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InvisibleSilversoul
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Taxation and Theft
    #4139279 - 05/05/05 09:13 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I started derailing another thread with this topic, but I think it's a topic worth addressing yet again. Trendal brought up a good point about how it's virtually impossible to live in society without incurring some cost on that society. I agree, and that's why I'd like to say that taxation doesn't necessarily have to be theft--it just is in its current form. If the taxes one pays are directly proportional to the benefits recieved or the cost incurred upon society, then I would not consider it theft. I might even go so far as to call such a situation just. However, this is not the case currently. Taxes most often are paid on things which have nothing to do with the benefits recieved, and thus are often paid disproportionately by one group for the benefit of another. Sales tax, for instance, is paid on purchases of privately produced goods. The government did not pay for the production of those groceries you buy, so why are you paying them for buying them from someone else? The amount of groceries one buys has nothing to do with the benefits they recieve from those tax dollars. It's completely arbitrary. If I am involuntarily paying more money into the system than what I'm getting out of it, that's theft(or at best, a rip-off).

This is one more reason why I support the Land Value Tax(yes, here we go again). It is a tax directly upon the benefits recieved from government services and the rest of society(the revenue from it which does not go towards government services should go back to society as a citizen's dividend). I also support a form of true cost accounting, where the tax on something is directly proportional to its societal cost(like the gasoline taxes in Europe). Then, on top of that, there's user fees, such as what you pay at the post office for delivering packages.

Only under these circumstances could I agree that taxation is not theft.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: Silversoul]
    #4139311 - 05/05/05 09:24 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Yeah I completely agree that the tax system we currently have is shit, though I wouldn't call it theft. The big problem is our over-bloated government, and the fact that most of our taxes go to things OTHER than the services we receive and use.

I cannot think of taxation as theft as long as the ability to leave the country remains an option. You can't call it force if you have the freedom to leave.

I also think that, by the simple act of living and participating in a country/society, you are implicitly agreeing to the laws and codes of that country - including its taxation laws.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139329 - 05/05/05 09:31 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

If you have to leave the country to avoid taxation, that implies that the government has some higher claim to the land than anyone else living there. Who died and made them king?(pun intended) By what authority do they get to impose such rules over an arbitrary geographic region?

I could just as easily say that you owe me taxes for living where you are, and it wouldn't be theft or extortion so long as you had the choice to leave.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: Silversoul]
    #4139356 - 05/05/05 09:40 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

As the government is supposed to be a tool of the People, and their representative, I would say that it isn't so much the government which has a higher claim to land than a specific person...it is the People who has a higher claim to shared resources than any one person has. Remember it is virtually impossible to live in modern society without taking from it. The government is there to make sure that people don't steal from each other, among other things, so if you are taking from the rest of us without giving back the government is required to step in and intervene.

I could just as easily say that you owe me taxes for living where you are, and it wouldn't be theft or extortion so long as you had the choice to leave.

What am I taking from you?

If nothing, then you deserve no reparations. If I am taking from you, then it would be theft unless I am paying for what I take (or you give it freely).


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139362 - 05/05/05 09:42 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Of course all this is in an ideal situation, where the government is a government of the People and where it does not take more than it gives back to the people.

Actual milage may vary.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139364 - 05/05/05 09:44 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

As the government is supposed to be a tool of the People, and their representative, I would say that it isn't so much the government which has a higher claim to land than a specific person...it is the People who has a higher claim to shared resources than any one person has.



Which people? You mean those within an abitrary border defined by the government?

Quote:

I could just as easily say that you owe me taxes for living where you are, and it wouldn't be theft or extortion so long as you had the choice to leave.

What am I taking from you?

If nothing, then you deserve no reparations. If I am taking from you, then it would be theft unless I am paying for what I take (or you give it freely).



You need to pay me for the privilege of living on my land. It's my land because I said so, just like the US is the government's land because they said so. Capiche?


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: Silversoul]
    #4139383 - 05/05/05 09:50 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I agree the current tax system is a rip-off. I also agree with an LVT. But for an act to be considered theft implies that it is illegal. Since taxation by the government is explicitly stated in the revised Constitution it cannot be considered theft.

