As the April 15 deadline for taxes rapidly approaches, many families across the country will be feeling the sting as they get a glimpse at how much of their livelihood has been pickpocketed from their bank accounts by Uncle Sam. Yes, as radical and foreign as it may sound to the ears, taxes are a form of legalized theft that violates the most basic of natural rights, namely the right of property ownership.
When most people think of property ownership, they tend to think of the land they might own or the vehicle they drive, but rarely do they think of the money they earn through a hard day’s work as their own private property. Yet that is exactly what it is. After a person trades their most precious commodity, that of time, to an employer in exchange for dollars, the money belongs to that individual and unless the person decides to give or exchange that money for products or services that improve the quality of life, no one has the right to deprive them of it. Yet this is exactly what the federal government does every day by deducting taxes before an employee even receives their paycheck.
Since every person has the natural right to earn and keep their own property, taxes are a form of theft and despite being legalized by the federal government, it is a violation of rights that should be opposed at every turn. Before the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, the federal government was constitutionally allowed to collect taxes, but not from a person’s income. As former Representative Ron Paul once said, when someone earns a dollar, they are entitled to keep the whole dollar.
The government, according to all of the foundational documents that it, exists to serve the people and protect their rights and freedoms. All of the powers the government possesses are supposed to be from the consent of the governed. What if people today have not consented to a particular law or power granted to the government in generations past? Should that activity continue to be legal? More importantly, what gives the state the right to forcibly take someone’s property and give it to someone else? Are regular citizens allowed to participate in such an activity? If someone were to hold a neighbor at gun point, steal their property, and give it away, would that not be frowned upon in modern society? Of course it would.
Taxes are stealing, and just about all people from all cultures would agree that theft is wrong no matter who the thief happens to be. While many attempt to justify the redistribution of wealth through taxation by stating that the money goes to programs to help the poor, the fact of the matter is that forced charity is not charity at all. And while people living in poverty is a horrible reality, redistribution of wealth actually perpetuates the problem by destroying jobs through high taxes on business owners.
There are only three ways that a society can produce wealth. One method is through inheritance, which is when someone else voluntarily gives you their wealth. The second is when you trade your time, skills, creativity, and good old fashioned elbow grease to earn a living. Finally, there is the method of the federal government, which uses threats of imprisonment and other harsh consequences to force their hand into the pockets of the people and take their property. If taxes are a form of legalized theft, why do Americans continue to put up with it?
Opinion by Michael Cantrell