence as a human being and that no one should be able to stop you from doing what you have the right to do simply because of the destructive policies of the group that imposes the taxes.

The solution cannot ever be rights at the expense of rights. The fight must happen with those imposing the polices and those that are directly taking away your rights.

Secondarily, if this is the fight that you want to make (however irrational it might be), it would be better aimed at children being born and going into the public school system. The more children the greater need for more eduction taxes. Education taxation is greater than welfare taxation so if one were to want to act in accordance with one’s idea, you would be better off stopping children from going to school than the immigrant from entering into the States, since a higher percentage of your state tax goes towards eduction over taxes that come from welfare. In this case you might begin to look at the womb as the border and the public school system as the land by which the child will embark upon. In this case it would make more sense, according to this type of thinking, to ban all children wanting to enter this public school system through the womb and stop them before your education taxes are raised even higher that they were before.  

However, this is irrational and we must return and fight the fight where the battle is actually happening. We must oppose those who are the initiators of force and not those who want to live their life.


This is my summary of his response to me. He used examples to strengthen his post.  


The two points then from your response are, 

1. The immigrants actually produce more than what they pay in, furthermore, they not only produce more but by the very nature of the mindset of the producer and the parasite they will produce more.

2. One shouldn’t look at taxes as growing larger or lesser due to any specific demand, rather look at it as a large withdrawal from the American people to go towards whatever fancies the political whim at any given time, driven by the need for votes. 

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