Is Taxation Outdated?
In the 1700s, the United States of America separated from Britain. In the 1800s, slavery was outlawed. In the 1900s, women were granted the right to vote. In the 2000s, could mandatory taxation be abolished?
The concept of reducing mandatory taxation is often the biggest hurdle for people to overcome when they are presented with the principles of freedom and self-ownership. Many are too frightened by the notion to even consider how it might play out. We are generally educated (largely by the government) in a manner that encourages us to support the antiquated, authoritarian, and depraved practice wherein government takes money from people by force each time it changes hands. We are convinced that without taxation, the sick, the elderly, the disabled, and even the youth would have no hope of surviving in this world. We learn that government extortion is justified by a ‘democratic’ and ‘fair’ and ‘representative’ voting system. Our voting system may be rigged and it may be authoritarian, but it is certainly not ‘representative’, nor is it ‘fair’.
In addition to their massive federal income tax burden, the average resident of New Hampshire pays around $4,000 per year in state taxes. If you’ve ever been furious about being forced to pay $600 to register your vehicle before being allowed to drive it (on the very roads that you paid for) or if you’ve wondered why you are forced to pay $5,000 per year for the privilege of living in the house that you bought, I implore you to consider that the New Hampshire government could raise enough money to fund their state budget (which seems to be around $6 billion per year, presently) without taking money from anyone by force. Indeed, the government could generate revenue without the threat of violence - they already do!
Below are a few methods of raising money for the government's budget using only voluntary revenue generation and without any force:
Along with 44 other states in the US, the NH government operates a lottery system. Many stores throughout the state sell NH state lottery tickets. A quarter of the gross proceeds go to the state budget for education. This program has contributed over $2 billion to the state's education budget since its inception in 1964.
In 2017, New Hampshire passed a law which allowed for Keno (a lottery game played at stores) to be used to help fund full-day kindergarten. In its first six weeks, the program yielded over $1 million in sales.
Unlike taxation/extortion which is collected using the threat of violence, people purchase lottery tickets because they want to, whenever they feel like it!
In partnership with the NH Dept. of Transportation, the ‘Adopt-A-Highway’ program maintains highways using volunteers and funds generated via advertising. Simply put, businesses pay a few hundred dollars per month or supply volunteers for cleanup in exchange for their company name being shown on a sign along the highway. The business receives advertising, the highway remains clean, and nobody is robbed of their hard earned money.
Currently, Subway, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, IHOP, Denny’s, Whole Foods, Weight Watchers, AAA, Hampton Inn, Waste Management, and many other companies voluntarily do business with Adopt-A-Highway in exchange for advertising. Evidently, these businesses see value in this exchange. If they did not want to spend money on the program, they wouldn’t. When we voluntarily transfer our money to another party, we are inherently affirming that we see more value in the product or service we receive than in the money we pay for it. When you spend a dollar on a coffee, you are essentially telling the cashier that you want the coffee more than you want that dollar bill. When one party uses violence or threatens to use violence, this exchange becomes unbalanced and is no longer moral.
Cleverly utilizing buses, bus stops, and their websites as space for advertising, the Nashua and Manchester transit authorities receive money from businesses that want to place their advertisement in front of hundreds of thousands of commuters. Manchester, Concord, Goffstown, Nashua, and many other cities and towns encourage businesses to ‘Adopt A Site’, as well.
Companies spend nearly 200 billion dollars per year on advertising in the US. Why wouldn’t governments want to receive their ‘fair share’ of that gold mine? If that isn't enough incentive, maybe abolishing mandatory, unethical, and inherently violent taxation could encourage the government to step into the future of revenue generation.
Fee for service?
While I hesitate to endorse any government entity, especially those which give the government power in the economy, they do provide another tool which government could utilize to generate revenue without the use of force. The NH state government currently operates 82 liquor stores. Due to the inexpensive, untaxed products and the large variety of wines and liquors, consumers voluntarily give their money to the government stores in exchange for liquor and wine products. The NH Liquor & Wine stores earned $160 million in profit in 2016.
Additionally, the government should either abolish their schools or they should simply charge parents tuition and compete with the rest of the free market - like every other business has to do.
The NH state government and local governments operate many programs. These programs should fund themselves by simply charging a fee for their usage. This is the basic premise of tolls. If the government wants our money for a service or product, they should play fairly like the rest of society does. They should earn our money. If the government did not steal (property/education) taxes from you, would you voluntarily pay the same amount to send your children to government schools as you would for private schools? I could assume your answer. And that is precisely my point. We all have to earn our money. Why should politicians get away with using monopolies, extortion, and mafia tactics to make their money?
“That's great, Alu. But the state budget is like six billion dollars per year. The NH government could never raise that much money voluntarily!”, argues the liberal.
A few rebuttals, if I may:
Firstly, nothing justifies theft or extortion. A ‘6 billion dollar budget’ certainly does not justify the violation of property rights. If you are not earning enough money, is the solution to a) minimize expenses, b) improve your product, or c) use violence to obtain more money?
I think that the first and second options could work and are often appropriate. I do not like the violent option, though. Shouldn’t the government be held to the same moral standards that all humans are?
Secondly, the budget could easily be trimmed by a few billion dollars if NH politicians would stop promising to redistribute (an ever-increasing amount of) our hard earned money to those who choose not to work. It could be trimmed by another $1.5 billion if the state government stopped funding government schools (don't worry, local governments in NH still spend $3 billion per year on government schools). Ending the forcible redistribution of wealth (welfare) would shave another $500 million per year from the state budget.
Thirdly, the NH government could reasonably raise $6 billion per year by utilizing and expanding upon the three methods outlined in this article.
Fourthly, If the citizens felt that politicians were appropriately using the money they were entrusted with, surely they would donate to the government when they feel it is necessary. If these methods of revenue generation fall short of the proposed budget, there is nothing stopping New Hampshire residents (who happen to be the richest in the nation) from voluntarily writing a check to the state government to close the fiscal gap!
Regardless of whether your justification for mandatory extortion was that it seems necessary or whether you believed that we were truly represented by the current voting system, the defense for taxation has been logically dismantled. Politicians do not represent us. Taxation is not moral. Taxation is not necessary. We now have the 21st-century solution for government funding. It is time to stand up to the corrupt, immoral bullies who extort our money to enrich themselves. It is time to start respecting property rights. It is time to condemn all violence and theft. It is time for a truly peaceful and prosperous society.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views held by The Liberty Block or any of its contributors or members.