Quote:

the act of taking something from someone unlawfully;




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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: Silversoul]
    #4139396 - 05/05/05 09:54 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Which people? You mean those within an abitrary border defined by the government?

Well yes. The people who live, as citizens, in the nation in question. They are responsible for voting their government into power, and are responsible for keeping them in power, are they not? If they aren't, isn't it a dictatorship or some other form of non-democratic non-representative government?

You need to pay me for the privilege of living on my land. It's my land because I said so, just like the US is the government's land because they said so. Capiche?

Well that's not my argument at all.

Hows this: I'm living on my land, but because I use resources not on my land I am taking something from anyone/everyone who lives on not-my-land. Thus I owe them payment. If I don't pay them, I'm a thief and their elected representatives will come and demand the cash from me. If I still refuse to pay everyone back, I go to jail.

If I don't want to pay other people for using their resources in the first place, I can always move elsewhere so that I don't use their resources. Anything else would make me a thief.


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: Silversoul]
    #4139403 - 05/05/05 09:55 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Governments have grown far too large in all the wrong areas... far too much bureaucracy and tradtion associated with law that overall is counterintuitive. I'm more of a realist, and much of the petty little bureaucracy associated with government is counterintuitive and only hopes to further promote itself.

For instance, we can talk about taxes going to fund homeland security... taxes isolated to departments for specific causes only further creates a dissociative element, where the organizations should conspire together and not be so separted. We have the CIA, FBI, DEA, etc... that are all primarily intertwined in respects to their mission statement. However the fact that they are seperate entities, only further disenfranchises their aim as they have to go through proper channels and submittals to obtain informaiton... whereas if they were all directly unified (all under one entity, including funding) much more information could be kept, maintained, and shared then under their current isolation. As a result of that, we wouldn't have these ridiculous intelligence blunders... and if we did, I'd say to cut the programs, not increase them... just to piss them off of course, they'd get their gunding back providing they can get on the ball.... They're incredibly well funded, it's almost as if they allow some of this shit to happen.  :smirk:

We've already thrown money at the problem, we had the information available concerning more recent terror threats, however they weren't shared in the proper channels, as a result of this, we have a terrorist attack... So what do we do? Force another burden on tax payers in a shaky economy by throwing another bureaucratic element that is the homeland security organizaiton... even though prior to that the information was more then available, now we have an organization that acts as a messanger between seperated branches although we have the technology and the ability to incorporate all aspects of said entities under one roof.... it's utterly ridiculous.

Granted, that little example isn't too in line with actual taxation, but it is tax dollars at work... or rather not at work, tax dollars at waste. This isn't by far an isolated incident either, as long as we seek solutions to our problems through tossing money at them, rather then looking at incorporating and planning systems that are capable of multi-tasking.

Then we can focus on tax dollars at work concerning the DOE... and the lack of a proper implementation of self-sustaining/renewable energy systems, as well as corporate implementation for conversions of technology ahead of time, as oil isn't going to be here forever... as long as we continue to think only in the present regarding policy and practices... we're fucked.


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139408 - 05/05/05 09:56 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
Of course all this is in an ideal situation, where the government is a government of the People and where it does not take more than it gives back to the people.





:thumbup:


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139458 - 05/05/05 10:04 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
Which people? You mean those within an abitrary border defined by the government?

Well yes. The people who live, as citizens, in the nation in question. They are responsible for voting their government into power, and are responsible for keeping them in power, are they not?



But why can't you vote in US elections, or why can't I vote in Canadian elections? And what's to stop me from recieving Canadian health care in America? Did I have any hand in deciding where the US-Canadian border is? No. It's politicians who decided that, just as they decide the voting districts so they can rig elections in their party's favor. Furthermore, what if I buy something in Canada? I'm then paying sales tax to the Canadian government without recieving any benefits from them.

Quote:

If they aren't, isn't it a dictatorship or some other form of non-democratic non-representative government?



