Outrage over the IRS targeting of certain political groups has created a groundswell of demands for investigations, special prosecutors, resignations, and impeachment. Likewise, the calls for reforming the IRS or changing the tax code to a flat tax or a fair tax are promulgated by those seeking change. Unfortunately, most pundits, politicians, and even liberty minded groups are missing the big picture.
The question of utmost importance is the relationship between the citizen and the government as well as society in general. Unquestionably, it is self-evident that all our political societies – state and federal — are formed from the consent of the governed. In a constitutional republic the majority can never vote away the rights of the minority. In our political societies the smallest minority is the individual.
Furthermore, the basis of our political societies rest upon the bedrock principle that every person has certain unalienable rights; amongst them are life, liberty, and property. Most people comprehend the basic tenet that they have an unalienable right to their life. Implicitly, each person then must sustain their own life. The means of sustaining life is to labor; to produce. Therefore, we must acknowledge each person has a right to property in order to sustain their life. This is the basis for property rights.
Without an absolute right to property a person has absolutely no means to sustain his primal objective to sustain his life. The absence of life renders property meaningless just as the absence of property rights renders life meaningless.
We know that man pre-dated government just as we know the voluntary, non-coerced acts of the people exercising their right of self-determination created all our political societies. Implicitly, both the right to life and the right to the means and product to sustain life pre-dated political societies.
This begs the question; does the State have a pre-emptive right to your property? If yes, then the State has a claim against your labor and your property ahead of your own claim. In other words, the State has qualified or limited your right to life because the State has claimed some, or all, of your property.
A natural law, Lockean mind acknowledges certain unalienable rights, that man pre-dates government, and, when forming political societies people delegate a minimal set of rights in exchange for better securing the rights they retain. Contrast that with the collectivist mindset. The collectivist mind says the greater good must be served first. The State comes before the people. Jean-Jacques Rousseau posits that when people leave a state of nature and form political societies they forfeit or alienate all their rights to the State and the State decides what people may or may not have.
In this collectivist mind, the State is the sole and final arbiter of life and property. The State interposes itself and claims first right to your property. You labor to produce and the State determines what you can keep to sustain your life.
This is the foundation for modern day taxation; the State supersedes individual rights to life and liberty.
Hypothetically, the State imposes a claim – a tax – on 100% of your property. You labor and the State confiscates everything you produce. The State then decides where you live, in what conditions, what property you can and cannot have, what you can eat, etc. The States is omnipotent and omnipresence. You are nothing less than a slave laboring to produce for the State and the State holds absolute power over your life and property.
Now, if the State imposes a 50% tax on your property. At best you are half free and half slave.
Regardless of the tax percentage the State’s claim to your property supersedes your rightful claim to property you labored to produce. This is exacerbated because the size and scope of government has grown enormously where the ability to sustain the State requires the State to confiscate more and more property. Over time people believe it is the State itself that is responsible for society and all economic activity therefore people clamor how taxation is needed or the economy or society would fail. That is simply hogwash. Society is a blessing but government isn’t the catalyst that creates these interactions amongst people. For more on this read this article Society is a Blessing; So Let Us Try Liberty.
The most common responses are to institute a fair tax or a flat tax. I am opposed to both and will explain briefly. The fair tax is a consumption tax. In constitutional terms it is really an indirect tax as it is collected at the point of purchase and then remitted to the government. The person is not directly taxed. Indirect taxes hid the impact of taxes on the citizen. Moreover, a consumption tax on all final goods and services is a tax on your life. You are forced to pay the tax even to sustain your life. You cannot go without food and water and other basic necessities. Even today, you are forced to pay a state and federal taxes on gasoline which is needed for you to labor and produce property that the State then lays another claim to via an income tax. Lastly, a consumption tax would be more burdensome for people that earn less. Since the median income is roughly $50,000 the burden will fall mostly on those that can least afford it. Most fair tax plans actually have built in minimums, rebates, or pre-bates for lower income earners, etc. In the end the fair tax isn’t a flat tax.
A flat tax, by itself, changes nothing. A consolidation from six tax brackets to one tax bracket doesn’t change the complexity of the tax code. The tax code itself is a problem because it used by elected officials to raise campaign funds in exchange for special preferences and to bludgeon political opponents. The tax code supports the States assertion that they have a claim on your property before you.
At this point you may be asking, what is the solution? My solution is to abolish the IRS in its entirety and repeal the 16th amendment. The United States functioned without an income tax for 120 years. The biggest economic boom in the Union occurred from the 1860s to 1910. There was no income tax (leaving aside Lincoln’s unconstitutional income tax to fund the Civil War). The currency grew stronger. People lived and survived without the Internal Revenue Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, Department of Interior, Homeland Security, Department of Labor, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, Social Security, Medicare, Federal Communications Commission, Transportation Security Administration, etc. Not to mention the dozens to hundreds of foundations, commissions, and quasi-government agencies/entities.
Really, how could mankind have survived for so long without all these government agencies? Many thousands of years and man has survived without a Department of Education. Suddenly, the Department of Education is so vitally important that we could not survive without the government involved in education. To believe this is to be a subject, a serf, a tool for the federal supremacists.
The government leviathan is littered with bureaucrats that are unelected and unaccountable to the people. Congress has abrogated its powers to executive branch agencies that pass rules and regulations that are treated as law. Bureaucrats, drunk with power, infest offices and cubicles throughout the land. These bureaucrats were here before the current administration and will be here after the current administration. Just because we’ve seen the faces to three bureaucrats on Capitol Hill this week, know there are millions more of them out there. Recall, one of the grievances stated in the Declaration of Independence was “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.”
Without a complete elimination of the IRS (and other agencies) and the repeal of the 16th amendment, government continues to claim priority over your property which, ultimately, is a claim over your life. Government will continue to eat out our substance. To restore the relationship between the citizen and government and to return society to a more natural state of affairs these changes are necessary.