Is tax theft?

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2ndRateMind
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Is tax theft?

Post #1

Post by 2ndRateMind »

So, this tends to come up from time to time, when arguing social issues. So I thought we might discuss it some, and see if we can't arrive at an understanding.

To kick off, in democratic nation states, the people vote for the government flavour, and therefore tax regime, they want. They have a say in the matter, unlike having your wallet stolen by a thug with a knife in a street-mugging. I think we need be clear on the difference between the two. If you don't like the tax regime, you can peacefully advocate a different one, or vote for it, or campaign and demonstrate, or stand for office, depending on how committed to the cause you are.

My contention, therefore, is that tax is not theft, merely a civil duty, and one that allows an advanced society to function, from which we all benefit. However irksome that duty may sometimes seem.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #11

Post by 2ndRateMind »

[Replying to post 10 by bluethread]
bluethread wrote:
... to do so would undermine the economy of this website, just as redistributive taxation undermines the economy of these United States. That said, as with the federal government, if one truly believes in redistributive economics, one is free to donate ...
Interesting. In what way, do you think, does the redistributive succour of the poor undermine an economy? And why is it that compulsory redistributive taxation undermines an economy, but voluntary redistributive philanthropy does not?

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #12

Post by Bust Nak »

[Replying to post 10 by bluethread]

There is no economy here, token is not a sacred resources, we are given token by otseng so that ananlogy falls flat. As for the point of the topic, taxation is just a fee for the benefits of living in a certain location. Government is not redistributing your money, it's spending its own revenue. No different from any other transaction, the government have something you want, you either pay the asking price, or go without.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #13

Post by 2ndRateMind »

2ndRateMind wrote: [Replying to post 10 by bluethread]
bluethread wrote:
... to do so would undermine the economy of this website, just as redistributive taxation undermines the economy of these United States. That said, as with the federal government, if one truly believes in redistributive economics, one is free to donate ...
Interesting. In what way, do you think, does the redistributive succour of the poor undermine an economy? And why is it that compulsory redistributive taxation undermines an economy, but voluntary redistributive philanthropy does not?

Best wishes, 2RM.
So, no answers forthcoming. So I guess that the egalitarian redistribution of the world's wealth has no respectable, academic objection.

The situation is clear: I want no one poor, but bluethread does, as if people were made for economies, not economies for people.

Best wishes, 2RM.

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Post #14

Post by micatala »

2ndRateMind wrote: Interestingly, the libertarian and American political philosopher Robert Nozick* (1974) thinks that tax is not just theft, but (part time) slavery. He arrives at this surprising conclusion by a simple calculation. If I earn $X0,000 per year, work 5 days a week, and pay 20% tax, then on (say) Mondays, I am not working for myself and my own benefit, but being forced to work for the government. Being forced to work for someone else, he contends, is how slavery is defined.

I wonder what you all make of this thinking?

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*Nozick, R. (1999) Anarchy, State, and Utopia, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers Ltd.

If the government is in some way representative and you implicitly consent to living under it without compulsion and you benefit from what the taxes pay for then to call this slavery is rather ridiculous. If we were not allowed to make any use of any of the things that the 20% or whatever goes to pay for than Nozick might have a point.
" . . . the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart . . . ." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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Post #15

Post by 2ndRateMind »

micatala wrote:

If the government is in some way representative and you implicitly consent to living under it without compulsion and you benefit from what the taxes pay for then to call this slavery is rather ridiculous. If we were not allowed to make any use of any of the things that the 20% or whatever goes to pay for th(e)n Nozick might have a point.
Yes, I think this is the correct way to rebut Nozick.

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Post #16

Post by JoeyKnothead »

While it may be fair to consider taxes a theft, it's also fair to consider folks who avoid paying 'em guilty of a theft of their own.
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Post #17

Post by 2ndRateMind »

[Replying to post 16 by JoeyKnothead]

I admire the sentiment, just not the logic. If tax is theft, avoiding or evading tax is righting a wrong. Only if tax is not theft does tax avoidance or evasion become immoral. You need to choose, tax is theft or not theft, I think.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #18

Post by nobspeople »

2ndRateMind wrote: Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:51 am So, this tends to come up from time to time, when arguing social issues. So I thought we might discuss it some, and see if we can't arrive at an understanding.

