Taxation by government, the State, is exacting money, resources, real stuff (slavery not being permitted) by threat of force, or by arrest and detention. Some tax resisters have been killed by government collection agents sent to arrest them. In 1982 I wrote a book[let] titled “The Income Tax Must Go!” and it distributed about 10,000 copies, I believe.
“The Income Tax Must Go!” can be found on the Wayback web site.
Enroute to Moscow in 1989, on the long flight I thought about what I wanted to tell the group at Roskildines University in Riga, about how to set up an independent currency after withdrawing from the Ruble zone.
But my thoughts turned to Milton Friedman’s claim that no currency had ever hyperinflated until its backer lost the power to tax. I was wondering what the new government’s “power to tax” could be? What would truly be “fair” or tax justice?
I could only think that “fair” means equal shares, or equal treatment. Anyone ought to be able to see and agree that all processes were correctly in accord with Justice.
What is “Tax Justice”?
I could think of only one thing: Every human being alive pays the same amount of wealth. The immediate question of how “wealth is measured” becomes the first challenge.
How much should be paid in total by all the living humans in the territory of the government-tax collectors? How should it be divided? One could presume it should be divided equally. That is a fundamental problem because the concept of “wealth” has not been made clear, somehow. One cannot “divide” various intangible factors in “wealth” for particular individual.
Let’s begin by deferring the question of the Tax Base, and look instead directly on the Fiscal demands of the government – the annual budget, enacted by Congress. Disregarding the revenues “forecast” in the budget, what are the “requested outlays”? The outlays are what specific laws pass to give Agency managers money to obligate (spend, but an “account payable”) by the Treasury later.
The actual Total Outlays are the amounts enacted by Congress to be paid in the new fiscal year, October 1 – Sept.30. The House of Representatives, elected directly by The People, have originated all the tax and spending laws The People are expected to obey. They also originate all of the appropriations and authorizations for future spending. All “money” bills must originate in the House of Representatives.
What would be “fair”? Divide the total Outlays proposed by the total population and each person would have to owe, in taxation, their fair share.
Before we look at outrageously large individual numbers, let’s consider the other side of “tax Justice.” Compassion.