Philip Goff ■ No it’s not your money: why taxation isn’t theft


tax is theftA guest blog by Philip Goff.

Many political arguments start from the assumption that taxation is the government taking ‘our money’ off us. When austerity hit the arts in 2011, Dr Steve Davies of the pseudo-think-tank the Institute of Economic Affairs argued on Channel Four news [TJN: a mainstream UK television current affairs programme] that the 20% cuts to the arts didn’t go far enough: art funding should be entirely abolished on the grounds that it’s unfair to take people’s money off them by force to pay for something they may not want. Again and again the economic right stoke resentment at the state allegedly taking what’s ours by force, and use this resentment to build support for a programme of small government.

But even those who believe in relatively big government tend to share this understanding of taxation as the appropriation by government of ‘our money’. Most on the economic left start from the assumption that it is all things being equal a bad thing that the state takes our money from us, but hold that this prima facie bad is justified by the public goods which taxation makes possible. Well-meaning [UK] public intellectual Alain de Botton encourages us to think of taxation as charity: we give up what’s ours for the greater good of our society.

So both sides tend to agree that one has some kind of right or entitlement to one’s pre-tax income. The economic right believe that the right to pre-tax income is inalienable, or at least that it is trumped only by the absolute necessity of providing the basic requirements of society, such as roads and rule of law. In contrast, the economic left tend to value the good of making society more equal, or of providing a basic standard of living for all, above the good of letting people keep their own money.

This feeling that your pre-tax income is ‘your money’ is difficult to shake. It’s hard not to see the pre-tax figure on your payslip as representing what’s really owing to you for the work you’ve done, and hence to feel that the state is taking away from you something that is yours by right. However, a little careful reflection shows this almost universal assumption to be utterly confused. There is no sense in which you have a right to your pre-tax income.

To see this, we have to ask what kind of right it might be supposed one has to one’s pre-tax income. Presumably, it is either a legal right or a moral right. Once we separate out these alternatives, we can see that the former option is incoherent, whilst the latter is utterly implausible.

You clearly don’t have a legal right to your pre-tax income, as you are legally obliged to pay tax on it. This is a simple analytic truth that follows from the definition of taxation. People who don’t take pay their taxes go (or at least legally ought to go) to gaol.

So if there is a general right to one’s pre-tax income, then it must be a moral right. But it is implausible to suppose that each person has a moral right to his or her pre-tax income, for that would imply that the distribution of pre-tax incomes the market happens to throw up is perfectly just, and this is clearly not the case. There is no justice in the fact that the pre-tax income of a City banker is many hundreds of times the pre-tax income of scientist working on a cure for cancer. This is just an accident of the way our market economy is structured. To hold that each person has a moral right to their pre-tax income would be to hold that the market economy just happens to deliver to each person exactly what they deserve, and this is clearly not the case.

Perhaps there are specific cases in which a person happens to deserve their pre-tax income; these would be rare and happy co-incidences in which the market happens to deliver exactly what is deserved. But the mere fact that your pre-tax income is £X does not entail that in any morally significant sense you are entitled to £X. The money the market happens to throw at you is not necessarily the money you deserve. No doubt you have worked hard for that money; no doubt you have made a contribution to the public good; you have special talents that others lack, etc. But others also work hard/are talented/make a contribution, and the market has not taken these morally significant factors into consideration in working out what to give to whom. For better or worse it’s almost certainly not fair that you have what you have relative to what others have got.

It’s the responsibility of law makers, then, not to respect pre-tax incomes, but to disrespect pre-tax incomes. Insofar as the market fails to yield a just distribution of incomes, the state should work to correct that distribution. Of course, to some degree the scope for such correction will be limited by economic realities. The pragmatic argument between right and left as to the relationship between tax levels and incentives to work or invest is a perfectly sensible one. But it is crucial to distinguish the pragmatic argument of the economic right, ‘We must lower taxes in order to encourage investment’, from the moral argument of the economic right ‘We must lower taxes in order to give people more of their money’. The former argument is based on an empirical claim which stands or falls with the data. The latter argument is based on the wholly confused notion that there is something morally significant about the distribution of incomes the market happens to have thrown up.

Your pre-tax income isn’t the money you deserve; it is the money the amoral market has gifted you. A government may have cause to respect the whims of the market as a matter of practical necessity. But the state has no moral reason to respect the whims of the market. The only legitimate bar to redistribution is economic reality. Any politician who thinks it a good thing, in and of itself, to give people more of ‘their money’ is confused.

(A similar argument is made at length in ‘The Myth of Ownership’ by Murphy and Nagel, published by Oxford University Press).

See more on this topic in Tax Justice Focus, 2010.

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Comments • 194

  • AvatarGM
    October 10, 2014 - 9:18 am

    Completely inaccurate, and something only an academic could have written.

    I’m going to ignore the first point about the law, as it’s all but circular. Of course, if the law states you must pay x amount of tax above y threshold, you’re legally obliged to pay it.

    The second point is far more interesting – the morality of income. You write “There is no justice in the fact that the pre-tax income of a City banker is many hundreds of times the pre-tax income of scientist working on a cure for cancer. This is just an accident of the way our market economy is structured.” [sic]

    Of course there is. People are paid in proportion to how much revenue they generate – something that leftists/academics will never understand (the later because they generate no revenue and produce nothing of real economic value, and must be paid out of taxation). A banker who is paid £1m/year is WORTH £1m/year, because he brings in many times more than that to his organisation.

    It is not an ‘accident’ of the way our economy is structured that people are paid based on the revenue they generate. It’s simple common sense, and entirely natural. If you want to see what high levels of redistribution do for an economy, plot a graph of government spending as a proportion of GDP vs GDP per capita for any countries you like. You will find that the more redistribution, the lower the GDP per capita.

    This shouldn’t even need explaining after the Soviet Union led to the collapse of half the world’s economies and the greatest mass murders of the twentieth century, but there we are. I guess it’s easy to argue for redistribution when you’re the one dependant on it.

    • AvatarLaurent ZIBELL
      October 11, 2014 - 8:48 pm

      The argument that a person “generates” or “makes” any amount of money is in general a complete fallacy, since it makes to believe that all persons are direct labour. In modern organisations, the enourmous majority of people working are indirect labour: they contribute to the structure that is productive, but their individual contribution cannot be isolated from that of their colleagues. Even a banker does not signle-handedly generate X MEUR to its bank: s/he is supported by a whole infraxtructure (among which the very name / reputation of the bank), which allows hom/her to be effective. What the respective contributions of the person and of the structure is, is anybody’s guess.

      • Avatartdogg
        May 3, 2016 - 4:42 pm

        “In a voluntary exchange, once each side has delivered and received the agreed contribution, the parties are quits. Seeking to credit and debit them for putative outstanding claims is double counting.”

      • AvatarCale
        June 6, 2017 - 12:16 pm

        While it may be difficult to quantify, marginal productivity is real.

      • AvatarJonathan Ray
        June 13, 2017 - 10:11 pm

        The persons in the best position to evaluate what a good or service is worth are those actually buying it. The ONLY way to find out what anything is worth is to see what people will pay for it on the free market. To speak of how much a laborer “should” earn is as meaningless as to speak of absolute velocity through the luminiferous aether. The only standard of economic value is what people will freely choose to pay for something. So to speak of what people “deserve to earn” is utterly nonsensical. There is no other valid standard economic value against which to compare the outcome of a free market and call it unjust.

        • September 27, 2017 - 8:39 am

          I am forced to pay an extortionate amount for my household water (for example) because the private water company has a complete monopoly on supply and can extort economic rents on that supply. The same applies to my power supply, to my telephone bill, and to many goods and services I buy on a daily basis. The idea that there is perfect competition across all markets quite simply doesn’t reflect everyday realities. Where monopolies exist buyers have no choice other than to pay high prices that monopolists can extract and since many markets are now monopilistic or oligopolistic in structure (think search engines, online retailers, etc) the notion that people “freely choose” to pay a market price is utterly unreal. When I freely chose to pay the water company what I think the price should be they threatened to cut me off. There is no other supplier. Where’s the “free” partr of this market?

          • AvatarLethal
            January 2, 2018 - 4:32 pm

            You’ve got to dig in further here. You stopped at the superficial level. Why does this water “monopoly” exist in your area? Surely if a private company is not fairly treating its customers, it could never stay in business correct? They would just go elsewhere… and there would be room for a new company with better business ethics to take hold.

            The answer 99% of the time is due to government collusion within the marketplace and legal system which has become something which can be used nefariously by those with enough money and/or influence.

            In a true free market, you would have no monopoly that wasn’t held by a company which provided the highest quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices. Our issue today is that we do not have a true free market. We are burdened by crony capitalism and government regulation.

            Don’t take my word for it though. Do your own research. Take a deep look into why that is the only water company in your area and why exactly they seemingly have this “monopoly” when apparently they are greatly over-charging their customers.

          • AvatarMatt
            February 12, 2018 - 9:33 pm

            What is and what ought should be treated as separate. I believe you confuse the two. Taxation is theft.

            Would it be theft if the mob would come up to my doorstep, put a gun to my head, and tell me to pay an x amount? Even if I oblige, it is still theft.

            Why does it make a difference if the mob is called government? If i don’t oblige, I get thrown in a cage. Is this not a contradiction?

            “amoral market”…Hail King Caesar Philip. It’s sad a philosophy professor calls something amoral when the fundamental basis of a market is mutual beneficial exchange. What’s amoral about that? It’s also sad a philosophy professor fails to see the amorality of a system that is based on force and coercion.

          • AvatarLeiska
            March 29, 2018 - 3:27 pm

            First off, you have to differentiate between monopolies and monopoly pricing, because they’re two different things that don’t necessarily go hand in hand. A monopoly (100% market share) can naturally remain only as long as it does not engage in monopoly pricing (cutting production in order to artificially skew the supply/demand equilibrium towards higher prices), because the latter invites an endless stream of price competition that can only be kept at bay though government protection. Thus, a free market cannot endlessly support enterprises engaged in monopoly pricing.

            Every monopoly you can point out does one of two things: 1) offers an utterly unbeatable product or service relative to its cost, or 2) is protected by government. The first option is not harmful to consumers, the latter is.

          • AvatarMisty
            April 3, 2018 - 9:24 pm

            Rain water is quite “free”, and depending on your geographical location; quite abundant. There are ways to both collect, and use that free, natural resource, which you have no choice but to buy. It’s certainly much easier to use the city’s water utilities, the piping and meter structure that they’ve installed, but you have a choice. However, in some places there are many restrictions and ordinances that may limit the collection of rain water, maybe even some that prohibit the practice. You can move to a place that doesn’t. There’s always a choice. Don’t base your agreement with the original author of this post, on so called “monopolies”. The only instance in which there IS NOT a clear choice; is in taxation. Sure, you could choose not to work, I guess, but how you gonna live? Gonna be a bum? That life isn’t for everyone, so for those of us that choose to work; taxes are theft.

            Providers of one service or another may saturate an area; but you’re not forced at gunpoint to use those services in general. You can choose to have a phone. Maybe not necessarily with whom you get your service, but you can choose to have it in the first place. You can choose to have internet or television service. Again, possibly not where, but you have the choice not to. Monopolies do exist in the manner in which you describe, but monopolies DO NOT exist in choice to/or not to partake. Taxes are forced on any working/income receiving human being, and it is theft. The “free part of this market”, is in your choice to buy/partake at all. When someone can legally place a gun to your head, and force you to buy something universally, across the board; the “free market” will then have ceased to exist, and only then.

