Also see no tariffs
Taxes are a form of capitalism, in that it is privilege or gratuitous appropriation, i.e. usury, with artificial “rights” which similarly sanction or operate on theft. In the case of taxes though, the theft is not a portion of output or product siphoned off by bosses, but by government. Taxes does exactly what capitalists do: seek rent/profit via skimming surplus-value (rent) from those that contribute to production after/before they get paid. However, in the case of taxes the books are open, and the state tells you exactly what they are taking, or rather what you will hand over to the bag man and gunman. Capitalist economists try to separate rent from profit saying rent does not include “risks” whereas profits do. Risk on money making money is gambling, whether it’s your own money or stolen. Either way, taxes, or capitalism, is theft, and unjustifiable as rather than funding the excesses of capitalist bosses, taxes funds the excesses of the state (not that it has any right to anything to begin with). In regards to risk, there is no risk to the state other than someone trying to escape the theft, those robbed however, are under the threat of violence should they not pay up:
Let’s postulate two sorts of robbery scenarios.
In one, a lone robber points a gun at you and takes your cash. All libertarians would recognize this as a micro-example of any kind of government at work, resembling most closely State Socialism.
In the second, depicting State Capitalism, one robber (the literal apparatus of government) keeps you covered with a pistol while the second (representing State-allied corporations) just holds the bag that you have to drop your wristwatch, wallet and car keys in. To say that your interaction with the bagman was a “voluntary transaction” is an absurdity. Such nonsense should be condemned by all libertarians. Both gunman and bagman together are the true State. Brad Spangler
Tax is a rent/profit, as the state claims a credit or a right to ownership of material and immaterial resources that grant the appropriation of surplus based on a relation of distribution other than any normal function in the process of production. In other words, surplus-value/profit expropriation from:
1. interest or financial rent- privatization of currency and public debt
2. scarcity, natural or artificial (monopoly, Intellectual Property Rights)
3. ground rent– the transformation of land and labor into fictitious commodities- de-socialization, re-socialization and then new de-socialization
Taxes is similar to 3, but may be its own category. Taxes is part of a larger problem created by the state as it can foster state-induced cartelizations of industry that distort labor markets by reducing the number of buyers/business, ultimately creating an oligopsony. Number 1 is Capitalism/interest which grows money supplies, and often inflation. For example, if there were only $100 in the world, and $5 were loaned at an interest rate of $1 on pay back, where would the $1 come from if there were only $100 in existence? Interest requires a money supply increase (until a point where the supply and loaned/interest have reached a balance). With more money supplied, the risk of more loans/interest may follow, in turn demanding the supply increases. A larger supply of money can lower purchasing power, i.e. cause inflation. Currencies can be devalued so $1 has more purchasing power to offset inflation, but ultimately interest translates to money supply growth, and devalued currencies, which in turn often translates into a need for more loans, and therefore a supply growth need…and on and on…
While it may not be prudent for an anarchist/libertarian to use the Declaration of Independence to justify freedom or independence form a master sovereign, Karl Hess did so in a sensible manor when he submitted his 1040:
The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America establishes a bill of particulars in regard to intolerable infringements, abuses, and denials of political power which belongs to the people.
The Federal government of the United States of America today is guilty of exactly every sort of infringement, abuse, and denial stated as intolerable by the Declaration of Independence.
I cannot, in conscience, sanction that government by the payment of taxes.
Further, the Federal government of the United States of America has established as a principle, and ruthlessly by the power of its officials enforces as a practice, that it can demand the primary loyalty of the people, that it can exercise all political power on their behalf, that it can wage war without their approval, and that it can and should establish the standards of their behavior and the goals of their lives.
I could not in conscience sanction such a government by the payment of taxes.
Finally, the Declaration of Independence, in the clearest possible language, tells Americans that when a government becomes destructive of the ends of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that it is the right and the duty of the people to abolish such government, to “throw off such government.”
It is in the spirit of that Declaration, and in comradeship with men everywhere who seek freedom and to throw off such governments, that I now refuse to pay the taxes demanded by the government in the attached form.
Originally published in The Libertarian (Forum) Vol. I, No. III May 1, 1969
- “Redistribute Wealth By Heavy Taxes”? It’s Already Been Done
- Pay Taxes or Go Directly to Jail
- “It’s Complicated,” or the Relationship of Market Anarchism with Taxes
- Neoliberalism: All the Taxes of Social Democracy, None of the Fun
- Death and Taxes
- Does Universal Basic Income Require a State?
What’s So Great About Scandinavian Economies?