Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”     Milton Friedman

February 14, 2006

Taxation Is Theft

by Doug Mataconis

Once again, the great Walter E. Williams tells is like it is as he devastatingly destroys the assertions from the collectivists among us that we have a right to steal from our neighbors.

Do people have a right to medical treatment whether or not they can pay? What about a right to food or decent housing? Would a U.S. Supreme Court justice hold these are rights just like those enumerated in our Bill of Rights?

As Williams so eloquently states, the answer is, or at least should be, an emphatic no:

If it is said a person has rights to medical care, food and housing, and has no means of paying, how does he enjoy them? There’s no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy who provides them. You say, “The Congress provides for those rights.” Not quite. Congress does not have resources of its own. Congress can give one American something only by first, through intimidation, threats and coercion, taking it from another American. So-called rights to medical care, food and decent housing impose an obligation on some other American who, through the tax code, must be denied the right to his earnings. In other words, when Congress gives one American a right to something he didn’t earn, it takes away the right of another American to something he did earn.

If they were alive today, I’m sure that Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Madison would, despite their differences, all agree with Williams, and would find themselves distressed over the reality that faces America today:

Three-fifths to two-thirds of the federal budget consists of taking property from one American and giving it to another. If a private person did the same thing, we would call it theft. When government does it, we euphemistically call it income redistribution, but that’s exactly what thieves do — redistribute income. Income redistribution not only betrays the Founders’ vision, it’s a sin in the eyes of God. I’m guessing that when God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment, “Thou shalt not steal,” I’m sure he didn’t mean “thou shalt not steal unless there was a majority vote in Congress.”

And that’s where the truth of government intervention is made bare. Its theft, plain and simple. Why nobody is willing to acknowledge it is a question that itself raises even more questions about whether America really is committed to the ideals of its Founders.

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2 Comments

  1. I totally agree with Williams, the business of the fed should not be charity, yet in this discussion:
    http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2006/01/17/the-difference-between-reverend-nagin-and-reverend-robertson/#comments

    Eric seemed to be fine with the feds and FEMA providing for the fine folks of New Orleans.

    Comment by John Newman — February 15, 2006 @ 7:42 am
  2. John,

    Maybe I’m dense (no question about that) but could you actually paste the line where you think Eric endorses Fed involvement in NOLA. I don’t see it.

    In regards to the actual post: to make matters worse, the income tax is theft of the worst kind. It’s theft made not to look like theft. By taking money directly out of our check they hide the true damage and cost. Every year I hear peers complain about writing their property tax checks (twice annually). Imagine their complaints if they had to write an income tax check every 3 months? I don’t ask for much on tax reform, I only ask for the elimination of the payroll tax. Let’s pay taxes like every other bill and I think true tax reform would be just over the horizon.

    Comment by Bret — February 15, 2006 @ 12:29 pm

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