            Many people realize this, which is why there’s been a massive increase in “off the grid” lifestyles. Nobody really believes they are truly “off the grid”, but they’ve chosen not to be a part of the systems that you’ve mentioned, for the basic reasons that you’ve referenced, but they had a choice. They made it. You’re not forced to buy a service. However, you are forced to pay the price the provider feels it’s worth, if you want the convenience of it. That’s free market. The consumer group eventually determines the price an entity charges. If the consumer group will continue to pay; they’ll continue to charge. If the consumer group begins to back away from choosing a service in a monopolized region; they will be forced to decrease prices, in order to bring back more consumers, or go bust.

          • AvatarLmao
            April 14, 2018 - 6:37 pm

            Except water isn’t privatized sherlock. And you are confusing a forced monopoly with a natural monopoly (that comes through free market competition). Only the government (through coercion) can force a monopoly onto you. Businesses can’t.

          • AvatarJimbo
            May 10, 2018 - 6:39 pm

            What you just described are utilities. You can’t have 5 different power lines coming to your house. You can’t have 5 coaxial cables being sourced from the pole outside, same with telephone. This isn’t a symptom of the free market. It’s the free market being handcuffed.

          • AvatarMorty Smith
            May 30, 2018 - 10:46 pm

            You’re right, it’s not free at all. A free market would’ve eliminated fees for other water companies to start up and compete with a better price, which is why they would generate profit and overthrow monopoly based on their public demand of cheaper prices. When the state throws in these laws to eliminate competition, there is nothing form stopping monopolies from emerging and extorting prices (Some of these extorted prices go back to the state in return for additional laws to secure monopoly). Corrupt monopolies cannot exist privately when there is no stature to bait them into cronyism.

          • AvatarRandall
            October 30, 2019 - 5:58 am

            Leiska, that is so utterly naive to believe only those two scenarios of monopolies exist. Once a monopoly has a large enough grip, they can use that economy of scale and capital to charge MUCH higher than should be possible to make profit, yet low enough to prevent anyone from competing with massive startup and infrastructure costs. In addition, with their huge capital built up, the can eisasly undercut anyone who DOES have a large enough investment to be a threat in the short run, drive them out of buisness, and continue with the price fix. This also completely discourages future attempts.

          • AvatarPatrick Harvey
            August 9, 2021 - 5:37 pm

            You could always dig your own well so you don’t have to pay the water company for water.

      • AvatarGeorge
        November 5, 2019 - 5:23 pm

        People are paid based on how valuable their labor is to the one who pays it, which is why those with a BA in “XXXX-studies” tend to make next to nothing and surgeons and pop stars are well compensated — the labor of the latter is more valued and hence people are willing to pay more for it. My older brother makes about the same as a roofing contractor as I do as a PhD health economist, because our labor is similarly valued by those needing our services, while professors of philosophy tend to be paid less than Us (to which I can attest – for my first academic position after defending, I was offered what a humanities or philosophy professor was paid, and offer raised by 50% when I pointed out that I already had two offers in hand for the higher amount. It was a cause of dissent afterwards that an Assistant Professor was making as much as older tenured faculty).

        In general, those who are complaining that others are overpaid are generally just jealous because the pay differential points out that their own labor and skills are not as valuable as those of the higher paid person…..and they try to hide their jealously behind discredited pseudo-Marxist claptrap.

    • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
      April 17, 2015 - 10:25 am

      Nope. A lot of banking involves wealth extraction, not wealth creation. Via risk-taking to bailouts; etc etc etc. So ‘bringing in’ money isn’t the same as creating wealth, from a country’s perspective. He is not worth that much money, except on the narrow perspective of the bank itself. And you will find, if you actually do the research, that the high-tax countries grow just as fast as the low-tax ones – only without the penalties of high inequality, crime, etc.

      • AvatarGreen
        January 29, 2017 - 7:40 am

        Exactly. In fact, the simplest way to quickly “bring in” a lot of money is through devastation of resources. And that means destroying, not creating wealth.

        • AvatarDW
          April 12, 2017 - 7:35 pm

          Devastation of resources? You mean using resources? If a tree is cut and built into a boat, is value (wealth) created or “devastated”? Obviously value (and thus wealth) is created by the boat-maker.

        • AvatarDamian
          July 29, 2021 - 4:04 am

          Thomas Sowell would argue that resources aren’t equivalent to wealth. It is the utilisation of these resources that generates wealth. He has mentioned that academics often get this point wrong; they think that “wealth exists somewhere out there in the world” – no, that’s wrong. Wealth is created by interacting with the “somewhere out there”.

      • AvatarMatt
        February 12, 2018 - 9:35 pm

        The market thinks otherwise.

        • Avatareg
          September 22, 2018 - 10:01 am

          The market doesn’t think at all.

      • AvatarAaron
        May 21, 2018 - 8:35 pm

        “A lot of banking involves wealth extraction, not wealth creation. Via risk-taking to bailouts; etc etc etc.”

        Are you referring to the central banking system? What does that have to do with the claim that “taxation isn’t theft.”

        The point I got out of the blog is that it’s not theft because of what people “deserve”. This doesn’t make sense to me.
        Maybe I believe jazz musicians deserve to make more than pop musicians. Does that make it okay for me to coerce pop stars into giving away their money?
        The only moral judgement in question here is whether coercion is okay, not what random people believe others deserve.

    • AvatarGreen
      January 29, 2017 - 7:23 am

      That’s completely confused answer. Current economic value has nothing to do with social value (or even economic value in the long run). That’s the whole point. Completely useless, as of now, mathematical theory, might well facilitate whole branch of economy in the future. Cure for cancer is socially worth infinitely more than current economic value generated by some banker (if he/she generates value at all, he/she may well be busy creating new economic crisis).

    • Avatardoug
      July 20, 2017 - 7:56 pm

      There is a big difference between wages and income. Wages are a reward for labor done. Your labor is defined as property, the most sacred kind of property there is. These are unalienable rights. They cannot be taken away from you by anyone. Wages can not be taxed. Income, which belongs to the state, can. Learn the difference. [ 1883: Butchers’ union v Cresent city co. 111 U.S. 746 ] to mention just one of hundreds of cases.
      There are many cases that can be looked up which tell you that tax is by consent only. Too many people are being brain washed watching the Kardashians on tv to even begin questioning what is happening. Turn your TV off and start learning.

      • AvatarLethal
        January 2, 2018 - 4:38 pm

        Exactly, and therein lies the theft. Why in all that is holy would my income be treated any differently than my “wages”? My income is money I earned, it is mine, and mine alone. What anyone chooses to do with their income should be purely their decision. Just because you think you know better than them what they “need” to do with their money does not give you the right to take it, even under the guise of a tax which some state declared via some court decision was their right.

        Just because something is law, or because something was decided in court, does not in any way make it right.

    • AvatarDasJuden
      February 22, 2018 - 4:46 am

      But he doesn’t actually work for his money so in my opinion it doesn’t count. I work with my hands I make things work fix things plant trees I earn my money. Don’t have any respect for somebody who sits in an office and keeps getting richer off already being rich.

    • AvatarJim
      August 10, 2018 - 11:25 pm

      If I cut someone’s grass for 20 dollars, why is someone else more entitled to some of that money than me?

      • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
        September 14, 2018 - 8:55 am

        how did you get to their house to cut their grass? on a road? who paid to lay the tarmac? did any bandits rob you on the way? No? Who paid for the police to stop that kind of stuff? someone’s got to pay for those things. If not the economic operators, then who? Martians?

        • AvatarDamon
          December 23, 2018 - 4:30 pm

          but at no point did anyone agree to pay for those. If i didn’t ask for your service i should not be required to pay you. i could have walked on a dirt path and brought a weapon to fight my own battles.

          • AvatarPatrick Harvey
            August 9, 2021 - 5:39 pm

            Yes, kind of like if someone cuts your grass without your consent, then by no means are you obligated to pay them.

        • AvatarJules
          January 26, 2019 - 12:46 pm

          Many housing estates have the road built buy the developer – as no-one would buy the house otherwise.
          Future repairs may be the responsibility of the estate’s occupiers/owners.

          What about road linking two communities?
          a) the communities could agree to fund a road link
          b) a toll road could be built

          As for “police” – some communities have private security to enforce its rules.
          Of course the discussion can continue along the lines of “what are the rules (laws)” – and “whose rules apply to which community”.

          But by and large humans have arrived at a set of universal laws intended to protect people and property (acknowledging some cultural / religious exceptions)

          So back to “who pays” ?

          Clearly the first community (above) have to decide how many security guards they employ. Maybe one is enough.

          But the seocnd community may be made up of a lot of “liberals” who want to make lots of rules around behaviour and speech.

          Almost inevitably, more rules require more “police” to enforce them – so more cost.

          Let’s have some choice so people can decide which sort of community they want to live in.

          So taxation is still theft …. but I am quite willing to consider a service charge for MY small community – as long as there isn’t some monopolistic, over-bearing entity telling me “what” services “my” community “must” have.

          (But “liberals” find it very hard not to tell others how they should think and behave ….!)

          • AvatarRinon
            July 9, 2019 - 5:04 am

            ‘@Nick Shaxson

            “so, er, how would the rules INSIDE your community work, and who pays for what?”

            Stupid question but I’ll answer it for you anyway. Let’s take a small town to make it easier for you. Let’s say 50 adults and no children live in a rural town. They have a town meeting with 100% turnout and decide that the main road needs an upgrade. They have 2 choices: upgrade it themselves using their own resources, time and effort or hire a company to do it for them. They opt to hire a company and agree to divide the cost evenly amongst all 50 of them.

            Now let’s say instead of all 50 agreeing there were 2 holdouts who didn’t want to pay and instead wanted to do the work themselves. Should they be forced to pay or prohibited from using the road? It would be up to the town to decide. And that’s the point. All arguments in favour of taxation presume that people must be dependant on a governing body to provide all their needs.

            We don’t need to centralise anything. That’s communism and it doesn’t work and never has. If history has taught us anything, it’s that government is terrible at everything.

            Unshackle the free market and the common citizen and you won’t need to worry about who’s going to maintain the roads or provide security. Moreover, you won’t be forever complaining about funds not going where they’re supposed to and that pot-hole never being fixed. Because when communities have their hands and their wallets untied they’ll get that damn pot-hole fixed and properly this time! If the company your town hires to maintain the local roads doesn’t do a good job you hire someone else. If you leave it all up to the government, you have to “write to your local member” and hope they address it. If they don’t, vote someone else in and hope they do something etc. etc. What a joke!

    • AvatarBarrie
      November 11, 2018 - 10:17 am

      If tax is not theft, then why are we forced to pay it under threat of imprisonment if you don’t pay it.

    • Avatarmicheal
      July 16, 2021 - 9:45 am


  • October 15, 2014 - 2:29 pm

    There are two types of wealth. One that is privately created, and one that is commonly created(that is the rental value of land).

    Unfortunately, we socialise private wealth because commonly created wealth is privatised.

    This is double theft, by coercion.

    Quite simply, only the wealth we create together should pay for the services we share together.

    Because this is the only morally correct way of raising revenues, is is also the only one which does not penalise work or enterprise.

    An annual fee for exclusive rights to use land, directly relates to the benefit the payer receives, and is non-coercive, insofar as the payer chooses where to live and do business.

    The opposite of taxes on income and capital. Which are morally, if not legally on a par with theft.

    Pay for what you use, not be penalised for what you produce, is how a just and civilised society should organise its affairs.

    • AvatarBilly.R
      January 1, 2017 - 2:05 am

      Taxes are theft, its either pay or go to jail, now you explain to everyone how that is not theft

      • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
        January 5, 2017 - 9:12 am

        So paying for goods at a supermarket is theft of your money by the supermarket? Taxes pay for roads, courts, schools etc. Taxes are payment for services received. Tax 101.

