Compulsory contributions demanded by governments from individuals and other entities
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Articles

Abolish the Income Tax and IRS, by Sheldon Richman, 28 Oct 2014
Comments on New York Times article about asset forfeiture by the IRS
"In the past, when advocates of big government called for an income tax, opponents warned that the government would become 'inquisitorial.' How right they were. The tax rationalized the creation of the inquisitorial Internal Revenue Service, which to carry out its nefarious work must have access to all of our personal financial information."
April Is the Cruelest Month, by Sheldon Richman, Apr 2001
Discusses the income tax and how government acts as a transfer machine from the majority to various interest groups, while keeping incumbent politicians in power
"Today the federal government takes a record amount of the people's income, more than 20 percent. ... In all the public discussion of the income tax, the key fact gets lost: it's your money. You work for it. You earn it. It's your property. Only you have a right to it. The plans that the politicians make to spend your money are outrages against liberty. We've come a long way since small tea and stamp taxes bred revolutionary thoughts in our forefathers."
A Tax Even Libertarians Could Love?, by Matt Zwolinski, 4 Mar 2016
Discusses Henry George's proposal for a Single Tax and his moral and economic arguments in favor of the tax
"Nobody likes taxes. But not all taxes are equally bad. From a moral perspective, some taxes are more unjust than others – imposing costs, for instance, on precisely those people who are least able to afford them. And from an economic perspective, some taxes are more inefficient than others, distorting economic activity by discouraging work and/or investment. ... A tax on the unimproved value of those [natural] resources is therefore one way in which humanity as a whole can reclaim what has been unjustly monopolized by a few, and do so moreover without violating individuals' self-ownership."
Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 1, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Aug 2006
Discusses the differences between direct and indirect taxes, pointing out that even James Madison and Alexander Hamilton could not agree unambiguously on definitions
"The tax (like all taxes) entails the threat of physical force against nonaggressors and is thus indistinguishable from robbery or extortion. ... In the most fundamental terms, the income tax is objectionable not because it's an income tax, but because it is an income tax. ... Frank Chodorov ... was wrong. It's not the income tax that is the root of all evil. It's taxation per se."
Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 2, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Sep 2006
Reviews the income tax laws passed between 1861 and 1894 and the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the Pollock case
"... landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co. (1895), paved the way for the Sixteenth Amendment. ... the Court concluded that a general tax on income, being indirect, was constitutional without apportionment among the states, but that a tax on income from real and personal property, being indistinguishable from a tax on the property itself, was direct taxation and thus required apportionment."
Related Topic: War
Beware Income-Tax Casuistry, Part 3, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Oct 2006
Reviews the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad
"Like it or not, the U.S. Constitution empowers the Congress to levy any tax it wants. You may read the Constitution otherwise, but the constitutionally endowed courts have spoken. Reading one's libertarian values into the Constitution in defiance of the text and court holdings is futile. ... The battle over the taxing power took place long ago — in 1787 — between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists, before the Constitution was ratified. Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had no power to tax; it could only ask the states to raise money."
Dangers of No Tax Liability, by Walter E. Williams, 13 Sep 2004
"... 122 million Americans are outside of the federal income tax system ... if you have no income tax liability, how much do you care about how much Congress spends and the level of taxation? ... every American should get one additional vote for every $10,000 he pays in federal income tax."
Death and Taxes – Can the Congress Kill a Pernicious Tax?: , by Paul Boytinck, 16 Jul 2003
"Lincoln introduced an inheritance tax during the Civil War. Then an estate tax was levied in 1916 in the course of World War I, and the same tax has existed for almost a hundred years, but the reluctance to pay it has grown more intense. It is widely recognized that the estate tax is still another tax on money that has been remorselessly taxed before ..."
Default Circus — er, Crisis — Averted?, by Sheldon Richman, 18 Oct 2013
Examines the U.S. government's possibility of default vs. what it takes from its residents
"It would be better if the politicians couldn't borrow. Americans probably would not put up with the taxation required to balance a nearly $4 trillion budget. ... the government’s ability to fulfill its financial obligations depends on its ability to use force against productive members of society. All its obligations, that is, are founded on a pledge to engage in, as Lysander Spooner would put it, criminal activity — specifically, the theft we call taxation. But no binding obligation can rest on an immoral act."
Don't Repeal the Sixteenth Amendment!, by Sheldon Richman, 23 May 2008
Analyses various court cases regarding income taxation and suggest the only way to eliminate taxation is by educating and changing people's minds
"Repealing the Sixteenth Amendment would be a waste of time because its disappearance would change nothing. Alas, Congress could continue to tax incomes (and anything else). ... As the Anti-federalists warned in 1787 -- and the courts have affirmed -- the Constitution empowers Congress to tax whatever it wants. If we are ever to get rid of the income tax, we'll have to do it by amending the real constitution -- the one in the hearts and minds of the people."
Exploiting the Workers, by Anthony Gregory, 14 Apr 2006
"... the coerced payment occurs continuously as every dollar is earned. Ever since World War II, Americans have had their income tax withheld by their employers, so they don't realize all at once how much they're being milked and revolt. Government funding runs more smoothly, especially in larger amounts, when the taxpayer is soaked gradually."
