Taxation

Bobbin

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
6,002
#1
So it seems to me that there is widespread (And perhaps even growing) consensus on, and very little argument I've seen against, the position that taxation is theft. Taxation is money or capital coerced (By force/threat) from individuals and legally recognized entities. Income tax is the main culprit here but others including capital gains, VAT etc... probably fall in the same lines?

I'm curious who here agrees with this position.

1. Do you agree that tax is theft?
- If no, how do you justify that position? How is it not coercion in your view?

2. Do you think it is necessary (There are no alternatives) regardless of your answer above?
- If yes, possibly list some of the main points that the free market could not adapt to
- If yes to 1. and 2. - Are you comfortable with an unethical practice to justify the ends?

3. You might say that it is ethically moot considering it is democratically instituted (The majority inadvertently votes for tax by voting for their government - so tough cookie on them). I'd like to hear if this is your position as well and would you vote for a candidate whose active agenda is to minimize government interference and lower taxes?
 

Ancalagon

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
15,126
#2
Saying taxation is theft is a vast oversimplification of how it works. Yes, some of our tax money is stolen. But that doesn't mean that all taxation is theft - the idea is pure nonsense. I do get something for my tax money, even if I pay "too much" for what I get.
 

Bobbin

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
6,002
#3
Saying taxation is theft is a vast oversimplification of how it works. Yes, some of our tax money is stolen. But that doesn't mean that all taxation is theft - the idea is pure nonsense. I do get something for my tax money, even if I pay "too much" for what I get.
In my view ALL taxation is coerced (Try not paying it and see what happens), therefore theft, irrespective of how and where it is used. I don't think it is an oversimplification, I think it is just that simple and needs no over-complication on that specific point. Your position seems to attempt to justify the unethical means to an arguable end that in itself is hardly in your control.

But that's just my current view on it. I honestly don't know what is better/worse overall.
 

Cius

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
4,942
#4
Well, go live in regions were tax has largely collapsed, like rural Somalia, and see how you like it.

Not a fan of tax but considering that I can turn on a tap in my house and get clean water, and that I drive on decent roads to work, and that there are jails and courts that function somewhat, and its hard to argue tax is something I don't want. If you remove tax you remove government, and once you remove government warlords take over. They tend to not be the nicest people.
 

Ancalagon

Honorary Master
Joined
Feb 23, 2010
Messages
15,126
#5
In my view ALL taxation is coerced (Try not paying it and see what happens), therefore theft, irrespective of how and where it is used. I don't think it is an oversimplification, I think it is just that simple and needs no over-complication on that specific point. Your position seems to attempt to justify the unethical means to an arguable end that in itself is hardly in your control.

But that's just my current view on it. I honestly don't know what is better/worse overall.
Then go live somewhere else. You are also coerced into obeying laws, like wearing your seatbelt when you drive and making sure your vehicle is safe.
 

Bobbin

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
6,002
#6
Well, go live in regions were tax has largely collapsed, like rural Somalia, and see how you like it.

Not a fan of tax but considering that I can turn on a tap in my house and get clean water, and that I drive on decent roads to work, and that there are jails and courts that function somewhat, and its hard to argue tax is something I don't want. If you remove tax you remove government, and once you remove government warlords take over. They tend to not be the nicest people.
This is a good point and has occurred to me. However I will say that I think there's a possible caveat. Warlords take over where there is little wealth and huge reliance. Citizens who are largely empowered and in a developed society already are unlikely to allow this to happen.

It seems to me that before the free market EVERYBODY (except the King) was poor and lived day by day (Feudalism and the like was rife and necessary). After the free market, many were lifted out of poverty and self empowered, while the rest curiously blame the free market for their hard times (While it's only a relative distinction).

So your position is that it is simply a "necessary evil"? Or lesser of two evils is another way of putting it? And you don't believe the free market could adapt to those requirements?

i.e. Water and electricity is easily catered by a free market. Roads is a common rebuttal as a need for government, but petrol stations need roads to make money (Interesting thought). Courts and law/order are the only outstanding requirement for government then. You get private police/security. So that leaves courts and jail. Exile and social collaboration is a thing (Exacerbated by market interaction - bad people don't get good business from good people - so there's major incentive to behave when the market is the dominant force). So that leaves...nothing? but yes I know these aren't simple matters. Just interesting to mull over.
 
Last edited:

Bobbin

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
6,002
#7
Then go live somewhere else. You are also coerced into obeying laws, like wearing your seatbelt when you drive and making sure your vehicle is safe.
My own safety should also not be coerced insofar as I exercise no harm, threat or aggression to anyone else. Ethically speaking that is. So vehicle safety would be ruled as irresponsible/negligent of course.