        • AvatarMason Taylor
          January 27, 2017 - 11:29 pm

          Do you need police, fire, or teachers every day? You as in you the individual.

          • AvatarAngry
            December 11, 2017 - 10:35 pm

            No, and no and no to all, one the police never come their not intrested unless the can capture you doing 31 in a 30 zone and tax you again.

            Fire well let’s face it there over paid and do nothing most of the time.

            And as for teachers well again those that work for state schools are a complete waste of space, most schools now are academies now and a large proportion of their income comes from Coporate sponsors! More privatisation of once public services, yet are taxes keep going up???? Wonder why that is!

        • AvatarMcLovin
          February 8, 2018 - 11:00 pm

          well the roads that are being built or that are built i had no say if i wanted that road or not or if i will ever even use that road. also if they are going to use my money can i come back and demand a refund if i don’t like it within 60 days or whatever my “return time is” on said road? As for the supermarket… no the supermarket is not in the wrong however the entity that is imposing the tax is.

        • AvatarMatt
          February 12, 2018 - 9:40 pm

          “Go and live on a small island somewhere. that’s the choice.”
          False dichotomy, and you are a philosophy professor.

          The roads suck, the public schools are a nightmare, and the courts espouse positive law. So much for taxation.

        • AvatarJames
          March 30, 2018 - 5:46 pm

          Roads are paid for by the gas tax. Schools are paid for by property tax. You voluntarily choose to pay that tax by purchasing gas or buying property. Income tax is not voluntary and is theft.

        • AvatarGuy
          April 7, 2018 - 8:02 pm

          You are an utter buffoon.

          The grocery store doesn’t make you shop at their location under threat of prison.

          As for your ridiculous statement “well, don’t consume the tax-funded public services then” – yeah, I’ll do that when they stop taxing me you knucklehead.

          Herpa derp derrp

        • AvatarGriseld Islamaj
          January 17, 2021 - 9:16 pm

          Let me say this though. I am paying money so that roads on the other side of my country can be built that i will never use, same for hospitals etc…
          I am being taxed on a property that does not generate any revenue. If i have a house i have to pay every year a tax on that property, the money for that tax comes from my wage and income as my house is not generating money, so i have to use money that were already taxed on income to pay for other taxes, that is absolutely wrong.
          I have to pay centralized taxes that serve all the country, whereas a local system would be preferable. I pay tax, that tax goes to my local city and is used for my city, why should i pay the same amount of tax in the countryside as someone living in L.A when the money invested in countryside is miserable compared to L.A? Who is getting the most out of that money? Me or the person living in L.A? Yet we are still paying the same amount of tax. Government tax is also a monopoly, i don’t have the choice to not work and live in the woods hunting and catching fish as all those are government owned, i am not allowed to hunt without a license, not allowed to fish nor camp in the woods, so i am born in this world and i don’t have another choice other than working and paying tax, i am being forced because what i want to do with my life is irrelevant and i will go to jail if i don’t comply with what i’m expected to do, that is coercion and is illegal by definition.
          I’m not saying that modern civilizations are sustainable without some form of contribution for the greater good, but the way the system is built today is outrageous, tax as it’s intended today is theft.
          Also a few things about the article, you backed your statement that tax is not theft with your own statement “tax is not theft by the government, because tax is mandatory by law and you have to pay it”. That is not an argument, you did not provide anything to disprove the idea that tax is theft other than just writing down the definition of why we are required to pay tax(which makes it theft). Second you speak about morality and the discrepancy between wages of different professions, however you state also that since the market is unfair there is no reason it should be fair on the tax part, so if the market is unfair there is no reason to try and make it fair or request that you are given what is yours, because hey the world is not fair and not everyone gets what they deserve so even if you might deserve the pre-tax money who cares, but that is the opposite of how logical thinking should be. Just because a system is wrong doesn’t mean we can simply close our eyes and ignores all the injustice people face and not do anything about it. And not to speak about collusion and corruption in the government, stolen tax money and all kinds of stuff that make us who pay the taxes the least likely ones to get any benefit from them and those who find ways to escape the system the ones that benefit the most from them.

      • AvatarScott
        April 2, 2017 - 7:04 pm

        Right. Taxation clearly is not theft because if a person does not pay taxes that person does or ought to go to jail. A mugger taking a person’s wallet clearly isn’t theft because if the wallet is not surrendered then the person should or ought to be stuck through with a shiv. What nonsense. Market value is determined by human values, what individuals think is good to such a degree that they will surrender other good opportunities for it. It is a fair and efficient moral mechanism based on the moral character of the purchasers. Sure, private people as well as governments will make destructive decisions, but private people know their own needs better and demand more value for their money than a government could. We may worry validly, say, about plastic bags polluting commons such as water in an unregulated environment. Too many people overvalue the temporary convenience, it is a moral problem sure. But ultimately, I am more worried about tax-funded government shrapnel polluting the bodies of middle-easterners as our governments conduct multi-billion dollar aerial wars in order to control the sources of oil so that “moral” tax-subsidized corporations can make those plastic bags so cheaply.

        • AvatarScott
          April 2, 2017 - 7:09 pm

          And indeed, that is also only possible because we pay them. Perhaps we should say not only that taxation is theft, but that paying taxes is a war-crime.

        • AvatarJonathan
          April 4, 2017 - 5:43 pm

          That’s what a slave would say.

      • Avatarwesley hayden
        September 12, 2017 - 1:26 pm

        Yup. My point exactly because most of this information goes off in it little tax narrative without a balance of scales… know….that little thing called choice?
        Consentual, willful, of sound mind and without coersive influences like fear of being kidknapped and held against your will for a victimless state presumptive crime.

  • AvatarFlashman
    April 17, 2015 - 9:10 am

    Bang on Benjiiiii – put the money we have earned though our own endeavours and hard work back into our pockets rather than being penalised for any success we have achieved.

  • Avatarfreeman
    October 5, 2015 - 11:04 am

    Becoming a “taxpayer” is entirely VOLUNTARY. (But I didn’t enter in that contract fully informed). Your public servants do not want you to know that they need my CONSENT to take your money.
    No consent + no contract =Theft
    Acts, statutes and legislations only apply to PERSON`S and cooperate government employees
    Did I claim to be a British Citizen? “NO”

    • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
      October 5, 2015 - 11:37 am

      hmmm, interesting opinions. None of this is true, of course.

    • AvatarTaxation is Theft
      April 18, 2016 - 10:06 pm


      You clearly have no idea what that word means.

    • AvatarPatrick Harvey
      August 9, 2021 - 5:43 pm

      That depends, did you fill out a government form and check a box that said, “Are you a British citizen?”

  • AvatarMicah
    March 17, 2016 - 12:11 am

    The writer is basing his whole argument on pre-tax income, which of course is circular logic, and completely ignores the fact that income tax is not the only type of tax.

    Explain how property tax isn’t theft, jackass.

  • AvatarPaul Semmelweis
    March 26, 2016 - 6:39 pm

    I love how there’s absolutely zero definition of this so-called “amoral economy.” You know, the very thing his entire argument rests upon. If you don’t understand economics, people go down very bizarre and dark roads in order to justify their violent tendencies. To pretend that government is some kind of benevolent referee, immune from attempts at personal gain and influence is pure fantasy.

    • AvatarGreen
      January 29, 2017 - 7:58 am

      Economy is amoral (doesn’t have morality) by definition. It’s a mindless process. Are you able to justify paying some pop-star without talent (but popular for stupid reasons) million of dollars and at the same time letting some mentally disabled person die? Yet, that’s exactly what would happen if you had your fantasy world (pure free-market economy). Here is the thing you, and many others, simply don’t get. The whole idea of self-regulating economy is based on the myth that consumers a) act rationally b) have absolute knowledge c) are mindful of other people well-being (including future generations). It’s utter nonsense. Moreover, the argument that what you earn in such an economy is what you deserve is circular (it begs the question).

      • AvatarPedro
        May 12, 2017 - 12:01 am

        You don’t pay a pop star without talent, their record label does. And they can only do it because there are people that listen to their music. And if you want to help a mentally disabled person, do it. But you can’t force other people to do so. And the idea of a government regulated economy is based on the myth that a small group of people know the best way to use other people’s money (which is wrong).

        • AvatarLethal
          January 2, 2018 - 4:50 pm

          Exactly. And not only that, but the myth that we all “need” all the things that our taxes supposedly pay for. So they not only claim to know how we should spend our money, but also how we should go about living our life! How about getting us our money back and letting us figure it out for ourselves? I’d be willing to bet all these “government services” would be bulldozed by private companies doing it better AND cheaper in a very short amount of time. And I would gladly, voluntarily, pay for it.

      • AvatarThe Banana
        January 12, 2018 - 11:09 pm

        People are broadly speaking, paid their value in a market. Their skills, their worth, their rarity, is balanced against the value that they provide to their customers, or their employer. It may be a process, but a free market, without coercion, is as fair as it gets. Where does your justice for the scientist come from? The scientists work ultimately has value from the amount of money people are prepared to pay, and the cost, of the future cancer cure. That’s fairer than a board of fallible humans setting a price. Price fixing is almost never in line with what people would voluntarily pay or work for, which is why it’s an abject failure pretty much wherever it is tried.

        Government on the other hand is fundamentally no different really from a violent warlord, and indeed historically it usually literally was a warlord, taking things simply because they could do so by main force. Genghis Khan’s empire was built literally on robbery on a grand scale. That’s pretty much the purest form of government.

        The only thing that separates modern western democracy from Genghis Khan is the notion of collective good; the idea that we pay tax in exchange for something back. Goods that are better provided collectively perhaps – collective defence, for example. That’s all that makes taxation permissible ultimately – the social contract is this, dressed up.

  • AvatarAdam Keasey
    March 26, 2016 - 8:20 pm

    This guy hates freedom, uses law as a inconsistent basis for morals, doesn’t factor in other forms of taxation, & makes ridiculous leaps of logic thanks to the mental gymnastics of his commie mind.

    Don’t be a loon, embrace freedom & liberty. #TaxationisTheft

  • AvatarPaul
    March 26, 2016 - 8:34 pm

    Maybe rape is ok too as that would be pre love sex.

    • AvatarShpillie Willy
      September 11, 2018 - 5:43 am

      Close, but not exactly. Cancer scientist don’t approach you on the street with a gun, they use policemen for that.
      Immoral sex market give sex to people who do not necessarily deserve it, but this problem should be solved through a law. There must be a “sex tax” where all the hotties would be forced to have sex with nerds like me. I’d vote for that.

  • March 26, 2016 - 8:58 pm

    Wow! It’s hard to say anything about such a completely absurd essay. I’m having a hard time coming up with adjectives bad enough.

    You don’t get the gravity you deserve so we’re going to make a law to fairly distribute that gravity, so that the fat guy who weighs 700 pounds will be able to get around just as easily as the marathon runner.

    The market gave me money, without me pointing guns at anybody to get it? Then it’s mine. All mine. Absolutely fair. I don’t owe you or anybody a single penny of it. Taxation is not only theft, it’s the very worst kind of theft: extortion. A heinous crime. End it. Replace it with… nothing.

    How some people comprehend this simple fact, I’ll never understand.

    • AvatarGreen
      January 29, 2017 - 8:11 am

      Market is nothing more than a convention. It’s not rational. It has no morality. It’s mindless process. So no, market doesn’t give you what you deserve. In fact, every known mathematical model of completely free market shows one stunning fact – in the end of the process one entity owns everything. So, if markets really gives you what you deserves, it follows that with all probability you deserve nothing.