Flat Tax Folly, by Laurence M. Vance, Mises Daily, 14 Apr 2006
A review of Flat Tax Revolution by Steve Forbes
"The US tax code — with its 'nine million word mountain of verbiage' — is so complex and 'littered with impenetrable passages' that a fictional tax return given by Money magazine to forty-five tax preparers resulted in forty-five different calculations of the correct amount of tax due."
Funding Leviathan, Part 1, by Laurence M. Vance, Future of Freedom, Mar 2007
Reviews the latest tax reform proposals, including Steve Forbes' flat-tax plan, quoting Murray Rothbard on the flat-tax movement
"Individual income taxes — which swelled government coffers by roughly $1.059 trillion during FY 2006 — are the most onerous. Income taxes discourage the creation of wealth, they punish success, they violate financial privacy, they are the fuel of wealth distribution and social engineering, they are the backbone of the interventionist-welfare state."
Funding Leviathan, Part 2, by Laurence M. Vance, Future of Freedom, Apr 2007
Reviews the latest tax reform proposals, including the "Fair Tax" plan, quoting Murray Rothbard on consumption taxes and Ron Paul on the real issue of "tax reform"
"The 'best' tax system from the standpoint of liberty, and not from the standpoint of what the government says it needs, would be one that interferes the least with the free market. The ideal amount of tax collected would then, of course, be zero. ... it is certainly reasonable to support any tax-reform proposal that aims to substantially reduce the federal leviathan's food supply."
I'd Like My Money Back, by Mary Theroux, 14 Apr 2009
Letter to President Obama and other U.S., California and local government officials
"Rather than my usual practice of remitting taxes to you on this, your high holy day of April 15, I am this year writing to request a return of all monies previously remitted, for non-performance of services promised. As evidence for my claim: National Security ... Education ... Roads ... Police Services ... In sum, please refund the taxes collected fraudulently for services never provided."
I Love Loosies and the People Who Sell Them, by Sheldon Richman, 10 Dec 2014
Explains how New York cigarette taxes contributed to the police crack down that led to the Eric Garner confrontation (and subsequent death)
"Let's remember what the police say Garner was doing: selling cigarettes that had not been subjected to the high taxes imposed in New York City and State: $5.95 in all. (The feds add another buck.) Thus, a pack costs at least $14. ... The fact is that Eric Garner was a threat to no one. He was just a guy trying to make a few bucks by selling loose cigarettes — loosies — to low-income smokers harmed by the state's and city's tax collectors."
Related Topic: Moral Repression
Is there a federal deficit?, by Walter E. Williams, 19 Apr 2006
Discusses, from an economics standpoint, whether there is a budget deficit in the U.S. federal government and what are the effects of the shortfall between federal expenditures and revenue (taxes)
"The average taxpayer, depending on the state in which he lives, works from Jan. 1 to May 3 to pay federal, state and local taxes. That means someone else decides how four months' worth of the fruits of the average taxpayer's labor will be spent. The taxpayer is forcibly used to serve the purposes of others – whether it's farm or business handouts, food stamps or other government programs where the earnings of one American are taken and given to another."
Related Topics: Government, Inflation
"It's So Simple, It's Ridiculous": Taxing times for 16th Amendment rebels, by Brian Doherty, Reason, May 2004
"The claim that the 16th Amendment wasn't properly ratified actually holds up pretty well. ... there were enough procedural irregularities in its passage that it technically should not have been declared ratified in 1913. Still, it was thus certified, and the courts tend to respond ... by saying it's too late to do anything about it now ..."
Related Topic: Irwin A. Schiff
No Representation Without Taxation!, by Jan Clifford Lester
"Consider state distribution of tax-money. We can see that this must create two social categories: those who are net taxpayers and those who are net tax recipients. Only the net taxpayers can be said to provide the state with tax-funds. The net tax recipients are paid out of taxation ..."
Protesting the Tax Protesters, by James Ostrowski, 1 Jan 2007
Presents several arguments against tax protesting, concluding with a suggested approach to fighting against confiscatory taxation
"Tax protesters make what I believe are arcane legal arguments about why this or that tax has no legal basis. ... The courts have held that there is a legal obligation to pay taxes. What the 'legal' in that term means exactly is a very interesting question ... Bottom line: 'legal' means that if you do not comply, the government may use physical coercion against you."
Self-Interested Defenders of 'the Peculiar Institution', by Vin Suprynowicz, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 24 Mar 2007
"... one cannot erect a moral justification for an immoral act by listing the good things you've done with your slave's labor or with the property you have stolen. Taking wealth from others against their will, under the threat of brute force, is immoral. If you doubt that's what 'taxation' is, try refusing to pay."
Related Topic: Compulsory Education
Taxation Is Robbery, by Frank Chodorov, Out of Step, 1962
Chapter XXII; starting with the historical origins of taxation, proceeds to examine its indirect and direct forms and the rationales behind it
"By way of preface, we might look to the origin of taxation, on the theory that beginnings shape ends, and there we find a mess of iniquity. A historical study of taxation leads inevitably to loot, tribute, ransom: the economic purposes of conquest. The barons who put up toll-gates along the Rhine were tax-gatherers. So were the gangs who 'pro­tected,' for a forced fee, the caravans going to market."
Tax Cuts Are Unfair? It Just Ain't So!, by David Kelley, The Freeman, Jul 1999
"... a tax cut does not confer a 'benefit' on taxpayers, as if the money belonged to the government, which was generously conferring gifts on its citizens. ... People are not passive recipients of an income 'distribution.' They acquire money by trading with others, earning income in diverse ways."