If I had to choose to go live somewhere else, not many options :( I get taxed too much to afford freedom of movement ;):p Even if I am prepared to take a risk on an investment, then comes the tax making it not worth while any more.

Ideally I'd start my own country/island if I could, haha.
 
Last edited:

Cius

Expert Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
4,942
#8
Tax is necessary but how much is the question. Some countries work great on low tax, like Hong Kong, others do as well with high tax, like Denmark. Countries with low unemployment and excellent education tend to do better regardless.

Personally I don't think the public sector should ever be more than 25% of the economy and that lower tax levels are better, however I am not a big fan of big government. I prefer less government interference in my life. However my folks are in the Netherlands for a bit and while they initially did not like the "nanny state" once they had seen it work for a while and had followed the value chain from one end to the other they became more neutral.

Anyways, there is always tax. Even the warlord takes his tax. Even stone age civilizations have a chief who gets tribute from the tribe to maintain him to some level, as well as his guards etc. The last tax free society I heard of was the Koi san, and even with them I suspect that if you knew them better there was probably a social tax paid by the hunters towards those who could no longer provide for themselves.

Death and taxes, you can't escape either.
 

Bobbin

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
6,002
#9
Tax is necessary but how much is the question. Some countries work great on low tax, like Hong Kong, others do as well with high tax, like Denmark. Countries with low unemployment and excellent education tend to do better regardless.

Personally I don't think the public sector should ever be more than 25% of the economy and that lower tax levels are better, however I am not a big fan of big government. I prefer less government interference in my life. However my folks are in the Netherlands for a bit and while they initially did not like the "nanny state" once they had seen it work for a while and had followed the value chain from one end to the other they became more neutral.

Anyways, there is always tax. Even the warlord takes his tax. Even stone age civilizations have a chief who gets tribute from the tribe to maintain him to some level, as well as his guards etc. The last tax free society I heard of was the Koi san, and even with them I suspect that if you knew them better there was probably a social tax paid by the hunters towards those who could no longer provide for themselves.

Death and taxes, you can't escape either.
I'd pay tax if I get to choose where it goes. Similarly I'd contribute towards a chieftain I respected.

So I wonder, given that it is necessary, could it however be re-framed or handled better such that it isn't inherently unethical. Or is it a case that you would be worried about freeloaders or others who do not contribute/use their money ethically. What about a system, if such were possible, that gives people the choice but rewards/incentivizes/gives social standing/praise to those who contribute?

Taxes reorganize society in a heavy fashion and I think that it being inherently unethical very possibly bites us hard in the end. (Look at the welfare grow, look at the government backed entities grow and need more bailouts, look at corruption grow etc...). Unethical behaviour always ultimately seems to beget unethical/harmful results, you can't escape it and so should exercise ethical behaviour as much as possible - This is an interesting "karmaic" force I often-times intuit from happenings/observations around me - though I don't believe in such things from a mystical sense, rather it makes mathematical/objective/equational sense to me - if you will pardon my digression.
 
Last edited:

Beyond.Celsus

Expert Member
Joined
May 29, 2018
Messages
1,307
#10
You are underestimating just how much taxes actually provide.

Let's look at if there were no taxes and you paid for everything through a 'free market'


The basics we already pay for. Water, electricity
A lot of people use private schools and private hospitals.
Security? Sure you can pay a company
Fire department? Did not think of that. Can they exist privately? Sure but that is another expense to pay for.
Sewage?
Who will remove the garbage?
What happens if there is war? Will you pay for a private army?
Who controls the borders?
Customs?
Who will handle basics like I.D documents, drivers licenses? (We pay, but there is one department. Imagine how much you would pay if it was a free market. And who would do quality control to ensure all the different ones adhere to the same quality?)

These are just a few.
If most were handled in a free market, most people would not be able to afford the basics.
That is why taxes differ based on income. The lower your income, the lower your tax. That way you can still benefit from the basic services.
If it was a 'free market' it would be chaos. Most people would not be able to afford all of these, never mind food to live from.

And then we haven't even gotten into our societal structures.
Basic things like the deeds office. Who will control and file title deeds and other records?

Tax is a necessity, there is no way around it.
 

Bobbin

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
6,002
#11
You are underestimating just how much taxes actually provide.