      • March 24, 2017 - 3:14 pm

        A and B trade underwear for carrots.
        A does not “deserve” the carrots ? B does not “deserve” the underwear ?
        Please explain.

        B is forced under threat of violence by G to give 5 of his carrots to A. Does A “deserve” the carrots ?
        Please explain.

        “every known mathematical model of completely free market ”
        Please show just one. It is unfeasible to accurately predict the weather several days in advance although it is only dependent on deterministic physical processes.
        But somehow, a phenomenon even more complex, involving large numbers of conscious agents with changing preferences, constraints and objectives may be predicted to a single outcome?
        Positivism does not apply to social sciences, including the economy.

  • March 26, 2016 - 10:33 pm

    “This feeling that your pre-tax income is ‘your money’ is difficult to shake.”

    Apparently, for some people, such as the collectivist writer, it’s a concept that’s impossible to fathom.
    If the person endeavoring to create value isn’t entitled to it, who is?
    If a person’s creative efforts don’t entitle her to control and dispose of her output or compensation for her output, then what does?

    Extortion (the exercise of political power) doesn’t seem to justify any claim on the output of another, that’s the morality of any robber.

    • AvatarGreen
      January 29, 2017 - 8:31 am

      “If the person endeavoring to create value isn’t entitled to it, who is?” You simply don’t get the point. Money you earn is only a measure (and very flawed one) of real value you create. Money is not value, money is not wealth. It’s only accounting tool. In fact, there is nothing simpler than earning money from destroying real wealth (devastation of rainforests for example). If you confuse money with value, no wonder you can’t understand why we need taxation. You’re living in the wonderland of circular logic.

      • AvatarAngry
        December 11, 2017 - 10:59 pm

        Your argument is irrelevant, money just represents a figure to base all trade, before we used to swap maybe a cow for 3 sheep etc. It was invented as a better way to value the trade of these goods., it also applies to services. So the money earned is a value of your service/good that you have produced or own. You have sole rights to that good/service. No one else does. So I think it is you who is confused between money and value as they are inherently and explicitly connected!

      • Avatarmik
        September 20, 2019 - 11:04 am

        WHAT UTTER RAMBLINGS!! your entire comment is circular and completely illogical, money is what we use to establish worth, instead of swapping 3 pigs for 1 cow we replace that with money, the market (i.e. how buying and selling is currently going) dictates what that monetary figure is worth. So that money that you can then swap for things you need or want has worth! so now that bit of your argument is cleared off the board. lets get on to the understanding of needing tax…. we don’t its theft as I have it taken off me without my consent, its that simple. as for the arguments about roads…. I pay Road tax which is a choice as I bought a car again which is a choice. Police, fire, local government etc. I pay council tax that again is a choice (semi-choice as its a bit unfair that all don’t have to pay it) if I buy a house. but to tax my wages as well is just theft!

    • AvatarChase
      March 23, 2017 - 6:17 pm

      “no wonder you can’t understand why we need taxation” Why then, why do we need taxation? What justifies the use of compulsion for something that non-compulsive firms can do much better? But of course this academic, who survives off of compulsion because few value his work, finds it in his self interest to rationalize compulsion, just as he justifies other ludicrous ideas poorly and inconsistently

  • March 26, 2016 - 11:09 pm

    Even if individuals didn’t have property rights in their income, you’d still have to explain why the government was entitled to take mone from them. Philosopher Michail huemer explains:

    “How may a government finance its activities? The main method now used is coercive extraction of money from the population (taxation). The prevalence of this method of finance is most likely due to the fact that it is a very reliable method of collecting very large amounts of money. But it is not normally permissible to coercively extract money from others, even if you have a very good use for the money. On the face of it, therefore, taxation appears impermissible.

    That inference, however, seems to presuppose that individuals are justly entitled, prima facie, to their pretax incomes. Thomas Nagel and Liam Murphy have disputed this assumption. They believe that property rights are created by governmental laws and therefore that one only has property rights in those things to which the state’s laws grant one ownership. By creating tax laws, the state shapes the property rights that individuals have such that individuals own only their after-tax incomes. 9

    In response, there are three views one might hold regarding property rights. First, one might hold that property rights are natural, that is, moral rights that exist prior to the state. John Locke, for example, held that individuals are justly entitled to the fruits of their labor, even in a pregovernmental society. 10 On this view, taxation would seem to be a prima facie injustice, for whatever the ethically correct way of acquiring property may be, it presumably is not forcible extraction of goods held by others.

    Second, one might hold that property rights are partly natural, in that there are certain broad principles of property that are valid independent of governmental laws, but that there are many details of a regime of property rights that are not settled by these general moral principles. For instance, perhaps our inherent moral rights determine that we are justly entitled to the fruits of our labor, but these rights do not determine at what altitudes one may fly one’s airplane over someone else’s land. One might hold that state-created laws are needed to settle such matters of detail. This view still offers little comfort to a defender of taxation, for the entitlement of one agent to coercively extract vast quantities of resources from the rest of the population is not the sort of matter of detail (like the altitude at which one may overfly others’ property) that is plausibly taken to be left indeterminate by the basic moral principles of property.

    Third, one might hold that there are no natural property rights. Nagel and Murphy assume that this means that property rights are created by governmental decree. This is plausible only for one who presupposes a strong doctrine of political authority. Nagel and Murphy ascribe to the state a moral entitlement, arising from its power to create property rights, to coercively enforce its chosen distribution of resources. Since no nongovernmental agent may declare a distribution of resources and a regime of property rights and then coercively enforce them, the state’s right to do so would require political legitimacy. At the same time, the state’s creation of a regime of property rights would presumably impose obligations on the part of citizens to respect that regime. These would be political obligations. If, therefore, the state has no authority, it has no such power of creating property rights as Murphy and Nagel suppose.

    The result would seem to be that even after the state has made its laws, there still are no property rights. (If one finds this conclusion implausible, one ought to return to the view that there are natural property rights.) One might think the rejection of property rights leaves the way open for taxation: since taxpayers have no right to ‘their’ wealth, the seizure of some of that wealth will no longer appear as a rights violation. But by the same token, the state will have no right to that wealth either, and thus citizens do no wrong by withholding it. Meanwhile, there are the harms the state coercively imposes on those who fail to pay taxes, and these would seem to be prima facie injustices.

    In short, the defender of taxation must hold that the state, rather than the taxpayers, is justly entitled to the tax revenues that the state collects. There is no plausible way to defend this view unless one assumes a doctrine of political authority.”

    Huemer, Michael (2012-10-29). The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey (pp. 145-146). Palgrave Macmillan. Kindle Edition.

    …and you won’t be able to demonstrate that the state has legitimate authority, as the rest of Huemer’s book demonstrates.

  • AvatarScottJames
    March 26, 2016 - 11:14 pm

    And this chuckle head is deemed “professor.”

    His reasoning is so circular and fallacious, it’s hard to believe this wasn’t penned by an undergraduate student.

    First: Just because the governments are granted the right and responsibility to tax, for the common good, allegedly, having been granted such lowers by the populace, it does not follow that the income generated is not belonging to the individual who is taxed. By majority consent, we surrender our wealth to the governing body, who in returns x, y and z in a legal and social contract. We elect officials to legislate such collection.

    In this social contract, the check and balances are as follows:
    1. Everyone has skin in the game. Everyone pays.
    2. Because everyone has skin in the game, we elect officials who will legislate sound financial policy, providing necessary services, within a manageable budget.
    3. Property and income is first and foremost held as belonging to individual(s), and collected via DUE PROCESS OF LAW.

    Make no mistake, this so-called professor is lazy in his reasoning, dangerous in his presuppositions.

    And he has many soul mates.

    • AvatarGreen
      January 29, 2017 - 9:02 am

      On the contrary. The whole idea that you deserve what you earn is circular and fallacious. It confuses money with wealth (real value) and by doing so makes money you earned well-earned by definition (you deserve it, because it’s a value you brought to society) or – alternatively – makes assumption that money is absolutely exact measure of real value you worked out. First attitude is circular, second is simply false. It’s child’s exercise to show that money and wealth are two different things and that you can easily earn not only much more money than your work is worth in objective terms, but you can make money from destroying wealth (take industry which devastates natural resources, or irresponsible banking which leads to economic crisis). Market is just social convention, we may of course discuss what forms of taxation are more or less justified, but the only rational measure you can use in such reasoning is improved well-being of society as a whole. Idealizing earnings and suggesting that taxation is just theft is simply infantile.

      • AvatarKelel
        April 20, 2017 - 11:50 pm

        Actually, it’s irresponsible governance which leads to economic crisis, and irresponsible governance that leads to the destruction of natural resources. If you want to argue that taxation is morally right in order for the state to protect it’s citizens, then you must agree that the state is responsible for governance of the markets, financial regulation and the conservation of natural resources. The state uses it’s power to harvest our income to redistribute to it’s cronies who it allows to destroy natural resources and run rampant without any kind of sensible financial regulation.
        The vast majority of victims of the tax thieves don’t have access to the kind of power it takes to destroy wealth in the manner you describe: what you describe is available only to the high and mighty; friends of politicians and lobbyests. From this perspective, withholding tax is the only moral approach as out taxes are being used to subsidise wealth destruction for the benefit of the political class and their friends.

      • AvatarGriseld Islamaj
        January 17, 2021 - 9:46 pm

        Industry does not destroy natural resources, it transforms them to make them usable by society.
        Banking also is not a form of creating or destructing wealth, rather just moving that already existing wealth from one’s pocket to someone else’s pocket.
        Wealth in service terms is not created, just moved and wealth in industry terms is not created or destroyed but transformed. A tree has an amount x of worth, a cut down and cleaned tree has an amount x+1 of worth, a processed tree made into wood boards has an amount x+10 of worth and paper has an amount x+100 of worth. It is still the same tree, but effort, time and labor put into it make it’s worth rise.

  • AvatarStephen Curtin
    March 27, 2016 - 12:58 pm

    The fundamental issue of taxation is whether the individual owns his or her self. If so, the fruit of his or her labor belongs to them and no one else. Taking it is theft. If not, let’s dispense with the nuance and call it what it is: slavery, as the individual does not own his or her self.

    Of course it is the beneficiaries of the State which always argue the hardest that taxation isn’t theft, since without it they think they’d be out of a job. They can’t fathom that they might compete in a free market, because currently they have nothing to offer a free market but bad, worthless ideas. So of course they desire the job security a monopoly on force and theft provides them.

  • AvatarMIke
    March 27, 2016 - 2:38 pm

    I wonder if Prof. Goff would support a taxation program to equalize his income down to the level of the rest of the world? Typically, these Rawlsians do all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify income equalization within their own borders, but aren’t so keen about equalizing with say Sub-Saharan Africa. Their moral compass starts spinning in all kinds of different directions when their conceptions of justice would actually force significant lifestyle changes on themselves.

  • AvatarDavid
    March 27, 2016 - 2:43 pm

    “You clearly don’t have a legal right to your pre-tax income, as you are legally obliged to pay tax on it. This is a simple analytic truth that follows from the definition of taxation. People who don’t take pay their taxes go (or at least legally ought to go) to gaol.”

    “You clearly don’t have a legal right to claim you are not a slave when you are legally declared to be a slave,” said the Southern slave owner to his slave.

    Slavery was legal. The internment of German Jews in German concentration camps was legal. Apartheid was legal.