Tax Day, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Libertarian, 15 Apr 1969
Editorial discussing taxation as robbery, government as a gang of thieves and dedicating the issue to those engaged in some form of tax rebellion
"But does anyone seriously believe that if the payment of taxation were really made voluntary, say in the sense of contributing to the American Cancer Society, that any appreciable revenue would find itself into the coffers of government? Then why don't we try it as an experiment for a few years, or a few decades, and find out?"
Related Topic: Government
Tax Gouging: The Real Problem, by Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Mises Daily, 8 Jun 2006
"The property tax bonanza that is being enjoyed by state and local governmental bureaucracies creates yet another evil. ... they use the money to appease more and more special interest groups by starting up myriad new programs. Then when the real estate market cools ... the programs all remain in place while revenues shrink, creating a 'deficit crisis.'"
The Fraudulent Tax, by Laurence M. Vance, Mises Daily, 9 Oct 2006
"The twin truths that taxation is theft (no matter how the money is collected) and that the US government should never be given a budget that is in the trillions (no matter how the money is collected) are concepts that FairTax proponents have never grasped. The FairTax is intended to be revenue neutral ... Federal spending will remain at the same obscene level that it is now."
The Future of an Illusion: Kerry's Tax Policy, by Charles W. Adams, 21 Sep 2004
Discusses presidential candidate John Kerry's proposal to tax "the rich" and provides historical examples of how the wealthy avoid being affected by higher rates
"The middle classes have always been the only dependable source for taxes. ... A government cannot force a wealthy taxpayer to work if the taxpayer finds the tax rates personally intolerable ... if Kerry's sock the rich tax policy becomes law, we can predict with certainty, that most of these taxpayers will disappear ..."
Related Topic: Ronald W. Reagan
The Rocky Road of American Taxation, by Charles W. Adams, Mises Daily, 15 Apr 2006
Adapted from the author's For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
"No modern revolution was deeper rooted in taxation than the revolt of the Thirteen Colonies ... British taxation not only caused the revolution, but perhaps most important, it acted as a unifying force in the colonies. ... The American independence movement ... began in 1766 when colonial leaders met to protest British taxes under the Stamp Act."
The Ultimate Tax Cut, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Dec 2007
Explains how tax cuts promised by political candidates are fraudulent, since the government expenditures still have to be paid somehow, either by taxation or monetary inflation
"I had envisioned the government as just being part of a huge collection of enterprises, producing its own wealth and deciding what to do with it. ... then I discovered that the federal government acquired its money differently than everyone else. Its money comes from taxes, which are forcible exactions imposed on people. That is obviously very different from how people in the private sector get their money."
Related Topics: Government, Inflation
A Free-Market Constitution for Hong Kong: A Blueprint for China [PDF], by Alvin Rabushka, Cato Journal, 1989
Discusses the draft of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, expected to be promulgated in 1990 (actually adopted 4 April 1990 and went into effect 1 July 1997), as a "free-market constitution"
"First, low rates of direct taxation stimulate work, saving, and investment, thereby fostering high rates of economic growth. ... Article 107 stipulates that the HKSAR shall continue to practice a low tax policy, which means that any expansion in public sector spending must come either from the fruits of economic growth or by substituting spending in one program for another."
And now, a word from our founder, by Raymond C. Hoiles, The Orange County Register, 29 May 2006
Statement of editorial policies that "should be followed in order to make the newspapers controlled by Freedom Newspapers Inc. better serve the community, the state and the nation", written in the 1960s by the Freedom Communications, Inc. founder
"This also makes us take a stand against any form of taxation, because taxation is a form of initiating force. If one believes in taxation or initiating force, it would seem that he must discard the commandments against stealing and coveting ... Since no man can give another's consent, then if we believe in this principle, governments should be supported on a voluntary basis. If a man does not consent to voluntarily paying, he should not be compelled to pay."
An End to Eminent Domain Abuse?, by George C. Leef, Future of Freedom, Apr 2005
Published just two months before the unfortunate Kelo v. City of New London U.S. Supreme Court decision, expressed hope that the court would rectify the 1954 Berman v. Parker ruling
"Pursuing their ambition to have a larger tax base, politicians have figured out that eminent domain is an easy way for them to take land away from people who aren't making very good use of it — because they don't pay a lot in taxes — and hand it over to others who will make 'better' use of it — because they will be subject to much higher taxation. ... Higher taxes, which officials can then spend on the supposed 'public interest,' justify treating peaceful landowners like medieval serfs."
Begrudging Another Battle of Ballot-Boxing, by Kenneth R. Gregg, 23 Nov 2006
Explains how those seeking power through politics are led to compromise, even if they are members of a group espousing principles over expediency, and urges others not to ballot-box but instead vote in the marketplace and the social realm
"Some people want the state to provide one service; others prefer another ... Each service requires the use of force, if for no other reason than to receive taxes which maintain the instrumentalities of the state. The stronger a state becomes, the more taxes it requires; the more taxes required, the more force needed to enforce the dictates of the state."