*sigh* I get so tired of the fallacy that anything other than democracy is a dictatorship. Democracy itself is the dictatorship of the majority.

Quote:

You need to pay me for the privilege of living on my land. It's my land because I said so, just like the US is the government's land because they said so. Capiche?

Well that's not my argument at all.

Hows this: I'm living on my land, but because I use resources not on my land I am taking something from anyone/everyone who lives on not-my-land. Thus I owe them payment. If I don't pay them, I'm a thief and their elected representatives will come and demand the cash from me. If I still refuse to pay everyone back, I go to jail.

If I don't want to pay other people for using their resources in the first place, I can always move elsewhere so that I don't use their resources. Anything else would make me a thief.



And this goes back to my first post. That line of argument might work if they taxes you paid were directly proportional to the benefits recieved, but they're not.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: Silversoul]
    #4139537 - 05/05/05 10:18 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

But why can't you vote in US elections, or why can't I vote in Canadian elections? And what's to stop me from recieving Canadian health care in America? Did I have any hand in deciding where the US-Canadian border is? No. It's politicians who decided that, just as they decide the voting districts so they can rig elections in their party's favor. Furthermore, what if I buy something in Canada? I'm then paying sales tax to the Canadian government without recieving any benefits from them.

Because we live in different countries, silly. You may not have been able to chose where the borders of the USA are, but you certainly do have the choice to live there or live somewhere else. As long as you live in the US, you are using some resources that do not directly "belong" to you but which are considered "public" in nature. As long as you are using the Public's resources, you should be paying for it.

If you come into Canada and buy something here, you pay taxes. What about your stay here? You drove on our roads, didn't you? Drank our water? Breathed our air?

Why should you get away with theft from me and my fellow citizens simply because you happen to live on the other side of the border?

*sigh* I get so tired of the fallacy that anything other than democracy is a dictatorship. Democracy itself is the dictatorship of the majority.

Notice I said "or some other form of non-democratic non-representative government"?

Or did you stop reading when you saw the word "dictatorship"?

And this goes back to my first post. That line of argument might work if they taxes you paid were directly proportional to the benefits recieved, but they're not.

And as I've pointed out several times, I'm speaking of an ideal situation where what you pay IS propotional to what you take. I also said that our current system is shit and nowhere near an ideal system. :wink:


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Offlinecb9fl
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139558 - 05/05/05 10:25 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

What about your stay here? You drove on our roads, didn't you? Drank our water? Breathed our air?

Suppose he drove across the border filled up his tank and bought a single item then returned. The tax on his gasoline pays for (and then some) his drive on your roads. For what did the tax on his purchase pay that he used? And he had his own tap water from the good ol' USA.

As far as I know air isn't taxed.


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It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. -Andre Gide

"Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives."


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139568 - 05/05/05 10:27 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

trendal said:
But why can't you vote in US elections, or why can't I vote in Canadian elections? And what's to stop me from recieving Canadian health care in America? Did I have any hand in deciding where the US-Canadian border is? No. It's politicians who decided that, just as they decide the voting districts so they can rig elections in their party's favor. Furthermore, what if I buy something in Canada? I'm then paying sales tax to the Canadian government without recieving any benefits from them.

Because we live in different countries, silly. You may not have been able to chose where the borders of the USA are, but you certainly do have the choice to live there or live somewhere else. As long as you live in the US, you are using some resources that do not directly "belong" to you but which are considered "public" in nature. As long as you are using the Public's resources, you should be paying for it.



We're going around in circles here.  Who decided that they're different countries, and who put the borders where they are?

Quote:

If you come into Canada and buy something here, you pay taxes. What about your stay here? You drove on our roads, didn't you? Drank our water? Breathed our air?



Who, so now you own the air, huh?  What if our air happens to blow into your country?  Do you owe us taxes for breathing it?

Quote:

And this goes back to my first post. That line of argument might work if they taxes you paid were directly proportional to the benefits recieved, but they're not.