  • March 27, 2016 - 3:17 pm

    I had to stop at the halfway point. You made a statement that in my opinion is jumping over some huge gaps, and to even consider the second half of your argument, they need to be filled.
    “it is implausible to suppose that each person has a moral right to his or her pre-tax income, for that would imply that the distribution of pre-tax incomes the market happens to throw up is perfectly just, and this is clearly not the case.”

    Where do you get that rule from? Why does a moral right to one’s income implies that distribution of that income is just?

    Further how is it not just? You claim that because a Banker gets more than a doctor who cures cancer it isn’t just. But, that seems rather than a repudiation of markets, a repudiation of social norms, because people in general value knowing their money is safe more than having a cure for cancer. It also implies that having a cure for cancer is itself valuable. One is a holder of tangible goods, the other a holder of knowledge. As we know from history knowledge is cheap and usually easy to come by, but few people take advantage of it.

    Finally, what is justice ), and how does it apply to our sense of rights. Hayek dispelled the idea of social justice all together. Even Rawls agreed that distribution can be unequal if the outcome is better for the least of us. You seem to be playing loose with terms and coming to premature conclusions.

  • March 27, 2016 - 3:22 pm

    Also, the argument Nagel and Murphy make is rather different. Their main point is that because income and property cannot be protected without a state, there is an implied necessity of a state for private ownership. There view essentially hurts Anarchist, but nothing more. A Nozickian minarchy could still fit within that perimeter. I believe John Tomasi does a good job pointing this out in the book Free Market Fairness.

  • Avatarkenneth detro
    March 27, 2016 - 4:42 pm

    I am guessing that your use of the phrase “Taking money off us” is a reference to the presumed naivete of your interlocutor. Or perhaps, you simply cannot help but congratulate yourself at their expense.

  • AvatarBilly Beck
    March 27, 2016 - 5:02 pm

    Why don’t you come take what’s mine by *yourself* instead of hiring thugs to do it for you?

    Don’t bother. I know the answer.

  • AvatargeekWithA.45
    March 27, 2016 - 6:27 pm

    There was a time when even the least rigorous liberal arts bachelor’s degree required the study of logic and fallacy in the freshman year to both prevent this sort of fallacious thinking from entering the public discourse, or even worse, being accepted and taken up by it.

    Sadly, the diploma mills tend not to issue refunds, their marks tend not to understand that they’ve been ripped off, and our society suffers profoundly as a result.

  • March 27, 2016 - 11:17 pm

    How silly of me to think that my employer owns his income and decides how much of it to give to me. In fact, everything is owned by the government.

  • AvatarSum1
    March 28, 2016 - 4:51 am

    This essay is proof positive that having a PhD in philosophy isn’t a guaranty for clear thinking.

    The writer assumes that “the” market “throws money” at you, as though it were a sentient being, and since this being throws around money unequally, the money obtained by you is obtained unethically, and therefore you have no right to it. This is why Government must take as much of that money away in order to make the “throwing” precisely equitable.

    The fallacies of his argument are numerous:

    a) There is no such thing as a market. A “market” is a fictional concept. In the real world, a “market” consists of humans who interact with each other, trading goods, services and financial instruments. That collection of human interactions is called “a market”. “The market” doesn’t throw anything at anyone, it does not “gift” anything, nor does it “distribute” anything – because it doesn’t actually exist. So right off the bat the writer makes a bizarre categorical error, as though the market is a sentient being that engages in an distribution of money.

    b) The writer does not seem to have a clear concept of value or of ownership. In a nutshell, people transfer money to others in return for something that, *in their mind*, is of equal or greater value. (A salary is trade too – trading your talents in exchange for money). Since value is subjective, these exchanges necessarily are unequal. I might value something higher, or lower, than how you value it, and therefore agree to pay for it more, or less, than you would. This is true of any financial transaction. If I have business X and you have business Y, I, based on a set of factors, might value a given work slot at N dollars and you, based a different set of factors, might value a given work slot at M dollars. Workers will either agree or disagree to this level of compensation, also based on their subjective value. The fact that my worker will get N dollars and your worker will get M dollar, even if M ≠ N, does not mean that either of these workers have obtained their income unethically, or that this sentient being “gifted” them their salary unequally. Rather, it means that they each provided different values to their employers and therefore received different levels of compensation. The compensation they receive is therefore wholly theirs, and any funds take out of it by taxation, is a taking of THEIR money.

    I should note that it’s not clear why the writer limits his argument to pre-tax money, since his argument holds equally also for post-tax money: you are not entitled to any money received above the point that is not 100% equal to the money each member of society received. Once we understand that the argument he is making is that no one has any right to anything above what each other member of society has, the nonsensical nature of this argument becomes even clearer.

    • AvatarGreen
      January 29, 2017 - 10:18 am

      a) False. Market isn’t a sentient being of course, but that’s exactly the point. It’s a mindless process influenced by millions of factors, therefore expecting that wealth distribution which it creates will be just, is nonsensical. That’s exactly the reason why we need some entity (government) which puts a human thought into it.

      If you run computer simulation of totally free market you will find very interesting thing. In the end of the process one entity owns everything. You end up with the same result even if you assume that investment may be successful only by sheer luck. Why? Because money earns money – you can invest more with the same risk (and gain greater profit), or at the same amount with less risk. Purely by chance some entities accumulate better positions, and at the end one entity takes all. Think about it for a moment. Maybe you will figure out how funny this is when you juxtapose this finding with assumption that you earn what you deserve. Because it would seem that from the two it follows: you deserve nothing.

      And of course there is such a thing as market. Structure of this interactions you’re talking about. Existing division of wealth and power, attitudes and misconceptions shared by people, rules of law governing this exchange etc. Most of it has nothing to do with justice and morality. Even sheer stupidity plays it part here.

      b) False. There’re objective values. To have a clear air is of value for everyone (or, at least, it should be, because if it isn’t for x, then x is sociopath, meaning – is hostile towards society and human race)? And yet, it’s in direct opposition to many market forces. Why? Because – and that’s the thing you should learn: a) consumers are not rational b) they don’t possess absolute knowledge c) there exist people (and quite a lot of them) who are completely unconcerned with well-being of others, especially when “others” mean future generations.

    • AvatarGreen
      January 29, 2017 - 10:42 am

      Sorry, but I must add this. “Once we understand that the argument he is making is that no one has any right to anything above what each other member of society has, the nonsensical nature of this argument becomes even clearer.” No, this is not the point of the argument. The point of the argument is as follows. 1. One’s earning are very flawed measure of value one brings into society (understood as rate at which one’s job is improving well-being of society as a whole) 2. We don’t know any better measure. 3. So we keep money but make some concession by paying taxes (discussion about better or worst forms of taxes is completely different topic).

      Two other things to think about for you. There is a time aspect in real world. Most of mathematics which facilitates current economic and technological advancements was of no economical value when it was created. There’re are many thing of great value for everyone (who can call himself human looking in the mirror) but of no economical worth. For example, a drug for rare disease.

      • AvatarAngry
        December 11, 2017 - 11:35 pm

        Again lore nonsense, really do you have any sense?

        My earnings are based not only in value of the service but what someone is willing to pay for the service, but also supply and demand. If there are lots of people who can do a job (stack shelves) then it’s going to lower paid than say someone who is an engineer. Also we have a choice on what we do.

        As your drug for a rare disease I think you’ll find there is a lot of money in that area!

  • AvatarAndrew Lale
    March 28, 2016 - 11:03 pm

    I hope the amoral market doesn’t gift you any money for writing this lazy crap.

  • AvatarRick Drayson
    March 29, 2016 - 12:00 am

    Laws are simply opinions backed up by guns. Nothing more other than sanctimonious pretense towards decency.

    Taxation is theft and anyone who argues differently is just exposing their utter contempt of their fellow human beings because everyone with more than 2 brains cells knows that taxation is not voluntary and consent is not required.

    I would hate to hear Phil Goff’s opinion on rape vs. consensual sex. I shudder at the thought of all the excuses and circular reasoning he would come up with if not for the threat of violence that would be directed at him by feminist groups given his clear lack of morals.

  • AvatarCommonly known as: Boyd, of the family Williamson
    March 29, 2016 - 8:59 am

    This is mind bogglingly inaccurate, and shows a near complete lack of understanding of the parameters defining a lawfully binding contract.

    * “Alain de Botton encourages us to think of taxation as charity: we give up what’s ours for the greater good of our society”.

    It should be immediately apparent that charity is a voluntary act, and as such we have every right to choose not to make a charitable donation. More to the point – ALL lawfully binding contracts must be entered into voluntarily, and with full disclosure.

    It should be noted that all legislation is in fact commerce / admiralty law, and as such can only apply to the legal fiction (ALL CAPS NAME). Herein lies the deception – from the day you were born, you have been fooled into assuming that your given name, and the legal fiction NAME were one and the same. This legal fiction was created by, and is the property of the state (and as such we place ourselves in dishonor by claiming to be the legal fiction). Your parents were forced to ‘register’ (from the word Regis, meaning ‘of the king’) your birth to the state (upon this registration, the legal fiction was created by the state). At no time was full disclosure of the nature of this registration provided.

    It should be immediately apparent that , as this contract was not entered into voluntarily, and full disclosure was not provided, this contract is null & void, and cannot be lawfully binding. Yet we continue to accept liability for, and act as surety for the legal fiction, as we do not realize the difference.

    If you actually read the Income Tax Act 2007, you’ll find it applies to person’s:

    BB 2 Main obligations
    Income tax liability
    A person’s income tax liability for a tax year must be calculated, and satisfied
    by the person, under subpart BC (Calculating and satisfying income tax liabil-

    We are specifically referred to the Interpretation Act 1999 for the definition of the word Person (in bold no less!)

    AA3 (2) Definitions
    The Interpretation Act 1999 also contains definitions of terms, including in par-
    ticular the term person, and other provisions that apply to the interpretation
    and construction of this Act.

    The Interpretation Act defines the word ‘person’ as:

    Person: includes a corporation sole, a body corporate, and an
    unincorporated body

    By the maxim of law “inclusio unius est exclusio alterius” meaning “The inclusion of one is the exclusion of another”, we know that only these listed entities in commerce are therefore included. Clearly we, the natural born men & women upon this land, are none of the above listed entities.

    How may know that the NZ government is actually a corporation called “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand” (listed with the securities & exchange commission in Washington D.C.) operating via the crown, for the benefit of the state & banking empire “The City of London” which can be traced back to the Knights Templar?

  • AvatarCommonly known as: Boyd, of the family Williamson
    March 29, 2016 - 9:13 am

    I forgot to mention, your employment contract is a private contract between you and you employer. As required in a lawfully binding contract, you both exchange something of substance (ie; labour for money). No third party can enter your contract without the consent of both contractual parties.

    Incidentally, the Wages Protection Act 1983 states the following, which clearly shows that deductions cannot be made without our consent.

    Deductions with worker’s consent
    An employer may, for any lawful purpose,—
    (a) with the written consent of a worker; or
    (b) on the written request of a worker—
    make deductions from wages payable to that worker.
    A worker may vary or withdraw a consent given or request
    made by that worker for the making of deductions from that
    worker’s wages, by giving the employer written notice to that
    effect; and in that case, that employer shall—
    (a) within 2 weeks of receiving that notice, if practicable;
    (b) as soon as is practicable, in every other case,—
    cease making or vary, as the case requires, the deductions con-

  • AvatarMorrow
    March 30, 2016 - 12:28 am

    The mistake is using “just” and “fair” interchangably. “Fairness” is only *one* moral value, of which there are many: liberty, consent, tribal loyalty, aversion to “disgusting” things… and in fact “fairness” is not even useful as a moral principle: it is a moral *heuristic*: there is no real degree of “fairness” that we can non-arbitrarily say is fair *enough* or “morally good”. We can use fairness as a tiebreaker, but we can’t build a principled, consistent theory of ethics on it.