Best of Both Worlds: Milton Friedman reminisces about his career as an economist and his lifetime "avocation" as a spokesman for freedom, by Brian Doherty, Reason, Jun 1995
Topics discussed include: the new Congress, flat taxes, the withholding tax, the people who influenced him, what led him to write about policy issues, libertarianism and how his political views have changed over the years
"... from an economic point of view, one of the worst features of our system is that you have a new tax law every year or every two years. However bad the tax law is, if you didn't change it for five years it would do less harm. Why do you keep changing it? Because that's the most effective way to raise campaign funds. Lobbyists will pay you to put loopholes in; they will pay you to take them out."
Crony-in-Chief: Donald Trump epitomizes Ayn Rand's "Aristocracy of Pull", by Steve Simpson, 2 Feb 2017
Examines the issues of "cronyism" or "pull-peddling", suggesting --as Ayn Rand did-- that the solution is "to limit government strictly to protecting rights and nothing more"
"Using terms like 'favors,' 'privileges,' and 'benefits' to describe what government is doing when cronyism occurs is not just too vague, it's far too benign. These terms obscure the fact that what people are competing for when they engage in cronyism is the “privilege” of legally using force to take what others have earned ... When groups lobby for entitlements — whether it's more social security or Medicare or subsidies for businesses — they are essentially asking government to take that money by force from taxpayers who earned it and to give it to someone else."
Don't Believe Those Inflation Numbers, by Mark Brandly, Mises Daily, 1 Sep 2006
Discusses how the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported inflation rates are unlikely to be a true reflection of the actual increases in prices of goods
"Second, if the government reports a rate of inflation that is lower than the actual inflation rate, this will increases tax revenues through bracket creep. If the actual inflation rate is 10%, but the measured rate of inflation is 4%, some taxpayers will be pushed into higher tax brackets even though their real income has not increased."
Related Topics: Inflation, Government
Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 25 May 2007
Interview by Kenny Johnsson for "The Liberal Post" blog
"... taxing always and everywhere means taking money from people by force. They try to disguise that in various ways ... It's like negotiating with a robber, who proposes to enter your house at night so he won't disturb you ... or suggests that you give him some cash so that he won't have to take the family silver. In the end, your property is gone."
Four California tax increases defeated, Libertarian Party News, Dec 2004
"The LP joined with the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association (headed by Libertarian Dennis Umphress) to oppose 13 of the 15 tax increase proposals in the county. ... They succeeded in defeating four tax increase measures on Election Day, saving local taxpayers millions of dollars over the next few years."
Gertrude B. Kelly: A Forgotten Feminist, by Wendy McElroy, The Freeman, Oct 1998
Lengthy profile of Dr. Gertrude B. Kelly (1862–1934), Irish immigrant, individualist feminist and contributor to the Liberty periodical
"But, even granting for the sake of argument that state aid could promote knowledge, Kelly contended that the cost of this promotion would enormously outweigh any advantage. The cost would be the violation of property rights through the taxation that would be necessary to support the government's program. If ordinary people sufficiently valued the service being funded by the state, then tax funding wouldn't be necessary. If they didn't value it, then the government had no right to take money from the worker to finance officially desirable knowledge."
Government, by James Mill, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1820
Discusses the purpose of government, the means for attaining that end and various related questions and objections; rationalises that representative democracy, as exhibited in early 19th century Britain, is most conducive to "good Government"
"It is impossible to attach to labour a greater degree of advantage than the whole of the product of labour. Why so? Because, if you give more to one man than the produce of his labour, you can do so only by taking it away from the produce of some other man’s labour."
How a 19th century French pamphleteer preempted two centuries of economic fallacies, by Christopher Todd Meredith, 18 Oct 2016
Examines some of the main themes in Bastiat's writings, such as ethics and economics, the seen and the unseen and the State
"There are highly visible benefits (buildings, bridges, meals for the indigent) and almost-as-highly-visible beneficiaries (architects, engineers, cooks), but nobody knows what taxpayers would have done with their money if it had not been for the taxes levied for those expenditures. ... It does not make sense to say we are better off. At best, some in society (certain architects, builders, and cooks, for example) profit at the expense of others (certain taxpayers) who would rather have paid for something else."
How Much Do You Know About Liberty? (a quiz), The Freeman, Jun 1996
A 20-question quiz (with answers) on various topics related to liberty in the history of the United States
"Every year, Americans spend an estimated five billion hours unproductively wrestling with which U.S. regulations? ... According to James L. Payne's Costly Returns, people spend an estimated 5 billion hours a year unproductively trying to comply with tax laws."
How to Destroy Mongolian Mining, by Morgan J. Poliquin, Mises Daily, 20 Jun 2006
"Funds that are forcibly exacted are subject to misallocation and abuse ... But taxation is fundamentally flawed because it is based on the ridiculous assumption that someone in a position of authority is capable of deciding on behalf of others what is best for them, or what their needs and wants may be."
Related Topics: Mongolia, Mining, Wages
“If 1,000 Men Were Not to Pay Their Tax Bills This Year…", by Carl Watner, Reason, Sep 1983
Discusses the 1846 incident that led Thoreau to spend a night in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax and the influence of his friends Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane as well as those Thoreau influenced later
"Although it's not well known now, Thoreau was not the first in Concord to have protested the poll tax. Three and a half years before, on January 17, 1843, Staples had arrested Thoreau's friend, Bronson Alcott, on a similar charge. And in mid-December 1843, an Englishman named Charles Lane had been arrested too.The poll tax in Massachusetts was imposed on every adult male, and resistance to the tax had been seized upon by most abolitionists as a way of dramatizing their opposition to slavery. ... Theirs were the first known acts of generalized tax resistance on conscientious grounds in American history."
