“If, as Victor Hugo supposedly said, there’s nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come,” Dave Gonigam of 5 Min. Forecastfame wrote recently, “what are we to make of this chart?”
That’s right. #TaxationisTheft is trending. And it’s undoubtedly rubbing salt in many fresh wounds today — all across the Land of the Free.
That said, expect an onslaught of “Taxation is Theft” memes to flood your newsfeeds. (Unless, of course, you refuse to associate with criminals on social media.)
You might catch — or, if it suits your fancy, share — one of these:
Or even this one…
If you missed it last week, the #TaxationisTheft campaign ‘officially’ kicked off in Texas. Kory Watkins of The Free Thought Project bought front row seats at a Texas Rangers game to show off his shirt…
“If you are confused by the term ‘taxation is theft,’” Jay Syrmopoulos, founder of the Free Thought Project writes, “just think of the government as people without any special privileges, as they are meant to be representatives of the people, not omnipotent beings granted special rights.”
“If an average person takes money from someone under the threat of force it is called robbery, but if the government does it it’s considered legal and moral, and is called ‘taxation.’”
If your neighbor Frank, in other words, came up to you with a gun and forced you to give him all your money, he would be sent to jail.
But if your neighbor Frank wore a badge (or an “Official” ID Tag) and a silly uniform and robbed you blind (under the threat of being locked in a cage or worse), most would call it a “service.” Paid for by your tax dollars.
Frank, as you know, will be an idiot with or without the badge. In the second scenario, though, he’s a dangerous idiot who, magically, doesn’t have much to worry about in regard to responsibility for his actions.
“No one ever agreed to this arrangement,” Syrmopoulos goes on, “it has been forced on millions of people against their will, and a long list of justifications have been created to convince people that they are not being stolen from.
“And while there are social welfare programs and infrastructure projects that benefit some people, this is a minuscule fraction of the total amount stolen by the government in the form of taxes. The vast majority of the money that is brought in through taxes is used for bureaucratic budgets, collection enforcement and paying the costs associated with maintaining a global military empire.
“Since the government is allowed to extract money from its citizens by the barrel of a gun, this guarantees that they will have funding for any kind of project they want, even if those projects are unpopular with taxpayers. This is because the public has no choice but to pay taxes, therefore they have no say in how their money is used.”
A system of voluntary taxation — one where Americans give only to programs that, on the recipient’s and giver’s terms, actually help uplift our communities — would be an enormous step to giving power back to the people.
Which is why, of course, taxation is not voluntary. (Hence, why it’s theft.)
“When you see an entire wedding party killed in Afghanistan by an armed U.S. drone,” Syrmopoulos reminds us, “be aware that the weapons that killed them were purchased with the money stolen from you under threat of violence.”
As Judge Napolitano puts it in today’s featured article below, there are only three ways to acquire wealth in a free society: “The inheritance model occurs when someone gives you wealth. The economic model occurs when you trade a skill, a talent, an asset, knowledge, sweat, energy or creativity to a willing buyer. And the mafia model occurs when a guy with a gun says: ‘Give me your money or else.’
Guess which one we have? (Psst… Mafia.)
How did this counterproductive system begin? Where are its roots? Well, for that, we’ve invited Judge Napolitano to explain.
Taxation is Theft
By Judge Napolitano
With a tax code that exceeds 72,000 pages in length and consumes more than six billion person hours per year to determine taxpayers’ taxable income, with an IRS that has become a feared law unto itself, and with a government that continues to extract more wealth from every taxpaying American every year, is it any wonder that April 15th is a day of dread in America?
Social Security taxes and income taxes have dogged us all since their institution during the last century, and few politicians have been willing to address these ploys for what they are: theft.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry caused a firestorm among big-government types during the Republican presidential primaries last year when he called Social Security a Ponzi scheme. He was right. It’s been a scam from its inception, and it’s still a scam today.
When Social Security was established in 1935, it was intended to provide minimal financial assistance to those too old to work. It was also intended to cause voters to become dependent on Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Democrats.
FDR copied the idea from a system established in Italy by Mussolini. The plan was to have certain workers and their employers make small contributions to a fund that would be held in trust for the workers by the government.
At the time, the average life expectancy of Americans was 61 years of age, but Social Security didn’t kick in until age 65. Thus, the system was geared to take money from the average American worker that he would never see returned.
Over time, life expectancy grew and surpassed 65, the so-called trust fund was raided and spent, and the system was paying out more money than it was taking in — just like a Ponzi scheme. FDR called Social Security an insurance policy. In reality, it has become forced savings. However, the custodian of the funds — Congress — has stolen the savings and spent it. And the value of the savings has been diminished by inflation.
Today, the best one can hope to receive from Social Security is dollars with the buying power of 75 cents for every dollar contributed. That makes Social Security worse than a Ponzi scheme. You can get out of a Ponzi investment. You can’t get out of Social Security. Who would stay with a bank that returned only 75 percent of one’s savings?
The Constitution doesn’t permit the feds to steal your money. But steal, the feds do.
At one of last year’s Republican presidential debates, a young man asked the moderator to pose the following question to the candidates: “If I earn a dollar, how much of it am I entitled to keep?” The question was passed to one of the candidates, who punted, and then the moderator changed the topic. Only Congressman Ron Paul gave a serious post-debate answer to the young man’s question: “All of it.”
Every official foundational government document — from the Declaration of Independence to the U.S. Constitution to the oaths that everyone who works for the government takes — indicates that the government exists to work for us. The Declaration even proclaims that the government receives all of its powers from the consent of the governed. If you believe all this, as I do, then just as we don’t have the power to take our neighbor’s property and distribute it against his will, we lack the ability to give that power to the government. Stated differently, just as you lack the moral and legal ability to take my property, you cannot authorize the government to do so.
Here’s an example you’ve heard before. You’re sitting at home at night, and there’s a knock at the door. You open the door, and a guy with a gun pointed at you says: “Give me your money. I want to give it away to the less fortunate.” You think he’s dangerous and crazy, so you call the police. Then you find out he is the police, there to collect your taxes.
The framers of the Constitution understood this. For 150 years, the federal government was run by user fees and sales of government land and assessments to the states for services rendered. It rejected the Hamiltonian view that the feds could take whatever they wanted, and it followed the Jeffersonian first principle that the only moral commercial exchanges are those that are fully voluntary.
This worked well until the progressives took over the government in the first decade of the 20th century. They persuaded enough Americans to cause their state legislatures to ratify the Sixteenth Amendment, which was designed to tax the rich and redistribute wealth. They promised the American public that the income tax would never exceed 3 percent of income and would only apply to the top 3 percent of earners. How wrong — or deceptive — they were.
Yet, the imposition of a federal income tax is more than just taking from those who work and earn and giving to those who don’t. And it is more than just a spigot to fill the federal trough. At its base, it is a terrifying presumption. It presumes that we don’t really own our property. It accepts the Marxist notion that the state owns all the property and the state permits us to keep and use whatever it needs us to have so we won’t riot in the streets. And then it steals and uses whatever it can politically get away with. Do you believe this?
There are only three ways to acquire wealth in a free society. The inheritance model occurs when someone gives you wealth. The economic model occurs when you trade a skill, a talent, an asset, knowledge, sweat, energy or creativity to a willing buyer. And the mafia model occurs when a guy with a gun says: “Give me your money or else.”
Which model does the government use? Why do we put up with this?
[Ed. note: This article originally appeared on Reason at this link.]
Author, A Nation of Sheep