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Morality of tax fraud and welfare fraud

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mordecai
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...cheat on your taxes?

The way I see it, obstructing the looters can in no way be immoral. If I don't say to the mugger that I have a gold watch too after he's taken my wallet, am I an immoral liar? I think not.

...fraud the government in order to receive welfare?

When the police and justice system isn't capable of obtaining my rightful propery, I take it upon myself to do so. If my car gets stolen, and I find it parked outside a house, and the police will do nothing, am I not within my rights to steal it back?

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...cheat on your taxes?

[...]

...fraud the government in order to receive welfare?

[...]

It may be moral in certain contexts, but it is also illegal. Doing illegal acts exposes you to the possibility that force will be used against you. That is a fact that should be given careful consideration.

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I think that one of the things that needs to be considered is whether the fiscal value of services accepted by you is greater than that money which you are hiding

this isn't because of some bizarre utilitarian calculas, this is because any monies/services you accept above what has been taken from you is stolen goods

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OG is incorrect. No matter what 'service' a thief provides with stolen goods, it is not justification to pay him what he demands - or to pay him anything. No matter what values an initiator of force returns to the victim, those values do not justify the force, nor do they require ANYTHING from the victim.

As to the original question, mordecai is correct in identifying the govt as an initiator of force. He is correct in comparing it to a looter or a mugger. Mordecai then identifies fraud as an appropriate response to an initiator of force. Fraud (lying, cheating, etc) is simply another form of force. As such it may be used as an initiation of force or it may be used as a defense against force. in the examples provided, fraud is used as a defense against force, and is thus completely moral.

Now, regardless of the above, Betsy is correct. Whether the fraud is moral or not, if the initiatior of force discovers the lie or the cheating, the victim may face even more initiations of force. As she says, this is something the victim must weigh very carefully before trying to deceive the initiator.

(Oh - and Betsy - hi! Welcome to the forum.)

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Say you don't pay your taxes and they try to take your house. What if you stayed in your house and defended it. If they came in and and tryed to take you away, would you be justified in shooting them?

It would be no less immoral then shooting a mugger in self-defense, would it not?

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OG is incorrect. No matter what 'service' a thief provides with stolen goods, it is not justification to pay him what he demands - or to pay him anything. No matter what values an initiator of force returns to the victim, those values do not justify the force, nor do they require ANYTHING from the victim.

RC, my point wasn't that the individual "owes" anything to the government, but rather that in cases where the acceptance of the value is optional, (such as whether or not to accept a welfare check, or a subsidy) the acceptance of the value would only constitute a moral breach if it was greater than what one had had taken from him. Up until that point it is recovering your own property. Beyond that point it is taking someone elses stolen property.

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OG, there is no way to determine whether the stolen goods offered by the thief is worth more than what he stole from you, and all the costs incured by you because he initiated force against you; there is enormous loss by the very act of the initiation of force against you--much more than the face value of what he had stolen! What you should take into consideration is not the price of the stolen goods offered to you compared to the price of the goods stolen from you.

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As an aside, I wonder how the IRS would respond to someone who refused to pay taxes on a moral basis. I would bet money that if you made under $100K a year, they would let you get away with it.

They call you a "tax protestor" and squash you with the full force they can muster. Their goal is to make an example of such people, regardless of how much money they can squeeze out.

If you want to cheat on your taxes, pick any other means! :lol:

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"in cases where the acceptance of the value is optional, (such as whether or not to accept a welfare check, or a subsidy) the acceptance of the value would only constitute a moral breach if it was greater than what one had had taken from him."

If one were talking about a thief, this MIGHT be true. But since we are talking about a SYSTEMATIC appropriation of one's property and one's right to property over the course of one's entire life and in ways too numerous to even identify, it is simply not true.

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If one were talking about a thief, this MIGHT be true RC
In your opinion what conditions would need to be there to make it true???

But since we are talking about a SYSTEMATIC appropriation of one's property and one's right to property over the course of one's entire life and in ways too numerous to even identify, it is simply not true.

A) what is the significance in terms of epistomology that would make a Systematic appropriation more difficult to trace?? It seems it would make it easier to figure out (or get a rough estimate) since all tax laws are recorded and accessible.

:lol: The welfare recipient with a car and some employment does pay taxes (gas taxes sin taxes, sales taxes etc) does that mean he is ethically allowed to take the money from the government because he can not be sure how much exactly he has taken and received from the government, of course not.

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A - Identifying things stolen by a theif or burglar is HARDER to identify than the amount of funds stolen from ALL forms of taxes, ALL forms of regulations, and ALL other initiations of force initiated by govt over your ENTIRE life?

I cannot call such an assertion anything but absurd.

B - So long as the welfare recipient does not advocate a right to the wealth of others, he is indeed ethically allowed to take the money.

Your "of course not" is not an argument against this position.

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A - Identifying things stolen by a theif or burglar is HARDER to identify than the amount of funds stolen from ALL forms of taxes, ALL forms of regulations, and ALL other initiations of force initiated by govt over your ENTIRE life?
I suppose you mean by Harder=effort expended? The other factor is comptency required. The government makes no effort to hide what it takes, in fact it is mandated to make it apparent what will be taken.

B - So long as the welfare recipient does not advocate a right to the wealth of others, he is indeed ethically allowed to take the money.

On what grounds?

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A - You are the one who stated the level of 'difficulty' was an issue - and that this 'difficulty' pertained to the identification of what is stolen. You claimed it is MORE difficult to identify what a theif takes in one instance of theft than it is to identify what a government takes in the course of one's entire life.