In Defense of a Free Market in Health Care, by Robert D. Helmholdt, 16 Apr 2004
Explains why government health care reforms will not improve the status quo, recommending instead complete deregulation of the industry and reliance on the free market
"It also makes no more sense for one's employer to own an employee's health insurance than for it to own his home insurance or auto insurance. The only reason for this practice is the discriminatory provision of federal tax law giving tax deductibility to company-owned health insurance, but denying tax deductibility to individually owned health insurance. This tax-deductible feature is a powerful incentive to perpetuating a system that is basically wrong and grievously unfair!"
Independence Day Propaganda, by Anthony Gregory, 4 Jul 2011
Argues that the American Revolution, albeit of a libertarian flavor, had several unsavory shortcomings
"... the American Revolution ... wasn’t a simple tax revolt, at least not as conventionally limned. For one thing, Americans had resented the 1764 Revenue Act's reduction of the 1733 Molasses Act tax rate, despising the enforcement mechanism and efficiency of the new law more than the tax itself. Even less understood is the 1773 Boston Tea Party, a revolt against a tax cut - a reduction in British taxes on East India tea, designed to undercut the price of smuggled Dutch tea."
Inequality of Wealth and Incomes, by Ludwig von Mises, The Freeman, May 1955
Describes how attempts to equalize incomes and wealth lead to lowered standard of living for the masses and eventually to socialism
"... under the sway of the doctrines taught by contemporary pseudo-economists, but for a few reasonable men all people believe that they are injured by the mere fact that their own income is smaller than that of other people and that it is not a bad policy to confiscate this difference. ... Our present taxation policy is headed toward a complete equalization of wealth and incomes and thereby toward socialism."
In Pursuit of Liberty, by Jarret B. Wollstein, May 1997
Primer on liberty concepts, including voluntary vs. coercive associations, individual rights, government and possible future improvements in the status quo
"One index of how coercive government is, is how much of your income it takes in taxes. If the government takes half your income, you are working half your time for the state. If government takes 75%, you are 75% enslaved. As recently as 1956, the average US citizen paid less than 10% of their income in taxes. ... Today the government takes at least 50% of the average person's income."
Interview with Adam Smith [via Edwin West], by Edwin George West, The Region, Jun 1994
Professor Edwin G. West stands in for Adam Smith and answers questions from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis banking and policy issues magazine
"I would conjecture that in the late 18th century, taxation in Britain was typically around the ratio of 5 percent to 8 percent of gross national product (GNP). In the United States today annual taxation accounts for about 40 percent, although this figure would be higher if we factored in US government deficits which imply postponed (future) taxation. My 18th century colleagues, Hume, Stewart, Ferguson, Millar and Kames, would have thought such levels of taxation impossible in a free country."
Interview with Karl Hess, by A. Lin Neumann, Reason, May 1982
Topics discussed include the Republican Party, National Review, AEI, Goldwater, Rothbard, anarchism, the Vietnam War, Carter and Reagan, fascism, urban enterprise zones, the environment, and authoritarianism vs. freedom
"I would repeal the withholding tax, and I would enact Mark Hatfield's Neighborhood Powers Act. The Neighborhood Powers Act would enable people to withhold up to 70 percent of their federal tax liability if they gave the money to a community corporation instead. That would be the end of the federal government. On the other hand, if you repeal the federal withholding tax, that would also mean the end of it. If Americans had to pay annually the amount of taxes exacted from them by subtle theft, they would refuse to do it. Simply that, they would refuse. Say no and not do it."
Libertarians help California county save $98 million in school taxes, Libertarian Party News, Apr 2004
"In Santa Maria ... in Santa Barbara County ... voters rejected a proposed bond measure that would have cost them $98 million for school construction. ... Public school officials and teachers were hoping the voters would have forgotten about the bond money they've misused in the past ..."
Related Topic: California
Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism, by Ludwig von Mises, 18 Apr 1950
Speech to the University Club of New York; argues that the middle of the road policies of interventionism, such as price controls and progressive taxation, eventually lead to socialism via central planning
"The philosophy underlying the system of progressive taxation is that the income and the wealth of the well-to-do classes can be freely tapped. What the advocates of these tax rates fail to realize is that the greater part of the income taxed away would not have been consumed but saved and invested. In fact, this fiscal policy does not only prevent the further accumulation of new capital. It brings about capital decumulation."
Mr. Bush's War, by Murray N. Rothbard, The Irrepressible Rothbard, Oct 1990
Starts off as a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the rationale for the Gulf War, but then delves into more serious reasons, including the Saudi, petroleum and Rockefeller connections
"... the U.S. government's concern for the consumer might be better gauged if we realized that the very same liberals and centrists now whooping it up for war against Iraq, have been agitating for a huge (say 50 cents a gallon) tax on gasoline, thereby shafting the U.S. consumer far more than Saddam could possibly do. ... These same liberals and centrists are even now advocating a higher federal tax on gasoline."
Related Topics: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, War
Murray Rothbard's Philosophy of Freedom, by David Gordon, The Freeman, Nov 2007
Examines the arguments made by Rothbard from the premise that slavery is wrong, self-ownership, private property rights and a free market without government interventions follows
"If the essence of slavery is forced labor for others, it is a very present reality today. When the government takes part of what you earn in taxes, it in effect forces you to labor for the state. Just as the slave does not get to keep what he produces but must surrender it to the master, so must the taxpayer give up part of what he makes to the government. One might object that someone can avoid being taxed by refusing to work, but this is hardly a viable alternative."