Let's look at if there were no taxes and you paid for everything through a 'free market'


The basics we already pay for. Water, electricity
A lot of people use private schools and private hospitals.
Security? Sure you can pay a company
Fire department? Did not think of that. Can they exist privately? Sure but that is another expense to pay for.
Sewage?
Who will remove the garbage?
What happens if there is war? Will you pay for a private army?
Who controls the borders?
Customs?
Who will handle basics like I.D documents, drivers licenses? (We pay, but there is one department. Imagine how much you would pay if it was a free market. And who would do quality control to ensure all the different ones adhere to the same quality?)

These are just a few.
If most were handled in a free market, most people would not be able to afford the basics.
That is why taxes differ based on income. The lower your income, the lower your tax. That way you can still benefit from the basic services.
If it was a 'free market' it would be chaos. Most people would not be able to afford all of these, never mind food to live from.

And then we haven't even gotten into our societal structures.
Basic things like the deeds office. Who will control and file title deeds and other records?

Tax is a necessity, there is no way around it.
Remember that "necessity" or not is out of context of much of the OP except question 2. I'm more interested in whether there is consensus on it being defined as theft regardless (So far remains unchallenged). But I will try humour some of your points to my ability...

A lot of the infrastructure issues you raised could exist in an estate where it is levied, as an example (Though I recognize that due to our population size - sort of addressed further below - not everyone can live/afford in an estate or gated community)
A lot of the other issues you raised are a result of government and power structures in the first place - Borders, Customs, I.D documents, wars etc... As a side thought, money and trade tends to help avoid conflict in some cases.
License requirements and regulations could be a requirement of a privatized road system which we choose out of common sense safety - while abiding by the non-aggression principle unto other motorists or punishing as such through the social/market ecosystem alluded to earlier. (Hellopeter for private citizens - if such a thing were possible)

A lot of the lack of affordability to get into the private system is due to government exacerbating the issue by incentivizing bad behaviour, and perhaps overpopulation/over-reaching as such, through the welfare state. Other community structures, like the Church and charities or NFP institutions, shouldn't be omitted as a consideration to fill some of these needs. Affordability (And options) also goes up with less tax across the board.

I'm just spit-balling the above as I see these as problem solving questions rather than red flags. All interesting and complicated stuff and my rudimentary answers above are by no means concise or correct. Food for thought: If you try to fit current structures with new paradigms you will always fail - society will be very different without taxation (Theft) - mindblowingly different - therefore don't concern yourself too much with who takes out the trash in current fashion. It'll probably be a recycling robot doing so if ingenuity were left to its own devices. But perhaps we're just too far down (dependent on) the one rabbit hole to get out.

However the issue has sort of moved in the direction of, taxes are necessary, but now the question is whether there is a more ethical and efficient way to go about it (Assuming we agree it is theft in its current form - I still haven't seen a challenge on this point). Why should higher income earners be coerced to pay more as an example? What gives anyone the right to take money earned - more or less by any substantiation or measure? Why should anyone be coerced? But more importantly, could we simply do it differently (ethically) in a manner that rewards contribution and reduces the abuse of tax money thereof.
 
Last edited:

eye_suc

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2005
Messages
3,628
#12
If your voting power was directly proportional to you tax contributions, then at least you would have some kind of say about what happens to your tax contributions.

If you paid income taxes, I'm quite sure you would be less inclined to vote for it to be squandered on body guards and western luxuries.
 

evilstebunny

Honorary Master
Joined
Dec 20, 2007
Messages
18,716
#13
The biggest problem I have with tax is that its not a user-pays system & now Gauteng has to carry some other provinces plus get screwed by government on e-tolls too.

We really must be superior that we are burdened so much more than other citizens, but yeah if the rest of you lazy asses could catch a wake up and start contributing your share please..
 

HennieWelkom

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2018
Messages
658
#14
I'd like to hear if this is your position as well and would you vote for a candidate whose active agenda is to minimize government interference and lower taxes?
I would think that our current politicians are missing out on a really easy way to gain a sizeable following by just having lower taxes as one of there mandates, but I fear our current crop of politicians is obsessed with socialism. I myself wonder why lower taxes are not already part of the DA's mandate.

My problem is not with taxes perse, but the gross inefficacy and outright theft of state resources by an ever corrupt government.

Saying taxation is theft is a vast oversimplification of how it works. Yes, some of our tax money is stolen. But that doesn't mean that all taxation is theft - the idea is pure nonsense. I do get something for my tax money, even if I pay "too much" for what I get.
We could get much more if we had a good government.
 