To kick off, in democratic nation states, the people vote for the government flavour, and therefore tax regime, they want. They have a say in the matter, unlike having your wallet stolen by a thug with a knife in a street-mugging. I think we need be clear on the difference between the two. If you don't like the tax regime, you can peacefully advocate a different one, or vote for it, or campaign and demonstrate, or stand for office, depending on how committed to the cause you are.

My contention, therefore, is that tax is not theft, merely a civil duty, and one that allows an advanced society to function, from which we all benefit. However irksome that duty may sometimes seem.

Best wishes, 2RM.
I don't think of tax as theft, so long as it 'marketed' (for lack of a better term) appropriately, people understand where their money is being spent, and it's both gathered and spent responsibly (ie for public uses, not for some peoples' vacations).
Have a great, potentially godless, day!

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #19

Post by Purple Knight »

2ndRateMind wrote: Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:51 amTo kick off, in democratic nation states, the people vote for the government flavour, and therefore tax regime, they want. They have a say in the matter, unlike having your wallet stolen by a thug with a knife in a street-mugging.
The Libertarian case is that the ultra-rich effectively don't have that say because they're always outvoted. They didn't consent, so it's theft.

They're right, but only definitionally, and only with the precise definition they want.

This is the way Libertarians win every argument: Definitionally. They define immoral as aggression (necessary and sufficient), and they define theft as a type of aggression because it's not been consented to individually. (They will also be quick to say, well yes, that thing is immoral, but it shouldn't be illegal; only aggression should be illegal.)

A better question is whether a non-consensual thing may be moral, and there are many examples, such as taking a child to the dentist, punishing or restraining a murderer, or painting your house an ugly colour (to which your neighbours don't consent). Since there is at least one example of a non-consensual thing being morally permissible, we now have a question of whether any particular example is immoral or whether it is permissible.

Libertarians want to live in the safety of a society (which realistically can't be funded without taxation) and they want to take the moral high ground by claiming taxes are robbing them and therefore evil. They want people who steal from them punished and they imagine that in anarchy, this will happen. They don't really believe this, however, as not one of them looked at Somalia and shouted, "Oh boy, a capitalist paradise! I'm moving there immediately!"

Libertarians are all about shaming others by using the moral high ground. And that's it.

The reality is that they only idealise anarchy to make us feel like we're aggressing against them and therefore we're evil and they're victims. They don't want anarchy because they don't go toward it. They want victimhood. Sometimes people who have grievances really are victims, but it's not as though the mantra of the political right can't be true. Some people absolutely do cry and whine and scream that they're victimised not to get fair reparation but to get stuff they don't deserve, and Libertarians are the perfect example.

Just FYI, the preceding is an example of an ad hominem argument. I do not believe ad hominem should be a fallacy. This is a perfect example: If you have proof someone is disingenuous (Libertarians not really wanting to live in anarchy) then you absolutely ought to be able to use that to make a case against what they're saying, especially if it is a moral argument. Disingenuous people should absolutely not have the benefit of the doubt when they spew unfounded moral edicts.

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Re: Is tax theft?

Post #20

Post by 2ndRateMind »

Purple Knight wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 5:42 pm
2ndRateMind wrote: Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:51 amTo kick off, in democratic nation states, the people vote for the government flavour, and therefore tax regime, they want. They have a say in the matter, unlike having your wallet stolen by a thug with a knife in a street-mugging.
The Libertarian case is that the ultra-rich effectively don't have that say because they're always outvoted. They didn't consent, so it's theft.
I can't honestly say my heart bleeds for the said ultra-rich! They seem perfectly capable of looking after themselves.

As for consent, it's all the wannabe ultra-rich that gives them their democratic leverage.

Best wishes, 2RM
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