Immorality of Progressive Income Tax

Many people assume that I don't like income taxes because I am frugal. This is not the case. I despise income tax because I believe them to be immoral.

This may be blasphemous to some Libertarians, but I think that a certain level of taxation is necessary and must be allowed in order for the federal government to fulfill its Constitutional responsibilities. The level of this taxation should be proportional to what is actually needed to perform its legitimate, Constitutional functions. Now where me and many other Libertarians will agree is my feeling that a progressive income tax is unethical and immoral way to collect such taxes.

I am certain that most people would agree that stealing would not be considered a moral act, even if what was stolen was given to someone who needed it more than its original owner. Imagine someone walking into your home and taking $10,000 off your table, walking out the door, and giving your $10,000 to someone else. There are few who would stand for this, but every year we allow the federal government to essentially do the same thing with little more than a grumble on tax day. We would fight off a burglar in our home, but do nothing to fight off the government burglar who pilfers from our coffers.

Now some may say that this analogy is absurd since by living within the border of the U.S. you have consented to the taking of your money. I would agree that by living somewhere you are essentially signing a contract, but the contract of the U.S., the Constitution, has long ago been voided by the federal government's breach of that contract. If they do not act within the authority given to them by our most sacred contract, then I have not consented to them taking my money.

So how can taxes be collected in a moral manner? A moral tax would need to be neither progressive or regressive, but instead neutral and then that revenue would need to used to further “legitimate government interest” within the limits of power and authority granted by the Constitution. I believe sales tax on all end products except for food, housing, some transportation, and a short list of other necessities, would be the most neutral of taxes. Such taxes would end the need for a progressive tax and would end the embedded regressive taxes that we all pay.

Since the federal government's true authority lies in maintaining a safe and secure marketplace, those who consumed the most from this marketplace would pay the most for the federal government's service. A poor family who benefits the least from the marketplace would pay the least for the federal government's service. Those who wished not to pay taxes would be able to opt out by not consuming. It only counts as a contract if you have some reasonable way of not signing that contract. A sales tax would create a continuously renewed contract. Each time you consumed you would basically be resigning the contract with the government.

If the federal government acted within its actual Constitutional power and authority, the individual states and local municipalities would be able to create a more efficient social contract, one that citizens could give their informed consent to. If an individual state or local government believed a progressive tax was necessary to provide for the basic welfare of its citizens it could do so as long as it was acting within the power and authority granted to them by their state constitution or local charter. While I believe it to be impossible to give informed consent to such things on the federal level, I do not think it is impossible on a smaller scale. On a smaller scale you can hold the state or local government accountable for any breach of the contract or you could remove you informed consent by moving to a different state or municipality.

I underline informed because I believe consent does not exist without being informed consent. The actions of the federal government are often to far removed from our lives for us to hold them accountable and without accountability there can be no informed consent and therefore no consent at all. That is why we have the Constitution. As long as the federal government acts within the confines of the authority and power granted by the Constitution, than as citizens have given our informed consent. They have not done so in a very long time, so anything they take is without consent and therefore it is stealing and immoral.


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