The Real Reason Why We Pay Taxes

A page present on the website of the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) contains a short explanation written by agents of the state concerning the reasons why citizens pay taxes. The arguments are typical of the arguments frequently made by statists to attempt to justify the moral criminality of taxation. Let us examine the SCDOR perspective and construct a rebuttal.

“Everyone pays taxes in one form or another – mostly income and sales taxes. But why do we pay these taxes?”

We will see the real answer to this question at the end of this rebuttal. For now, let us move along.

“There are many services offered to citizens…”

This is a deceptive way of describing the nature of government services. To offer means to present for acceptance or rejection. If citizens reject government services, they are still forced to pay for them.

“…that could not be managed effectively under any other system.”

This is a positive claim, so the burden of proof is upon SCDOR. However, no evidence is provided by SCDOR to attempt to fulfill this burden of proof. We may therefore disregard the SCDOR claim that the current system of taxation and government provision of services is necessary because SCDOR has committed the argumentum ad ignorantium fallacy.

“The federal government uses your tax dollars to support Social Security, health care, national defense and social services such as food stamps and housing. Services provided by taxes in South Carolina are public schools, safe highways, health care, prisons and social services for low-income citizens. The city or county where you live provides water and garbage service, police and fire protection and also contributes to public schools.”

Let us examine how governments are managing these services, and what alternatives are currently available. Social Security is not being adequately supported, and will be insolvent by 2033 if no action is taken. Medicare will be insolvent as soon as 2026 if no action is taken. National defense is currently being threatened by the actions of the armed forces, as an interventionist foreign policy creates enemies that would not otherwise exist. Social services have ultimately destroyed poor families, leading to increases in child abuse, drug abuse, and violent crime. Public schooling is a euphemism for forced indoctrination, as government maintains a monopoly on the education of children and refuses to allow true competition. (Private schools and homeschooling exist, but are held to government standards.) As for safe highways, South Carolina actually has the most dangerous highways in the nation, ranking no higher than 33 out of 50 in any measured category. Prisons are more expensive than they need to be because they are housing more criminals than the prisons of any other nation. Water and garbage services are currently available in the private sector. In South Carolina, private security officers have the same authority as sheriff deputies, being able to respond to calls, make arrests, use blue lights and traffic radar, and are authorized to issue traffic tickets. Volunteer fire departments exist in many small towns that cannot afford a government-run fire department.

“We can all admit that these services are necessary.”

No, we cannot all admit this. Some of these services are necessary, and some of them are not. But as the need for government to provide these services was not proven, this is a red herring.

“But why must they be paid for with taxes?”

We will return to this question a bit later.

“Why shouldn’t we just pay individually for what we use? The answer is simple: Because no one could afford it. Each person would have to pay the full fee for the service regardless of their ability to pay.”

Here, SCDOR claims that services in a free society would be too expensive. This claim ignores that people in a free society would have much more money to spend because taxation would not be stealing their income as well as discouraging production. Regulations would be set by the market rather than by bribed bureaucrats, leading to increased economic efficiency. Also, competition among service providers would drastically reduce costs compared to the current statist monopoly. Finally, this claim disregards the role of charity, as a business owner in a free society would not want to have a reputation of refusing poor people in desperate situations because of an inability to pay.

“But why must they be paid for with taxes?”

The reason is that the state has monopolized these services and used its violence to eliminate all open competition.

“Our tax system is based on our ability to pay. The more money we earn, the more taxes we pay. And the opposite is true. If we earn a small income, we pay less taxes.”

This is true for the most part, but it is irrelevant to why we pay taxes.

With the above rebuttals having been made, let us return to the first question:

“Everyone pays taxes in one form or another – mostly income and sales taxes. But why do we pay these taxes?”

The answer is simple. We pay taxes because agents with guns will kidnap and imprison us if we do not, and exercising one’s logical right of self-defense against such action will result in one being murdered by the agents of the state, and such murder being portrayed as just in the establishment media.

Book review: The Handbook of Human Ownership

The Handbook of Human Ownership: A Manual for New Tax Farmers is a book about historical and political theory written by Stefan Molyneux. In The Handbook of Human Ownership, Molyneux presents a theory of history and politics from the view that government emerged and evolved as a way for elites to control the masses. The book is presented as a welcome message and instruction manual from the ruling elites to a newly elected member of a government.

Molyneux makes the argument that history has been a process of the evolution of human ownership, beginning with primitive cannibalism and continuing through the slavery of classical antiquity, the serfdom of the medieval period, and the current period of free labor and taxed wages. He then portrays the role of public education as a means to keep the ruling classes from being overthrown by teaching children that government is necessary. Molyneux next discusses the origin of the socialist movement as a response to the declining influence of the church in the 19th century, and how the remnants of religion combined with socialism have been used to support and extend the power of the state. He finishes his historical theory by noting that the cycle of human ownership is nearing its end, as the system of fiat currency and government-protected corporations mathematically cannot continue.

Molyneux’s views of history and the future prospects of humanity are certainly not discussed in the mainstream, but the book does a good job of explaining this as well. For anyone who wishes to take a philosophical look at the current world situation and is unafraid of strong medicine, The Handbook of Human Ownership is an excellent, if short, read.

Rating: 5/5