    “””that would imply that the distribution of pre-tax incomes the market happens to throw up is perfectly just, and this is clearly not the case. There is no justice in the fact that the pre-tax income of a City banker is many hundreds of times the pre-tax income of scientist working on a cure for cancer.”””

    It is just, as an outcome, because the means *by which it comes about* — voluntary transactions between consenting parties — are just. You’d be hard pressed to call something unjust when everybody involved went into it voluntarily and got what they wanted. How can the *sum* of all such perfectly-just acts be an injustice?

    (Of course, it is also possible for income inequality to come about by completely *unjust* means: profiting from a government-granted monopoly backed by force of law, gaming the system of government-enforced regulations (made-up laws), etc.)

  • AvatarBill Anderson
    April 6, 2016 - 12:33 pm

    I didn’t sign any contract.

    The self-evidence of the violence inherent in the “government” will be transparent the moment I don’t “voluntarily” hand over my stash.

    Philip Goff is simply a coward who lacks the balls to come steal my stuff in person. He’d much rather keep his dirty soul clean by sending his goon squad over to take my stuff. If I resist, his goons will throw me in a cage. If I resist being thrown in a cage, they’ll beat me and or murder me where I stand.

    His argument should replace the words “tax payer” with either “slave” or at the least “serf” so that we know exactly the relationship between the State and the Individual.

  • AvatarCosmicV
    April 7, 2016 - 11:33 am

    Here, let me help you out a bit.

    or to sum it up, I didn’t sign any contract, social or otherwise…

  • AvatarPaul
    May 19, 2016 - 1:10 pm

    I read enough. People shouldn’t bother to read all this diatribe. If you point a gun to my head and force me to give you the money >> I << worked hard to earn, call it whatever you like, it's still theft. It doesn't matter what ensues after my money or property is forcefully taken from me. It's still theft. Just like it doesn't matter if I pay my wife dinner in an expensive restaurant after beating her up. It's still an abusive relationship.

    No sophistry on your part or meanderings about some sort of "social contract" (which neither I nor anyone has ever signed) will change that reality.

    If it's involuntary, not "charity" as you attempt to purport. it's coercion. It's theft, it's violence. End of story.

    It's in moments like this that I have greater respect for classical marxists or fascists. At least they have the decency – or I daresay, the balls – to admit that they approve of violence, coercion and confiscation of property against peaceful individuals in order to promote what they see as the ideal society.

  • AvatarFree-man
    June 9, 2016 - 9:37 pm

    You own your body, you own your time, and you own the fruits of your labor. If someone try’s to take this from you without your consent, that is called theft… Even when a group of people call themselves government and then vote to take your property from you without your consent, this is still theft. It is embarrassing that this needs explained to people. Nothing gives you a right to force me to work for you. Are we free or are we slaves?

    • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
      June 10, 2016 - 6:37 am

      You consume services, you pay for the services. The rule of law, and all that. It’s a bit like shopping. So not paying tax, in this way of looking at it, is the equivalent of theft: you get something but you don’t pay for it.

      • AvatarSas
        June 11, 2016 - 10:40 am

        What if I do not want anything from the government because I believe free market would provide me the same much cheaper?

        • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
          June 13, 2016 - 7:47 am

          like, er, reliable courts, a properly organised national transport system, trustworthy police, urban sewers . . .

          • Avatarsimeon
            July 17, 2017 - 7:29 am

            Why can’t the free market do these? just looks like lack of imagination

        • AvatarRichard
          June 2, 2017 - 10:54 am

          buy your own island.

  • AvatarMarcin
    July 4, 2016 - 10:25 am

    What an awful article clearly written by someone bitter they don’t earn enough? Scholars should earn more than bankers? What a hippie concept

  • AvatarDennis Richardson
    July 10, 2016 - 4:53 am

    The Hebrew God will straighten you out article author, when HE sends you to your eternal damnation. This planet belongs to HIM, he sets the rules and you are outside HIS rules. Taxation is theft, money does belong to the person that earns it and politicians will spend the same time in HELL that you do, all eternity. I will laugh until the end of time at morons like you. Besides which the civil war will prove you wrong in this life and you will still not believe it. Money created by government’s master in America the New York bankers by fractional reserve banking and those that do are again wrong and again damnation awaits them and you.

  • AvatarJason Osgerby
    August 1, 2016 - 1:31 pm

    This is probably the stupidest article I’ve ever read. I’m having a hard time believing that this was written by a professor of anything. Let’s quickly destroy both of his ridiculous arguments:

    “You clearly don’t have a legal right to your pre-tax income, as you are legally obliged to pay tax on it. This is a simple analytic truth that follows from the definition of taxation. People who don’t take pay their taxes go (or at least legally ought to go) to gaol.” Talk about circular logic. Just because paying tax is a legal requirement, this does not mean that it isn’t tantamount to state theft. Any jackass in a position of power and authority can create whatever arbitrary ‘laws’ he or she wishes to make, and then demand that the populace adheres to them. When we are stating that “taxation is theft”, we are stating that any laws requiring us to pay taxes are morally bankrupt, lacking in legitimacy, and in a sane society would be completely ignored.

    “So if there is a general right to one’s pre-tax income, then it must be a moral right.” This is the only part that we both agree on.

    “But it is implausible to suppose that each person has a moral right to his or her pre-tax income, for that would imply that the distribution of pre-tax incomes the market happens to throw up is perfectly just, and this is clearly not the case.” You are confusing two completely different issues, and then using one to justify the other. How much money a person makes is nothing to do with the topic at hand – the distribution of incomes is irrelevant. If I agree to be paid $10 a year to do a job, then that is the amount of money that my employer and I have agreed as compensation for my services. If someone in another company gets paid $1000 to do a different job, then that has nothing to do with me. Salaries are based on many market forces, such as the demand for specific skills, and the amount of professional experience someone brings with them. This is not a moral issue, it is a contractual issue based upon the eternal market forces of supply and demand.

    “There is no justice in the fact that the pre-tax income of a City banker is many hundreds of times the pre-tax income of scientist working on a cure for cancer. This is just an accident of the way our market economy is structured.” It’s not an accident. Your subjective ideals do not change the fact that the city bankers generates large amounts of revenue for his or her company, whereas the cancer researcher does not generate any income (at least, not until a cure is found and possibly patented).

    The argument that taxation is theft is certainly a moral issue: no government has any right to demand a percentage of every citizen’s income, and threaten non-compliance with jail time. If I work to earn money in exchange for my time and skills, then that money is mine. If the government takes a large chunk of that money against my wishes, then that is theft. If the government tells me to pay this money or else go to jail, then that is extortion and blackmail, and the government reveals itself to be little more than another mob gang engaged in a protection racket – pay up, or else!

    • AvatarGreen
      January 29, 2017 - 11:37 am

      To sum your whole lengthy argument in one sentence: you’re simply an egoist with no concern for others. It’s the only possible explanation (besides stupidity) for stating (which you did, just maybe don’t realize): it’s true that in economy driven by pure market forces there is simply no place for many advanced branches of mathematics (which may be of no economic value for centuries, as it was with “number theory”, or no such value at all, we simply cannot know that in advance) or drugs for rare diseases (completely worthless economically), but hey, that’s simply the way free market is working, so be it.

      Two other things. Can you tell mi how is that, that highly taxed societies (Scandinavian for example) are better of than most of the world, and how is it a theft, when everyone’s situation (and whole surrounding) are constantly improving? Second, your assumption that after eliminating income tax you will save additional money in amount which was taxed before, is wrong (the whole economy will change, for example, you may deal with higher inflation).

      • AvatarSven
        March 22, 2017 - 9:47 pm

        That is stupid. Inflation is in practice a form of taxation.:The government issues more currency for it to spend which causes most of the population lose spending power with the higher prices (inflated currency).
        Plus the question is not “Is the market fair?” The market is the sum of people’s free economic choices. Fair or not fair, people earn their wealth in the marktplace through VOLUNTARY exchanges – If something or someone isn’t worth what is asked, you can simply say: “No deal!”. The opposite of coercive taxation.

      • AvatarJason Osgerby
        March 28, 2017 - 10:55 am

        I love it when someone calls me “an egoist” and “stupid”, and then asks me questions. If you think I’m a stupid egoist, why are you asking me any questions? You should not care about my opinions in the slightest. The argument you presented was utterly fallacious, and lacking in substance. Given that I’ve not resorted to such asinine name-calling with you, I’ll ask you some questions instead: please state how these highly taxed societies are “better off than most of the world”? Please explain how these highly taxed societies being (apparently) “better off” actually makes the process of taxation any more legitimate? It doesn’t matter whether their situation is improving or not – this does NOT make the state theft of people’s income any more legitimate. You also clearly don’t understand what inflation is, if you think that this will increase due to a lack of taxation. Please explain WHY the money supply will be inflated in the absence of the taxation system?

      • AvatarJared M
        April 18, 2017 - 8:49 pm

        “Can you tell mi how is that, that highly taxed societies (Scandinavian for example) are better of than most of the world, and how is it a theft, when everyone’s situation (and whole surrounding) are constantly improving?”

        Simply put, because your facts are wrong. The Scandinavian countries are abandoning socialism en masse, and are incrementally enacting free market economic policies.

      • AvatarAngry
        December 12, 2017 - 12:01 am

        Jason, he/she has no argument they are a a typical far left wing socialist, they think they have some higher moral standing, it all comes crashing down when it comes down to freedom, they believe in freedom as long as you agree with them if you don’t your chastised as you have been. Basically it all comes down to in his/her eyes that we are not free our lives are not our own as we do not have the choice, as you have said we are held to ransom by the goverment pay up or else!

  • AvatarTyler
    August 24, 2016 - 5:21 pm

    I would think a “professor of philosophy” would understand what a logical fallacy was and realize this is complete nonsense

  • AvatarThe Buddy Lama
    August 24, 2016 - 8:17 pm

    What an incredibly convoluted and dishonest attempt to rationalise criminal behavior! The unbridled arrogance and delusional belief that they alone know what’s best for everyone combined with the ego to impose their will on the great unwashed masses whether they want it or not… Such people are disgusting.

    Government is not a charity and spending other people’s money is not philanthropy, but it sure is fun and easy, and virtually guarantees a dependent voting bloc of dependents. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul… Actual charitable contributions are entirely voluntary whereas government mandated confiscation through taxation absolutely is theft. “Mandatory Contribution” is a contradiction in terms.

    If you want to pursue a particular “social agenda” you are free to start your own charity for that express purpose. Do not assume it is any part of the role of government, or that your social agenda is the same as anyone else’s. You have no right to force others to fund the things you want them to; outsourcing your crimes to proxy government does not absolve you personally of all wrong-doing, you are still an accomplice in the government’s crimes.

    Bastiat called it Plunder: “When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it — without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud — to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed…
    “How is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime…”
    —Frédéric Bastiat, The Law, p. 21, 26

    “When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices. Now, is it the most unfortunate who gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating.” —Frédéric Bastiat

    • AvatarDarrin Rychlak
      May 4, 2017 - 10:57 pm

      Bastiat is irrelevant. He has been since he started. He appeals to fringe cranks whose cherished erroneous belief that taxation is theft is a bedrock principle of economics. It is not. It is the credo of the libertarian freeloader. Social goals are real and you libertarian freeloaders sure take advantage of clean water, satellites, the internet, defense, safe food and on and on but you don’t want to pay for it. If you don’t like paying taxes to support your lazy behind, then move to the libertarian paradise of Somalia.

