How Governments Justify Theft is a Fallacy: Wealth Was Created before Taxation
Do we owe society taxes?
Tax day is tomorrow. Some people get excited because they will get money back which the government withheld–a clever trick that makes people feel less oppressed and plundered by filing taxes.
Something the regressive left likes to say is that taxes are justified because of the infrastructure of society, provided by the government, makes all earning possible. It is, therefore, only fair to share some of that wealth to continue funding the common property. They say the rich would never have gotten rich without government provided services, and that is why they owe the government.
An up and comer on the left who we will unfortunately not stop hearing from anytime soon has weighed in on why we owe taxes to society. This is an old but relevant quote since progressive champion Elizabeth Warren will probably be a White House contender soon enough. While running for Senate she said:
There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody! You built a factory out there, good for you, but I want to be clear, you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that mauraduing bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did… But part of the underlying social contract is that you take a hunk of that, and pay forward for the next kid that comes along.
I think she slipped up there. Do you see it? Warren says that if the government didn’t provide security for the factory, the business owners would have to “hire someone to protect against” marauding bands. And she is correct in that.
What she leaves out is that their money is already stolen to pay for the police. So why on earth would they say no thanks to a service for which they were forced to pay? (Well, I guess because the police do a terrible job. Most factories do in fact hire their own security in addition to the police that “the rest of us” paid for.)
And this is the whole issue: Which came first, the government or wealth?
Clearly, a business first has to have money in order to be taxed. And it makes sense to think that since the infrastructure already exists, it helps people to earn money. And it does, but it was all paid for first by privately produced wealth.
Think about it, the very first tax payers were farmers that were conquered by herders and forced to pay a share of their yield to the nomadic invaders. The herders realized they could make this a regular thing if they didn’t murder all the farmers, and thus government was born.
Not murdering the people was the first service which government ever provided. Boy, are we lucky to have them!
Ironic that Warren says taxes are paid to basically prevent from happening the very thing which began the existence of government. It was extortion from the very beginning. The farmers paid protection money to their government.
Who was the main threat? The government. The mafia does the same thing.
But looking at the first taxpayers shows that they necessarily had to have earned something and created wealth before they were taxed on it.
And this means we are building on a stolen foundation. It means we didn’t need the government to make wealth creation possible in the very first place. Based on the very function of government, which only came into existence after the first farmers had created wealth, this proves that it is possible to create wealth without that magnificent infrastructure for which “the rest of us” paid.
Warren said it herself when she admitted the factories could simply purchase their own protection. But what they are really paying for, is protection from the people they are paying, the government.
So is taxation the price we pay for the society government has built around us? Without a doubt, certain things taxes pay for are used by everyone living in society and thus contribute to business, like roads for shipping.
And even though the government is used to providing these things, the question remains are taxes what we owe to society for the opportunity to do business? Or did wealth have to be created first before taxes could be paid?
Justifying the Upward Redistribution of Wealth
Everything government does is done with tax dollars, therefore first something of value had to be created before they could tax anything.
So then why do people argue that we owe the government taxes because they have made everything we earn possible?
We wanted to add a Bernie Sanders quote since he was vocally against the wealthy. He is one of the most powerful U.S. Senators at this point, with his unspent war chest of individual campaign donations, and an army of useful idiots.
But it turns out the man said remarkably little for how much he talked. It was all catch phrases and the same repeated lines about how immoral it is to be wealthy. The rich need to pay their “fair share” he says, but that doesn’t actually answer the question of why anybody should have to pay taxes. We all need to be robbed equally?
There are certain ways to become wealthy which are immoral, such as securing government contracts, government bailouts, government grants, government loans, and government subsidies. But Bernie’s support for higher taxes would only exacerbate that upward transfer of wealth.
Sanders actually never tried to justify why the rich owe taxes, his only criticism seemed to be that they were wealthy. He repeated over and over that they basically stole this wealth from the middle class, but offered no real examples other than the Wall Street bailouts (which yes, were theft on their part, but again that was a government transfer of wealth, which giving the government more power would only increase).
Turns out what Bernie was doing has been done since the beginning of government. Jared Diamond explains the origins of Chiefdoms in his book Guns, Germs, and Steel:
These noble and selfish functions are inextricably linked, although some governments emphasize much more of one function than of the other. The difference between a kleptocrat and a wise statesman, between a robber baron and public benefactor, is merely one of degree: a matter of just how large a percentage of the tribute extracted from producers is retained by the elite, and how much the commoners like the public uses to which the redistributed tribute is put…
Make the masses happy by redistributing much of the tribute received, in popular ways. This principle was as valid for Hawaiian chiefs as it is for American politicians today.
Clearly, Bernie is a big fan of the redistribution method; his free college proposals sound pretty good to his young target demographic.
So basically, these “progressive” stars are actually regressing to the oldest forms of government which always looted and tricked the masses into supporting their power grabs and wealth confiscation.
The government didn’t create the wealth in society, and they didn’t even make that wealth creation possible. They simply stole the wealth that others created and redistributed it in obvious and popular ways. They monopolized mechanisms like roads and security in order to make it seem like the government is the only method of laying the infrastructure to create wealth.
But clearly wealth came before taxation, otherwise, there would have been nothing to tax! The premise of their justification for theft is a fallacy.