Thursday, August 16, 2012

Taxes, taxes, and taxes . . .

There is an interesting little discussion going on over a link I recently posted on Facebook.  You can find it here.  Those commenting are wrapped up in a discussion of how best to collect taxes.  That is an interesting, and useful, discussion – and this is not a rebuke to anyone commenting there so far.

But the real problem is not HOW taxes are collected, but HOW MUCH is collected in taxes.  I am not (yet-ha!) an anarchist, so I think there are (a very few) things governments need to do.  But we must remember that the more money that goes to governments, the more governments will do.  Governments ALWAYS expand at least to (and almost always beyond, by borrowing) the money they can collect.

I cringe when I hear conservatives (of which I am not exactly one in some senses of the word) tout the advantages of a particular tax plan because it will, among other things, bring in more revenue for the government.  If you are interested in individual liberty of the political variety, you should not wish more revenue for any government.

More revenue is an invitation for a government to do more.  But the more a government does, the less liberty those under its heal will enjoy.  One good way to increase individual liberty is to partially starve governments.  They should not be starved to death, because there are a few things they need to do.  But they should be on such a lean diet that they do not have the resources to infringe on liberty.

There are, no doubt, more equitable ways to collect taxes than income taxes.  But if the scope of governments were reduced to essential functions, no one would care how taxes were collected because they would be so low no one would notice.  At those rates, what we would notice is a dramatic increase in liberty – and it is a very valuable commodity indeed.

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