On the English Foreign Policy, by John Bright, 29 Oct 1858
Speech given to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce; criticises British militarism and imperialism, pointing out the effects of several 19th century wars on national debt, poverty and families
"There is no actuary in existence who can calculate how much of the wealth, of the strength, of the supremacy of the territorial families of England, has been derived from an unholy participation in the fruits of the industry of the people, which have been wrested from them by every device of taxation, and squandered in every conceivable crime of which a government could possibly be guilty."
NewRevisiting a Libertarian Classic: Nock's Our Enemy, the State, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Mar 2006
Examines some of the major themes of Nock's Our Enemy, the State
"Today we tend to associate talk about class exploitation with Marx and Marxism. But in fact liberals (libertarians) developed class analysis before Marx. The theory is attributed to two French liberals, Charles Comte and Charles Dunoyer. In their theory, class and exploitation arise the moment a taxing authority comes into existence, for at that point we have the emergence of two groups: tax-producers and tax-consumers. Taxation is the quintessential form of exploitation. One group labors in behalf of another, the fruits of that labor being expropriated for the privileged class."
Rings of War, by Charley Reese, 1 Jan 2007
Reflects on war as concentric rings with soldiers in the center and the general public in the outer circle, criticising George W. Bush and Congress for not ending the 2003 Iraq War and suggesting a general tax for future wars as incentive to end them
"In the future, we should insist on a declaration of war with a 10 percent surtax on income and a 10 percent war tax on goods and services, both to expire with the cessation of hostilities. That would force everyone, even those in the seventh ring, to participate in the war and give everyone an incentive to end it. A pay-as-you-fight war would be whole lot less tolerable to most Americans. As long as we force soldiers to bleed, we should bleed financially."
Robert A. Heinlein's Soaring Spirit of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jul 1997
Biographical essay, including multiple quotes from fellow authors and significant excerpts from Heinlein's novels and stories
"In Glory Road (1963), former football star and soldier Evelyn Cyril Oscar Gordon responds to an advertisement for an adventure, and he's off on a rousing sword-and-sorcery fantasy. Among other things, he grumbles about taxes: 'Do you know how much tax a bachelor pays on $140,000 in the Land of the Brave and the Home of the Free? $103,000, that's what he pays. That leaves him $37,000. ... But suppose I wangled some way to beat the tax. ... I wouldn't be "cheating" Uncle Sugar; the USA had no more moral claim on that money (if I won) than on the Holy Roman Empire. ...'"
Robert Nozick, Philosopher of Liberty, by Roderick Long, The Freeman, Sep 2002
Focuses mainly on Nozick's contributions in Anarchy, State, and Utopia, with brief reference to his later works and his death earlier in 2002
"Nozick's strategy was to support libertarian rights by appealing to values widely shared by libertarians and nonlibertarians alike. For example, Nozick argued that because 'taking the earnings of n hours labor' is essentially equivalent to 'forcing the person to work n hours for another’s purpose,' the taxation of earnings is 'on a par with forced labor,' and so is unjust ... Admittedly, Nozick offered no proof that forced labor itself is unjust; but did he need to? The injustice of forced labor is a premise that most of his opponents already accept ..."
Roots Of Economic Understanding, by Floyd A. 'Baldy' Harper, The Freeman, Nov 1955
Explains the rudiments of economics by specifying required attributes (desirability, scarcity, exchangeability) then delving into how people, from the earliest age, become cognizant of economic concepts, but ending with criticism of econmic ignorance
"If you are an average person in the United States, for instance, you have to work from New Year’s Day until late in April before you have satisfied the prior tax claims upon your productive effort—taxes that are taken from you by force and applied to uses of which you may or may not approve. Furthermore, your period of servitude probably is extended in that you pay tribute in one way or another to some nongovernmental persons or organizations in ways which a thoroughly free society would not countenance."
Selections from Lao-tzu (Laozi): Tao Te Ching (Daode-jing), by Laozi
Thirty-seven selections from the Dao De Jing, unidentified as to chapter or translator
"The reason people starve
Is because their rulers tax them excessively.
They are difficult to govern
Because their rulers have their own ends in mind.
The reason people take death lightly
Is because they want life to be rich.
Therefore they take death lightly.
It is only by not living for your own ends
That you can go beyond valuing life."
Related Topics: Government, War
Society without a State, by Murray N. Rothbard, 28 Dec 1974
Talk delivered at the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy
"The crucial role of taxation may be seen in the fact that the state is the only institution or organization in society which regularly and systematically acquires its income through the use of physical coercion. All other individuals or organizations acquire their income voluntarily, either (1) through the voluntary sale of goods and services to consumers on the market, or (2) through voluntary gifts or donations by members or other donors."
Related Topics: Anarchism, Law, The State
Test your freedom IQ, The Orange County Register, 18 Jun 2006
20 multiple-choice questions covering the role of government, free enterprise, taxes, property rights, free speech, religion, civil liberties, transportation, war and foreign policy, the Nanny State, gun ownership, education and immigration
"Government at all levels is too big and should be cut to fit a defined and limited number of tasks. Taxpayers should have first call on the product of their labors, not the government, and be able to spend, invest and save their earnings as they choose. The more areas of life we invite government into, the more coercion, irrational or rational, will be in our lives."
