This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series Ten Things I Hate About Taxes

Ah taxation, how we despise thee. You make some richer, but most poorer. You daily remind us that we live not in a free society, but under shackles. Let us count the ways you oppress us:

  1. Lost Productivity
  2. Newspeak
  3. The Truth About Government Spending
  4. Privacy and Personal Income
  5. Your Tax Dollars at Work
  6. Withholding Taxes
  7. Caesar’s Benevolence
  8. Living in Fear
  9. Taxation is Theft
  10. Lost Prosperity

(And there’s an Epilogue too!)

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and encouragement. It was quite fun (and challenging) to compose these articles. I hope you benefited from them as much as I did from writing them.

This series was featured on the Blog on April 13th, 2009.

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Dr. Norman Horn

Norman founded and the Libertarian Christian Institute, and currently serves as its President and Editor-in-Chief. He holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from the Austin Graduate School of Theology. He currently is a Postdoctoral researcher in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #8: Living in Fear |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #7: Caesar’s Benevolence |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #6: Withholding Taxes |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #5: Your Tax Dollars at Work |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #4: Privacy and Personal Income |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #3: The Truth About Government Spending |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #2: Newspeak |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #1: Lost Productivity |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes #9: Taxation is Theft |

  • Congratulations Norman for a successful series, well delivered.

  • Congratulations Norman for a successful series, well delivered.

  • Thank you for this series of posts. They’re really an excellent summary of why taxes stink.

  • Thank you for this series of posts. They’re really an excellent summary of why taxes stink.

  • Pingback: Ode to Tax Season 2011 |

  • Pingback: 10 Things I Hate About Taxes: Epilogue |

  • David

    I didn’t agree with each and every point here, if we’re defining absolute Libertarianism as opposing any and all states, I’m probably more of an 80-90% Libertarian than a 100% one, but it was a refreshing series of articles nonetheless. It deserves repetition.

    The most important question, I think, is whether taxes are theft. They really seem to be. On the other hand, I don’t really see any way out of that fact, as much as we might like to say there is one. On the other hand, governments collecting as much income as they do is an incredibly recent phenomeon. The fundamental problem is indeed spending, not tax reform.

    Defense is ultimately the most important government program, and I think we need it. Now, I know that “Defense” is sometimes code for “:Invade and take over somebody else’s country because they might hypothetically attack you in the future” so rest assured that this isn’t what I mean when I use that term. By defense I only mean actions directly designed to keep America safe, whether any armies, navies, air force, exc. that we use to protect ourselves from aggression, or military bases in our territory (Not any other country) that are useful for this purpose. I don’t claim to know how much spending we need here, but all money being spent on foreign wrs, foreign bases, or foreign aid absolutely needs to go. But when it comes to actual defense, I see no way out of it. America is the imperialist nation now, but if we didn’t do it, especially if we collapsed into an anarcho-capitalist libertarian paradise, somebody else would likely take us out as the easy targets we are. Private gun ownership helps, and I’m in favor of relegalizing automatic weapons, but I don’t think priivate militas could entirely protect us if, say, China wanted to take us over. We need a minimal government to provide defense as deterrent, and frankly, that’s a security I’m willing to pay a tiny percentage of my income for.
    Police and courts also strike me as essential public services. If they didn’t exist, law would be defined by those who have the most resources, and the poor would never get justice. I’m not jealous of the rich, but I’m jealous of the powerful who would use their money to steal from the poor. If taxation must “Steal” to ensure that private stealing cannot occur, I think its a necessary evil.
    Roads. I know Walter Block wrote an entire book on this point, debunking my view, and I want to read it at some point. My take, however, is that there’s only a limited amount of space in the world, and the way we access other markets is through roads. For the market to work correctly, all choices (That we can afford) must be available to choose from, and if you can’t travel to a market, you can’t access it. If you have a road next to your property, that’s the only way out ,and they’re charging a hundred dollars to drive to the stopsign, you’re imprisoned in your house unless you comply. I don’t normally go for “Exploitation”, but if its a necessity and geography doesn’t allow competition, I’m sorry but that’s exploitation. Public roads have their own problems of course, but lack of accessibility is not one of them.
    Education. I differ from vouchers advocates in an important area, although I think they have the right idea. They shouldn’t let you choose which public school, they should let you choose which private school (Within a certain price range.) Government shouldn’t be dictating what is taught. They should, however, ensure that everyone has an education. Most libertarians would disagree with me here, but I’m with Jefferson, the people cannot be responsible for their own government unless they’re educated.
    That’s about it. I can’t think of anything else that government absolutely needs to be doing, and so I’d agree that its pretty much blatant theft to use taxation for virtually any other purpose. I don’t know exacly what the services I want would cost, probably no more than 5-10% of the GDP, which I think is a justifiable price to pay in this case.
    Regarding the whole conservative “Everyone should pay their fair share” VS Libertarian “Cut taxes as much as possible” I think that’s a tricky one for a non-anarchist libertarian to deal with (For the anarchist its obvious, hack away at the system until there’s nothing left to hack.) I do think that since the government provides services for everyone, then everyone should pay something. At the same point, I don’t really go for FairTax and the like. Any “Tax reform” that doesn’t reform spending is epically missing the point. Making the government only take its fair share is more important than making sure everyone pays their fair share.
    The anarchists are going to understandably really hate me after this post (Or at least start screaming that I’m not a real Libertarian) but that’s my take.

  • You may be underestimating the resiliency of an anarcho-capitalist free society. True, it may not last forever (the closest examples to such a society in history obviously do not exist anymore), but does anything? Sustainability takes sustained effort. At any rate, perhaps you would benefit from reading Robert Murphy’s short book “Chaos Theory”, which you can obtain for free as an ebook from the Mises Institute (just google it, you’ll find it no problem).

    Lastly, while I might disagree with you on points I cannot hate you for disagreement. :)

  • David

    Has an anarcho-capitalist society ever existed? IIRC Block said that it never has, although it has come close.

    I really hate the argument I’m about to use since neocons use it so often, but I think the modern world does make imperialism a lot easier and so having a defense against it is quite important, and not just from local neighbors, but from the whole world.

    If we were still in an era where we only really had to interact with our local neighbors, this might be less of a problem. Canada isn’t going to attack us. Mexico isn’t going to attack us. But would China? Well, probably not right now, but if we had an absolutely pathetic defense, maybe. I mean, look at how many nations America has attacked already? And we’re the so-called “Good guys” (Not really but you get what I’m saying.)

    “Lasting forever” is an unfair criterion for an ancap society, but I would say that ability to protect people from aggression, or at the very minimum, punish people who commit aggression, is a fair criterion IMO.

    I’ll look up “Chaos theory”, thanks:)