Joined
Nov 6, 2018
Messages
1,671
#15
So it seems to me that there is widespread (And perhaps even growing) consensus on, and very little argument I've seen against, the position that taxation is theft. Taxation is money or capital coerced (By force/threat) from individuals and legally recognized entities. Income tax is the main culprit here but others including capital gains, VAT etc... probably fall in the same lines?

I'm curious who here agrees with this position.

1. Do you agree that tax is theft?
- If no, how do you justify that position? How is it not coercion in your view?

2. Do you think it is necessary (There are no alternatives) regardless of your answer above?
- If yes, possibly list some of the main points that the free market could not adapt to
- If yes to 1. and 2. - Are you comfortable with an unethical practice to justify the ends?

3. You might say that it is ethically moot considering it is democratically instituted (The majority inadvertently votes for tax by voting for their government - so tough cookie on them). I'd like to hear if this is your position as well and would you vote for a candidate whose active agenda is to minimize government interference and lower taxes?
Before you decide this question, one or two other question needs to be answered first.

Does the state have the right to initiate violence, or not? Do property rights derive from the authority of the state, or do they derive from another source? (And if so, what is that source?)
 

garp

Executive Member
Joined
Aug 2, 2004
Messages
6,771
#16
Government is the largest land owner and operator of public services. They should be able to raise more than enough to do what they really should be doing purely from fees and levies directly related to their services. In fact, this is exactly how governments operated prior to the invention of income tax. The whole system is actually unnecessary and only needed to keep the debt based fiat money system going by creating artificial scarcity in the money supply.
 
Last edited:

John Tempus

Expert Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2017
Messages
1,390
#17
Income tax to me is theft. If we cant get rid of all taxation at least we should not be bound by income tax.

Property tax, municipal tax and all the other taxes we are already paying on top of income tax I think would be fair game. If I want to live in a safe/clean area with a functional municipality it will simply cost me more to have this option by means of above taxation however to pay for these luxury taxes and at the same time being taxed on Income Tax is simply double taxation for the same end result.

The double taxation by means of income tax is what I have a huge problem with.3

Government is that largest land owner and operator of public services. They should be able to raise more than enough to do what they really should be doing purely from fees and levies directly related to their services. In fact, this is exactly how governments operated prior to the invention of income tax. The whole system is actually unnecessary and only needed to keep the debt based fiat money system going by creating artificial scarcity in the money supply.
Not just this lets look at how much our government is looting just going by fuel tax.

"This year the RAF Levy increase was a sizable 30 cents and now stands at R1,93 a litre. Combined, the General Fuel Levy and the RAF Levy constitute R5,30 of every litre of fuel sold in the country. So, if a litre of fuel inland (93 unleaded octane) costs R14,23, then 37% of this amount is tax.Apr 10, 2018" -> constitutes right now as roughly 33% of tax per litre assuming same levy total for current R15 per litre.

So that is at least R5.30 per litre and South Africa sell roughly 12billion litres of fuel in a year so just from fuel taxation our government is receiving at least R63billion a year.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Apr 5, 2018
Messages
2,809
#18
In my view ALL taxation is coerced (Try not paying it and see what happens), therefore theft, irrespective of how and where it is used. I don't think it is an oversimplification, I think it is just that simple and needs no over-complication on that specific point. Your position seems to attempt to justify the unethical means to an arguable end that in itself is hardly in your control.

But that's just my current view on it. I honestly don't know what is better/worse overall.
Zuma hasn't paid or put returns in yet, and no one seems to be coercing him.
 

OrbitalDawn

Ulysses Everett McGill
Joined
Aug 26, 2011
Messages
40,678
#19
1. No. It is coercion, in the same way that any laws are based on coercion.
2. Yes. I don't think it's unethical. I don't think the 'free market' can provide a proper justice system (including incarceration), healthcare (at a system level, not services within the system as such), law enforcement, military, transport systems, education (again on a system level, not services), broader regulatory environment, management of common goods, etc.
3. Way too simplistic a question for me to really answer. Sometimes less regulation and taxes can be good, sometimes it's bad. Depends on the regulation and tax, and context! And the candidate pushing it...

Always enjoyed the Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. quote: "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society."
 

Techne

Honorary Master
Joined
Sep 28, 2008
Messages
10,546
#20
In low trust societies taxation is better than hoping for the goodness of people to provide some of the necessary services government provides.

The real issue is how the current monetary system and usury gradually dimishes the returns on tax (more goes to paying off interest every year on a debt that can theoretically not be solved) and causes greater and greater non-Zipfian inequality.
 
Top