The Economic Costs of Going to War: Transcript: Bill Moyers Talks with Lew Rockwell, NOW with Bill Moyers, 7 Mar 2003
Topics discussed include: the economy, the federal budget deficit, the national debt, inflation, Republican vs. Democrat presidents, tax cuts, war spending, World War II and the depression, Sadam Hussein and unemployment
"Well, you know, I'm all for tax cuts. I think taxes, I mean, the shorthand for taxes is wealth destruction. So certainly the fewer taxes we have the better. On the other hand the government spending has to be paid for somehow. So if he's expanding the government at the rate that he is, at a huge rate, to talk about tax cuts it seems to me is, you know, is irresponsible."
The Economic Way of Thinking about Health Care, by Sheldon Richman, 20 Feb 2015
Discusses the voicing of opinions on economic subjects without having knowledge of economics, the state of the health care and insurance industries and posits possible solutions
"What makes private medical insurance look like a good deal today is that employers seem to provide it for 'free' (or at low cost) as noncash compensation, or a fringe benefit, which is treated more favorably by the tax system than cash compensation. ... That gives employer-provided insurance an appeal it would never have in a free society, where taxation would not distort decision-making."
Related Topics: Health Care, Prices
The Egregiously Destructive War on Drugs, by Gennady Stolyarov II, Mises Daily, 30 May 2006
Discusses the adverse effects that the war on drugs has on innocent people who don't consume drugs
"The War on Drugs is waged with taxpayer money — which especially means the money of respectable, well-to-do people, who are taxed higher under the perverse 'progressive' or punitive tax system. Thus, to regulate and thwart the activities of the addicts, the government expropriates substantial property from moral, productive people who do not even think about consuming illegal drugs."
The Essence of Liberty: What is it that really makes one a libertarian?, by David F. Nolan, Libertarian Party News, Mar 1995
Discusses five points of "no compromise" that Nolan considered essential to libertarianism
"In an ideal world, there would be no taxation. All services would be paid for on an as-used basis. But in a less-than-ideal world, some services will be force-financed for the foreseeable future. However, not all taxes are equally deleterious, and the worst form of taxation is a tax on productivity-i.e. an 'income' tax-and no libertarian supports this type of taxation. What kind of taxation is least harmful? This is a topic still open for debate."
The Federal War on Gold, Part 1, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Future of Freedom, Aug 2006
Discusses some of the provisos in the U.S. constitution regarding coinage and the issuance of paper money
"Inflation is the process by which governments print up the money to pay for ever-increasing expenditures. Why not instead simply increase taxes on people in order to get the money to pay for the soaring expenses? There's an obvious reason: Taxes make people angry at government officials. It's much easier and safer to simply print the money because then most people have absolutely no idea that the government is behind what is happening."
The Humanitarian with the Guillotine, by Isabel Mary Paterson, The Freeman, Sep 1955
Reprinted from The God of the Machine, 1943; analyses the negative consequences of "humanitarians" (or professional philanthropists) and politicians act to provide relief to the needy
"And that is what the proposal to care for the needy by the political means comes to. It gives the power to the politicians to tax without limit; and there is absolutely no way to ensure that the money shall go where it was intended to go. ... Why do kind-hearted persons call in the political power? ... Further they assume that there is a collective right to impose taxes, for any purpose the collective shall determine."
The Idea of a Private Law Society, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Mises Daily, 28 Jul 2006
Discusses the problem of social order, i.e., rules to regulate the use of "everything scarce so that all possible conflicts can be ruled out"
"Even worse, the state is a monopolist of taxation, and while those who receive the taxes — the government employees — regard taxes as something good, those who must pay the taxes regard the payment as something bad, as an act of expropriation. As a tax-funded life-and-property protection agency, then, the very institution of government is nothing less than a contradiction in terms. It is an expropriating property protector, 'producing' ever more taxes and ever less protection."
The Politics of Étienne de La Boétie, by Murray N. Rothbard, 1975
Introduction to the 1975 edition of The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude, translated by Harry Kurz; summarises the key insights of La Boétie's work
"But the tactic of mass refusal to pay taxes, for example, is increasingly being employed in the United States today, albeit in a sporadic form. In December 1974 the residents of the city of Willimantic, Connecticut, assembled in a town meeting and rejected the entire city budget three times, finally forcing a tax cut of 9 percent. This is but one example of growing public revulsion against crippling taxation throughout the country."
The Snare of Government Subsidies, by Gary North, Mises Daily, 31 Aug 2006
Explains how government starts by granting a benefit to some group (purportedly for the public interest), someone takes advantage of the system, the group is asked to police itself, cheating grows, a crisis is perceived, leading to increased interventions
"Perhaps the most popular form of [government] subsidy is tax relief. Certain occupations, companies, or organizations receive tax breaks. In an era of growing taxation, this approach has been one of the most effective; the higher the tax level, the more advantageous is tax exemption. The American oil industry was the recipient of multiple tax breaks until quite recently, and they are still substantial."
The Yin Yang of Value Creation and Value Capture, by William A. Frezza, 18 May 2009
Contrasts collectivist vs. laissez-faire ideologues and their views on the relationship between value creation and capture
"A hold up man or tax collector can capture value without creating any by sticking a gun in your face and taking your money. The former knows no law. The latter better understand that value creation and value capture achieve linkage through the rule of law, and there are lots of ways to get that wrong."