As I stated this is an absurd claim on the face of it. It is LESS difficult to identify what is stolen by a thief than what is stolen by govt through your entire life.

You ALSO claim that govt makes no effort to hide what it takes. With this you are referencing JUST taxes. In other words, you CHANGED the context I EXPLICITLY stated.

NOT a logical tactic there.

Even in the case of taxes though, you have NO idea how much is taken from you by govt. NONW . ZIP. ZERO.

Since YOU claim it should be easy to do, PLEASE tell me how much the govt takes from you when you buy a pint of milk. In other words, I would like you to state the cost of milk with govt taxes, what that cost would be without govt taxes, and then identify the difference between the two.

I am telling you right here and right now that such a task is IMPOSSSIBLE. You CANNOT do it. And if you cannot do it with just a pint of milk, you are CERTAINLY not going to be able to do it with everything you do and buy over the course of a day - let alone the course of an ENTIRE lifetime. (Read "I, Pencil" for an idea of WHY it is impossible to determine how much govt theft costs you in just a pint of milk.)

And THAT tally doesn't even include the cost the govt places upon everyone with regulations and all the other initiations of force a govt engages in over the course of your lifetime.

As I stated, it is ABSURD to claim one CAN identify these things - let alone claim it is LESS difficult to do these things than to identify what is stolen by a thief in one instance of theft.

B - on the grounds which have already been stated - ie that the govt, over the course of his life, will take from this man far more than can even be calculated. So to get back whatever he can from this systematic theft is perfectly proper.

Read Rand's "A Question of Scholarship" (I believe that is the title) for more info if you need it.

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In Atlas Shrugged, Ragnar Danneskjold took back from the government the equivalent of what the government had taken from the country's top producers in income taxes, because income tax is an intrusion whose total is simple enough to measure and because it is taken directly from the producers' pockets. Other taxes are much more complex and not taken directly from what the producers simply possess.

What is stolen via income taxes may be easier to identify than what is stolen by a common thief. What government takes via all its methods together is enormously complex and very difficult to calculate.

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You ALSO claim that govt makes no effort to hide what it takes. With this you are referencing JUST taxes. In other words, you CHANGED the context I EXPLICITLY stated.

I didnt mean to change your context. I was just referencing taxes and other direct and intentional confiscations of value. (as I thought you were) I recognize that some value is lost by the government in the mere taking and processing and distribution of property as well as other less tangible effects, and supppose I will have to go research that essay to be better informed

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"I didnt mean to change your context. I was just referencing taxes and other direct and intentional confiscations of value."

That is why I specifically and explicitly stated:

"Identifying things stolen by a theif or burglar is HARDER to identify than the amount of funds stolen from ALL forms of taxes, ALL forms of regulations, and ALL other initiations of force initiated by govt over your ENTIRE life?"

However, EVEN if you limited your calculations to JUST taxation, then your statement is still in error. Refering back to my 'pint of milk' example, even if you were limited to ONLY determining how much taxes were involved in its cost, you STILL would be unable to identify that amount.

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Refering back to my 'pint of milk' example, even if you were limited to ONLY determining how much taxes were involved in its cost, you STILL would be unable to identify that amount.

Allowing, for the moment, that the EXACT amount is unobtainable, It seems that it is still possible to determine whether the actual dollar amount I am accepting from government entities is greater than the dollar amount that they collect.

For instance, if I Dance for quarters in the street and obtain enough money each day to buy 1 pint of milk for $1.00, even if I assume that 99.9999999999999 percent of the dollar was from taxes along the way, then the 365 dollars I pay in taxes each year will not equal the amount of stolen dollars I accept from the government if I am receiving direct welfare from them..

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You've just changed the example you provided. But no matter. For you to say that you can determine how much you will lose in money taken from you by govt, you are claiming not only to know what they are taking out NOW, but also ALL they have taken out in the past, AND all that they will take out in the future.

NOT POSSIBLE.

Also, your example contradicts the premise I laid out. If you are capable of dancing in the streets, then you are capable of working at McD's or the like. Collecting welfare in place of that is advocating your right to work as a street performer at the expense of others.

And then, when you throw in ALL the other forms of initiation of force (some which I mentioned, others which I did not), there is ABSOLUTELY no way for you to determine how much wealth is going to be stolen from you, nor what wealth you will be prevented from earning, all because of govt initiation of force.

As such, your assertion is simply INVALID.

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Sadly, I work at the Tax Collector's office this summer. I answer phones. I deal in real estate and car tags. I am telling all of you right now, PAY YOUR TAXES!! They can and will take your house and/or car from you if you do not pay your taxes. You can try to evade, but eventually, you will get caught. The longer it takes you to get caught, the worse off you are because then the more you will owe. There have been people who have had their house taken from them because they didnt pay off $38 dollars or less in property taxes. PAY YOUR TAXES. Until we have the proper form of government at hand, please, please, pay your taxes.

Just thought I would warn those who would try to not pay on a moral basis. It is still the law, and if you are breaking the law, they still have the power to make you see those consequences.

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The difference between pragmatism and moralism huh?

You could always earn an honest living, not pay your taxes and then see everything you've ever done taken and destroyed by the tax collector acting on behalf of 'legitimacy'.

No thanks, but it does beg the question of whether its worth participating (at least so opaquely as a picket fence property) in the system full stop? If you've paid a mortgage off, dont pay your taxes and dont use any form of welfare, specifically declaring your moral inclinations and yet you still loose all is the contract that makes that house yours worth anything?

Time to rip up the contract me thinks. The social one at least.

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