      And we adults have to suffer your seemingly interminable selfishness and stupidity.

      • AvatarAngry
        December 12, 2017 - 12:09 am

        Free loader? And who says I agree with what the goverment use the money for? Over 34% of the tax in the uk is spent on welfare! I don’t want my money going to those free loader those who don’t work who just free loaded through life, those who didn’t plan or take responsibility for them selves.

        As for your other pints I think you will find that majority of it is privately funded through your water bill, internet bill, etc etc…

      • AvatarGuy
        August 28, 2019 - 3:58 am

        Libertarians want the freedom to choose what to pay for voluntarily. You, on the other hand, are in favor of taking other people’s money to support social programs whether the taxed person uses them or not.

        Now, who’s the freeloader again?

        • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
          September 4, 2019 - 8:04 am

          Freedom without rules is the freedom of the fox in the henhouse.
          it’s the game of football without the referee.
          you need strong safeguards against predators. And that requires tax, to build the fences. To smash the monopolies. To un-rig the markets. To educate the population so they can avoid serfdom.
          That delivers real freedom.

  • September 8, 2016 - 2:48 am

    I just wasted ten minutes of my life listening to some cuck try to statesplain to me how he’s entitled to the fruits of my labor. Cool story, bro.

  • Avatartaxation IS theft
    September 22, 2016 - 9:34 am

    hey gimmie your money then dont be a hypocrite its not yours its MINE

  • AvatarDavid Sutton
    November 22, 2016 - 5:16 am

    Personally I have long agreed with the concept of a laissez-faire society since it is the only moral choice being based on truth.

    Self ownership is innate and is not morally challengable.
    Self ownership entitles all people to use 100% of their own resources to survive, prosper and thrive.
    Diminishing peoples ability to utilise 100% of their own resources by any means including taxation ultimately demonstrates that we are not entitled to self ownership and are therefore still slaves.

    The exchange of ideas and the division of labour is humanities crowning acheivement.
    There is no endeavor that is more human or of higher moral value.

    Trade encompasses these values.

    Voluntaryism is something I am in favour of to all those statists who feel that services should be payed for.

    People just need to think for themselves.

    • AvatarAngry
      December 12, 2017 - 12:15 am

      Exactly but it HAS to be voluntary not under duress or threat of life changing consequences. I go to work I earn money I see this as a fair trade of my time, knowledge. But I also help others in work and go beyond my obligation to just work teaching/helping those I work with, it isn’t part of my remit and I get paid no extra for it I choose to help them, mainly because i know they will use that knowledge to better them selves, this gives them the oppressed in the future to hopefully earn more. That is my choice to do that I pass on my knowledge and most I have paid for out of my own pocket! As soon as you are forced it is theft.

  • December 16, 2016 - 12:52 pm

    I think the moral responsibility to pay for public service exists. It is the means in which the money is gathered that is immoral. The initiation of force is not justified. In pretty much all of these cases, taxation becomes extortion since the choice is removed.

    • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
      January 5, 2017 - 9:13 am

      so you’ll individually volunteer to pay for the roads that I use, then? If not you, who will?

      • AvatarAngry
        December 12, 2017 - 12:16 am

        Ah road tax, which is voluntary as I can choose whether I want a car or not!

  • AvatarDoug
    December 31, 2016 - 9:11 pm

    What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard at no point in your rambling incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul?

    • AvatarKenny
      February 15, 2017 - 2:32 pm

      Lol, I think Billy Madison’s critical analysis of the Industrial Revolution was more grounded in reality than Goff’s post.

  • AvatarSmartguy
    February 3, 2017 - 4:15 am

    Merriam Webster definition of THEFT:(1a)
    the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it

    If one person stealing from another is theft, then one group of people stealing from another group is massive theft.

    The notion that a large group of people can grant magical powers to politicians just by voting is nonsense. The majority simply has enough physical force to enslave the minority. Majority oppressing minority (democracy) is still oppression! Pointing a gun at me gives you the POWER to rob me, but not the RIGHT to do so.

    Claiming taxes are not theft because they provide “essential services” would follow logically that it’s ok for me to rob you at gunpoint as long as I give you a hand-job after.

    Fuck your essential services. The free market is driven by productivity. The government is driven by war. Maybe the free market doesn’t always provide EQUAL pay to everyone, but neither does government!

    I’d be happy to pay a voluntary contribution to essential services in society in exchange for no more taxes. This way we’d be free to decide for ourselves what “essential services” actually are, what level of quality we want, and how much we are willing to pay for them. Next time I hit a pothole and get a flat tire, or the trash guy leaves my can in the street, or a cop writes dozens of petty nuisance tickets to exploit the community he’s supposed to protect, I’d love to be able to FIRE them and hire a better company.

  • AvatarBill Walls
    February 3, 2017 - 11:19 pm

    Taxation is still theft.

  • February 5, 2017 - 10:36 pm

    The ONLY basis for determining if a wage is just or unjust is wether or not it was voluntarily agreed to. Did you agree to work for 50k while the CEO works for 500k? If you think that is unjust then don’t take the job, negotiate for more or negotiate for less for the CEO. If you agree to the salary your offered then what is unjust about it. By what right does a third party have to come into the middle of this transaction and declare an injustice where the two parties involved have an agreement. There can be no injustice where there is an agreement. The problem here is third actors who have a vision of society they prefer and no one is going along with their ideals and are instead pursuing their own interests. So these busy bodies, like the author of this article, have no trouble with coercing others out of their money on the basis that they think there is an injustice, when no one else involved does. If this were the case then why use the government as a middle man? Just walk up to a rich man, shove a gun in his belly and demand he give 90% of his income to charity. Somehow I doubt this author or any other SJW types will have the courage of their convictions to do such a thing even though it is precisely what they want the government to do in their stead.

  • AvatarTheCritic89
    February 12, 2017 - 10:01 pm

    “So if there is a general right to one’s pre-tax income, then it must be a moral right. But it is implausible to suppose that each person has a moral right to his or her pre-tax income, for that would imply that the distribution of pre-tax incomes the market happens to throw up is perfectly just, and this is clearly not the case.”

    This is the crux of your argument. Unfortunately, for your argument, it is illogical and a fallacious misstep.

    The moral right to your pre-tax income plays out like this: you are entitled to a good or service for which you have already paid. Your labor, skllls, knowledge, whathaveyou is yours to provide. You can work or not work. If I decide I want to work, I find an employer who will pay me to do so. There are interviews, contracts/agreements, etc. I will do X for you, and in exchange, you will provide me with Y amount of dollars. You are entitled to Y. Whether or not the company is overpaying you. Whether or not it seems asinine that Miley Cyrus makes more money than any professor of any subject at any school is irrelevant. If they wanted to make the money Miley Cyrus makes, and they could do what she does better than her, then they have the choice to pursue that economic goal.

    To suggest that a deliberate action or policy cannot be moral because the market is not moral implies that the foundation of any morality is affected by accidents. It is not.

    Your article is one written with not-so-hidden undertones that you don’t like that work that is important in YOUR opinion doesn’t get as much money as it should. That has nothing do with morality, at least not in the way you suggest.

    You shouldn’t have taken the left at Albuquerque in the hunt for the mark that you missed.

    • AvatarNicolas Alexander
      March 1, 2017 - 9:37 pm

      What an excellent response! You are entitled to the money you receive because every party involved in providing you with that money has agreed on the terms of payment. If you want more money, there are countless opportunities to do so in a free economy. Wage injustice is an important matter, but it does not give government the right to take of its citizens’ incomes whatever it deems appropriate.

    • AvatarAngry
      December 12, 2017 - 12:19 am

      Very well put

  • AvatarGeorgio
    February 19, 2017 - 4:24 am

    What is the functional difference between a aggregate tax rate of 85 to 90 percent and indentured servitude or slavery? 10 to 15% of the fruits of your labor isn’t much but not outside the realm of possibility in some socialist countries. At some point the suckers are just going to vote with their feet…

  • AvatarKaimanawa
    February 26, 2017 - 9:53 am

    The whole system is wrong e.g. Monetary , we should all be resource based and use them collectively for the greater good of humanity. Check out the Venus Project on Google search

  • AvatarDennis Richardson
    March 1, 2017 - 9:32 pm

    Article writer, the Hebrew God will straighten out your wrong thinking when HE sends those of you that believe, “it is not your money thereby taxation is not theft”, to HELL for violating HIS Ten Commandments. In the meantime, it is going to be civil war soon in America to rid America of the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve Board. It may be legally by the Congress and President Donald Trump to restore the Constitution from thieving immigrants and/or democrats like you, but more likely it will be by war. Many voters for the democratic party and Hillary Clinton will be determined to have voted illegally, those will be removed by deportation. Declared war by Congress at President Donald Trumps request may yet happen to destroy Mexico when it becomes necessary due to as a result of some treaty Mexico achieves with China.

  • AvatarPip Santos
    March 25, 2017 - 5:10 am

    Behold Exhibit A for control freaks. These control freaks believe that the distribution of wealth through the natural micro-negotiations of each individual in the market is skewed. Somehow, with the aid of angels in the persons of our righteous politicians, this unfair distribution can be rectified. Well dream on. Trim your faith for your utopia is almost nigh.

    What’s wrong with each of us indivifually negotiating our share of society’s wealth in a free unfettered market? Why do we need politicians to negotiate each of our share? Aren’t they leeches who are unnecessary? This world is so chaotic, because instead of channeling our resources to efficiently run our society, we give it to politicians. What a waste.

  • AvatarWow
    March 27, 2017 - 8:51 am

    This is a joke. People have no claim on the compensation for which they are trading their labor?
    You are tacitly advocating slavery.

    This is morally repugnant and offensive.

    • Nick ShaxsonNick Shaxson
      June 15, 2017 - 2:10 pm

      Thanks fuck@off. That’s really illuminating

  • AvatarJohn M
    April 6, 2017 - 8:36 pm

    It’s incredible to think that an adult wrote an article of such breathtaking stupidity. It’s almost autistic to believe that people should be paid according to some kind of divine “justice” rather than according to the value of their work.

  • AvatarReginald
    April 10, 2017 - 1:41 pm

    The claims (i) that there are no property rights independent of government laws, and (ii) that the government can create property rights simply by declaring that something belongs to someone. There is no obvious reason to believe either (i) or (ii), and both claims are counter-intuitive.
    Imagine that you travel to a remote region outside any government’s jurisdiction, where you find a hermit living off the land. The hermit hunts with a spear of his own making, which you find interesting. You decide (without the hermit’s consent) to take the spear with you when you leave. It would seem correct to say that you “stole” the spear. This shows the implausibility of (i).
    Next, imagine that you are a slave in the nineteenth-century American South. Suppose you decide to escape from your master without your master’s consent. If (ii) is true, then you would be violating your master’s rights by stealing yourself. Note that you would not merely be violating a legal right; if (ii) is true, the government creates moral rights and obligations through its laws, so you would be violating your master’s moral rights. This shows the implausibility of (ii).

  • AvatarDavid Harold Chester
    May 9, 2017 - 9:24 am

    Only one kind of taxation is not theft and that is what comes from the rent from the privatization of land.