Related Topic: Entrepreneurship
Thinking about Foreign Policy, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, Dec 2006
Analyses why most people tend to think about foreign policy as if it were decided upon by "the people" and attempts to correct the misunderstandings
"The power to coercively extract wealth from a population immediately sets up two groups: the taxpayers and the tax consumers. ... although under democracy the tax-consuming class is more fluid than under other political systems, the exploiter-exploited framework is preserved. Some have the power to tax others to carry out their objectives."
Washington Logic, by Sheldon Richman, 22 Sep 2006
Commentary on the perverted logic used in Washington politics, as evidenced by lobbying for and against import tariffs
"So it's the tariff that is a special-interest measure and an unjust cost to taxpayer-consumers. But if that's the case, then suspending the tariff can't also be a special-interest measure. When a thief is made to stop stealing, we don't speak of his loss of advantage. We speak of justice."
What's Wrong with Public Schools?, by Sheldon Richman, Separating School & State, 25 Mar 2005
Excerpt from chapter 2 of Separating School & State: How to Liberate Americas Families
"What does the presence of taxation indicate about the schools? It indicates that those who run the schools have an access to revenue that no one outside government has. The proprietor of a shoe store cannot send you a bill, whether or not you buy shoes there, and demand payment under penalty of law."
Related Topic: Educational Freedom
Winning the Battle for Freedom and Prosperity, by John Mackey, Liberty, Jun 2006
Updated from speech given at FreedomFest 2004; after a brief background on himself, Mackey criticises the freedom movement from a marketing and branding perspective and suggests a different approach by de-emphasising some issues and prioritising others
"The final thing we must do in health care is to change the tax structure. Eliminating tax incentives for health care would change everything. Most companies (like Whole Foods) would stop offering free or subsidized health insurance if the benefit wasn't tax-deductible. Individuals would no longer receive 'free' health care and would start spending their own money."

Cartoons and Comic Strips

1040ez (DUBYA-2), by Joel Pett, 19 Apr 2008
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are hurting ..., by Mike Thompson, 20 Sep 2008
Hand over your money!, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 15 Apr 2012
I am Robbing Hood, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 22 Aug 2007
Let me get this straight ..., by Aaron McGruder, The Boondocks, 7 Oct 2007
Lots of famous art may have been inspired by taxes, by Tom Thaves (Thaves), 16 Apr 2017
March Madness, by Gary Varvel, The Indianapolis Star, 6 Mar 2006
OK, Jimmy... That's 3 pounds... which puts you at the 33% bracket..., by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 31 Oct 2014
Tax Holiday, by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 18 Apr 2017
This state keeps raising taxes and fees!, by Jerry Holbert, Boston Herald, 29 Jul 2009
To broaden the tax base, they started making the robots pay income taxes, by Tom Thaves (Thaves), Frank and Ernest, 26 Apr 2015
We caught this man stealing ..., by Parker and Hart, The Wizard of Id, 14 May 2009
Hey, buddy, can you spare a few bucks ..., by David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 3 Mar 2006
Related Topic: Sports

Books

Fight, Flight and Fraud: The Story of Taxation
    by Charles W. Adams, 1982
For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization
    by Charles W. Adams, 1993
The Power to Tax: Analytical Foundations of a Fiscal Constitution
    by James M. Buchanan, Geoffrey Brennan, 1980
Those Dirty Rotten Taxes: The Tax Revolts that Built America
    by Charles W. Adams, 1998
Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax
    by Sheldon Richman, The Future of Freedom Foundation, 1999
Partial table of contents: The Permanent War - The Immorality of the Income Tax - Who's the Master? Who's the Servant? - The Income Tax Makes You Poorer - How We Got the Income Tax - Let's Abolish the Income Tax - Appendix: Beware Income Tax Casuistry
On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, by David Ricardo, 1817
Partial contents: On Value - On Rent - On the Rent of Mines - On Natural and Market Price - Of Wages - On Profits - On Foreign Trade - On Taxes - Taxes on Raw Produce - Taxes on Rent - Tithes - Land-Tax - Taxes on Gold - Taxes on Houses - Taxes on Profits
Related Topic: Economics

Videos


A Quick Lesson in Understanding Taxes, by Tim Slagle, 5 Feb 2008
A look at taxes from the perspective of a child on Halloween

Charles Rangel and the Harlem Tax Revolt of '09, by Evan Coyne Maloney, 18 Jan 2009
Interviews with men and women in the streets of Harlem about taxes and House Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel

George Ought to Help, by Tomasz Kaye, 13 Nov 2010
A short animation to reflect on majority-imposed aggression

"Is Taxation Voluntary?": A Jan Helfeld Interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, by Jan Helfeld, 31 Mar 2008
Harry Reid argues that U.S. income taxation is "voluntary," contrasted with other countries

The Spirit of '43, by Walt Disney (producer), 7 Jan 1943
World War II propaganda cartoon showing how the military industrial complex needs income taxation to subsist

What Would You Do?, 14 May 2008
Interviews with people asking "What would you do with $3600 every year?" (average amount expected from elimination of the Massachusetts income tax)
Related Topic: Massachusetts