And as I've pointed out several times, I'm speaking of an ideal situation where what you pay IS propotional to what you take. I also said that our current system is shit and nowhere near an ideal system. :wink:



Not only is it not ideal, it's theft.  Only under such an ideal system could it be otherwise.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: cb9fl]
    #4139572 - 05/05/05 10:28 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Once again, our current system is shit, and nowhere near an ideal tax system.

So obviously real-world examples aren't going to work in our little thought experiment.

In the ideal system, any taxes he paid while here would be proportional to any services he used while here.


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OfflineAncalagon
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: Silversoul]
    #4139585 - 05/05/05 10:31 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

If the taxes one pays are directly proportional to the benefits recieved or the cost incurred upon society, then I would not consider it theft.



Question: How can you quantify the value of the services provided to you?
Answer: You can't.

It is in every sense of the word impossible to determine the worth of something (keep in mind worth, or value, is subjective; what you may feel is just compensation for your tax dollars I may find to be a gross misuse) without voluntary transactions in a market setting. The crux of this issue isn't the compensation provided, it is who is deciding what that compensation will be. There would be no substantive (as it relates to this argument) difference if government, instead of providing what it does today, simply mailed me a piece of chalk in return for the property of mine it seizes. This is not a voluntary transaction: the government dictates the terms, I can either comply with those terms, pack up and leave, or face the consequences.


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?When Alexander the Great visted the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: 'Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.' It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.?
-Henry Hazlitt in 'Economics in One Lesson'


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139588 - 05/05/05 10:32 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Like many things "ideal" it's unachievable.

I agree that a system shouldn't hope to profit for the sake of it... But some degree of profit/excess taxation is mandatory simply because without it, their becomes issues when changes happen in infrastructure as well as new technologies. An ideal system is great if we're talking in terms of games and overall static environments, however in terms of the real world, it is absolutely unachievable, unless we purposely induce a state of stagnation.

IMO the real issue is, how much should of a surplus is necessary? Taxation won't be theft if a system is imposed with a flat tax rate on products/services, but even through that, while giving dividends up to the consumer that is over taxed... their are still scenarios unaccounted for, such as payment of elected representatives/officials, funding for education; as if the only ones that pay for public education are those that directly utilize it... we'll have an even lower national intelligence record by virtue of the fact that many people have a huge degree of shortsightedness in terms of planning for children.

Then of course, you have local law enforcement and how to quantify tax rates on the basis of those who the law protects... Unless the criminals are the ones that directly pay for the service, or shall I say disservice imposed on them.

I'm merely saying that some "theft" as you choose to call it is necessary to keep up with a dynamic infrastructure, especially one who's basis is more focused on order then chaos. In a primitive economy, it is more then possible to not have any taxes at all... both in terms of currency, and effort, as individuals in that form of society can obtain sustenance themselves, and the group will moderate itself without the need for direct payment (think in terms of aboriginal societies).


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: Silversoul]
    #4139590 - 05/05/05 10:33 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Well stop acting as if I'm talking about the current tax system and we won't be going in circles :wink:

Nor am I talking about specific, current nations in the world.

I have absolutely no idea why you've brought the subject of borders and lines on maps into the subject of taxation.


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InvisiblePsychoactive1984
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139598 - 05/05/05 10:36 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

We talking general taxation systems then? I thought it was good to use something as a basis for it in terms of what is flawed by demonstrations through comparison... but if we want to talk in generalities :smile:.


--------------------
"Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.


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InvisibletrendalM
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Re: Taxation and Theft [Re: trendal]
    #4139604 - 05/05/05 10:38 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

As far as the whole "voluntary" part goes...

You were born IN a country to parents who CHOSE to remain living in that country and hence live under the constitution and laws of said country. As a child, you were not legally responsible for chosing where you live...but you also didn't have to worry about paying taxes because your parents were supporting you.

The day you became an adult in the eyes of the law, you began to chose to remain living in the country. No one is forcing you to stay, you are only forced to abide by the laws written and agreed upon by representatives of the People of your country (your parents included, if they voted). At any point you can chose to leave your country if you dont happen to like the laws.


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