    Socially Just Taxation, and Its 17 Effects On: Government, Land Owners, Communities and Ethics

    Our present complicated system for taxation is unfair and has many faults. The biggest problem is to arrange it on a socially just basis. Many companies employ their workers in various ways and pay them diversely. Since these companies are registered in different countries for a number of categories, the determination the criterion for a just tax system becomes impossible, particularly if based on a fair measure of human work-activity. So why try when there is a better means available, which is really a true and socially just method?
    Adam Smith (“Wealth of Nations”, 1776 REF. 1) says that land is one of the 3 factors of production (the other 2 being labor and durable capital goods). The usefulness of land is in the price that tenants pay as rent, for access rights to the particular site in question. Land is often considered as being a form of capital, since it is traded similarly to other durable capital goods items. However it is not actually man-made, so rightly it does not fall within this category. The land was originally a gift of nature (if not of God) for which all people should be free to share in its use. But its site-value greatly depends on location and is related to the community density in that region, as well as the natural resources such as rivers, minerals, animals or plants of specific use or beauty, when or after it is possible to reach them. Consequently, most of the land value is created by man within his society and therefore its advantage should logically and ethically be returned to the community for its general use, as explained by Martin Adams (in “LAND”, 2015, REF 2.).

    However, due to our existing laws, land is owned and formally registered and its value is traded, even though it can’t be moved to another place, like other kinds of capital goods. This right of ownership gives the landlord a big advantage over the rest of the community because he determines how it may be used, or if it is to be held out of use, until the city grows and the site becomes more valuable. Thus speculation in land values is encouraged by the law, in treating a site of land as personal or private property—as if it were an item of capital goods, although it is not (Prof. Mason Gaffney and Fred Harrison: “The Corruption of Economics”, 2005 REF. 3).

    Regarding taxation and local community spending, the municipal taxes we pay are partly used for improving the infrastructure. This means that the land becomes more useful and valuable without the landlord doing anything—he/she will always benefit from our present tax regime. This also applies when the status of unused land is upgraded and it becomes fit for community development. Then when this news is leaked, after landlords and banks corruptly pay for this information, speculation in land values is rife. There are many advantages if the land values were taxed instead of the many different kinds of production-based activities such as earnings, purchases, capital gains, home and foreign company investments, etc., (with all their regulations, complications and loop-holes). The only people due to lose from this are the “army” of tax collectors employed by the government, as well as those who exploit the growing values of the land over the past years. Here “mere” land ownership confers a financial benefit, without the owner doing a scrap of work. Consequently, for a truly socially just kind of taxation to apply there can only be one method–Land-Value Taxation.

    Consider how land becomes valuable. New settlers in a region begin to specialize and this improves their efficiency in producing specific goods. The central land is the most valuable due to easy availability and least transport needed. This distribution in land values is created by the community and (after an initial start), not by the natural resources. As the city expands, speculators in land values will deliberately hold potentially useful sites out of use, until planning and development have permitted their values to grow. Meanwhile there is fierce competition for access to the most suitable sites for housing, agriculture and manufacturing industries. The limited availability of useful land means that the high rents paid by tenants make their residence more costly and the provision of goods and services more expensive. It also creates unemployment, causing wages to be lowered by the monopolists, who control the big producing organizations, and whose land was already obtained when it was cheap. Consequently this basic structure of our current macroeconomics system, works to limit opportunity and to create poverty, see above reference.

    The most basic cause of our continuing poverty is the lack of properly paid work and the reason for this is the lack of opportunity of access to the land on which the work must be done. The useful land is monopolized by a landlord who either holds it out of use (for speculation in its rising value), or charges the tenant heavily for its right of access. In the case when the landlord is also the producer, he/she has a monopolistic control of the land and of the produce too, and can charge more for this access right than what an entrepreneur, who seeks greater opportunity, normally would be able to afford.

    A wise and sensible government would recognize that this problem derives from lack of opportunity to work and earn. It can be solved by the use of a tax system which encourages the proper use of land and which stops penalizing everything and everybody else. Such a tax system was proposed 136 years ago by Henry George, a (North) American economist, but somehow most macro-economists seem never to have heard of him, in common with a whole lot of other experts. (I would guess that they don’t want to know, which is worse!) In “Progress and Poverty” 1879, REF. 4, Henry George proposed a single tax on land values without other kinds of tax on produce, services, capital gains etc. This regime of land value tax (LVT) has 17 features which benefit almost everyone in the economy, except for landlords, tax-men and banks, who/which do nothing productive and find that land dominance has its own reward.

    17 Aspects of LVT Affecting Government, Land Owners, Communities and Ethics

    Four Aspects for Better Government:

    1. LVT, adds to the national income as do other taxation systems, but it should replace them.
    2. The cost of collecting the LVT is less than for all other production-related taxes, since tax avoidance becomes impossible–the various sites are visible to all, and their ownership is public knowledge.
    3. Consumers pay less for their purchases due to lower production costs (see below). This creates greater satisfaction with the management of national affairs.
    4. The speculation in and withholding of unused land is eliminated, see item 7 and the national economy stabilizes. It no longer experiences the 18 year business boom/bust cycle, due to periodic speculation in land values (see below).

    Six Aspects Affecting Land Owners:

    5. LVT is progressive–owners of the most potentially productive sites pay the most tax. Urban sites provide the most usefulness and resulting tax. Big rural sites have less value and can be farmed appropriately to their ability to provide useful produce.
    6. The land owner pays his LVT regardless of how his site is used. A large proportion of the present ground-rent from tenants becomes the LVT, with the result that land has less sales-value but a significant “rental”-value (even when it is not used).
    7. LVT stops speculation in land prices because the withholding of land from proper use is not worthwhile.
    8. The introduction of LVT initially reduces the sales price of sites, even though their rental value can still grow over a longer term. As more sites become available, the competition for them is less fierce.
    9. With LVT, land owners are unable to pass the tax on to their tenants as rent hikes, due to the reduced competition for access to the additional sites that come into use.
    10. With LVT, land prices will initially drop. Speculators in land values will want to foreclose on their mortgages and withdraw their money for reinvestment. Therefore LVT should be introduced gradually, to allow these speculators sufficient time to transfer their money to company-shares etc., and simultaneously to meet the increased demand for produce (see below, items 12 and 13).

    Three Aspects Regarding Improved Communities:

    11. With LVT, there is an incentive to use land for production or residence, rather than it being unused.
    12. With LVT, greater working opportunities exist due to cheaper land and a greater number of available sites. Consumer goods become cheaper too, because entrepreneurs have less difficulty in starting-up their businesses and because they pay less ground-rent–demand grows, unemployment decreases.
    13. Investment money is withdrawn from land and placed in durable capital goods. This means more advances in technology and cheaper goods too.

    Four Aspects About Kinder Ethics:

    14. The collection of taxes from productive effort and commerce is socially unjust. LVT replaces this national extortion by gathering the surplus rental income, which comes without any exertion from the land owner or by the banks– LVT is a natural system of national income-gathering.
    15. The previous bribery and corruption for gaining privileged information about land cease. Before, this was due to the leaking of news of municipal plans for housing and industrial development, causing shock-waves in local land prices (and municipal workers’ and lawyers’ bank balances).
    16. The improved use of the more central land of cities reduces the environmental damage due to a) unused sites being dumping-grounds, and b) the smaller amount of fossil-fuel use, when traveling between home and workplace.
    17. Because the LVT eliminates the advantage that landlords currently hold over our society, LVT provides a greater equality of opportunity to earn a living. Entrepreneurs can operate in a natural way– to provide more jobs because their production costs are reduced. Then untaxed earnings will correspond to the value that the labor puts into the product or service. Consequently, after LVT has been properly and fully introduced as a single tax, it will eliminate poverty and improve business ethics.


    1. Adam Smith: “The Wealth of Nations”, 1776.
    2. Martin Adams: “LAND– A New Paradigm for a Thriving World”, North Atlantic Books, California, 2015.
    3. Mason Gaffney and Fred Harrison: “The Corruption of Economics”, Shepheard-Walyn, London, 2005.
    4. Henry George: “Progress and Poverty” 1897, reprinted by Schalkenbach Foundation, NY, 1978.

  • AvatarVictor Hood
    May 16, 2017 - 3:44 am

    Taxation is a cog in the machine of Control.

  • AvatarNightvid
    July 18, 2017 - 6:07 pm

    I don’t find the author’s argument convincing, because it would also seem to justify allowing poor people to steal whatever they want from rich people, in order to make it more “fair”. However, I do think taxes are morally justifiable, for a different reason.

    I would want to draw the analogy between taxation and credit card transaction fees. If one does not see these fees as theft, then why would it be theft for the government to impose a transaction fee on the use of currency that they themselves created, when the option of using barter is still open to anyone? The expenditures of government are ultimately just as necessary for the legitimacy of currency as a bank’s expenses are necessary for the maintenance of its transaction system.

  • AvatarSamuel Clark
    August 11, 2017 - 2:44 pm

    Income inequality is THE most fallible argument against taxation being theft. You don’t let the market work, then blame the market for supply and demand issues? That’s utterly incoherent to facts and economically illiterate.

  • AvatarMike
    December 1, 2017 - 12:54 pm

    Wrong. Taxation is theft because money is a figment of the government’s imagination. That stuff in your wallet has value because the government says it does, not because it actually does.

  • AvatarThe one
    January 3, 2018 - 9:31 pm

    It is B’s not for the greater good for individuals only for the Giants that consume us and leave us struggling and inbondage . Maybe tax’s would be that bad if u make more they take more if I make 1500 in a week and I do I may see 1000 plus I pay child support . These days a thousand a week is not good money tax’s are up groceries and every Dame thing is taxed tax tax tax it’s B’s it’s robbery !!!!!!!!! Stop stealing are hard earned money lower the amount we take stop forcing people to jack prices up on everything we buy .

  • AvatarJFMSU
    January 14, 2018 - 4:27 am

    Taxation is theft when:

    -Your government doesn’t provide medical care.
    -The retirement age is constantly being raised.
    -The majority of expenses are military related.
    -The funds are stolen, squandered, or used for backdoor corporate deals.

    Sound familiar?

  • AvatarDennis Richardson
    January 14, 2018 - 5:17 am

    Taxation is theft the Almighty not only disagrees with you but HE has sworn by HIS word that, that sin and other sins, will cost you your soul. You liberal democrats did not change the Constitution. You will be damned.

  • January 26, 2018 - 11:42 am

    Hi Dennis Richardson ,
    The extra charges of a government on the purchasing of property in the London can be eliminated easily with in a seven days according to the rules and regulations of a government,If you write an application with the authentic reasons for a elimination of property tax after reading the list of highest property tax rates and also attached a legal documents of a property tax pairs after that submitted in the government office by the tax layers which is helpful for you to approved the claim of your property tax in the seven days without any allegations of a government on the application of your property tax ,Remember don’t write any irreverent reasons in the applications of property tax you want to submit in the office of government and also don’t attached any illegal or extra document of property which increase the chances to refuse or neglect your claim application ,So keep it in your mind all the instructions and requirements given to you by the tax layer after concerning this kind of matter according to the current policy of government .

  • Avatarasdfasdf
    February 4, 2018 - 11:19 am

    taxation IS theft. Why should I pay 0% in one great country and 50% in another? I don’t see the value. There are countries with no capital gains tax 0% and are very developed, very great places to live. There is no justification for theft when compared on a global basis. It’s just value proposition and high taxes is a scam.

  • AvatarJefferson
    April 20, 2018 - 6:36 pm

    Utter garbage. No one “deserves” any income unless they work. They deserve to keep whatever they earn.

  • AvatarMark Edward
    May 15, 2018 - 10:16 pm

    In simplest terms, if you ask $100 for your widget, and I agree to give you the asking price, we have a contract. After the deal is made, you then demand an extra $8 “for the government”. That was not negotiated or agreed upon. Breach of contract.

    How about if you need work done and offer $15 per hour. I agree to do the work for the asking price. We have a contract. When I finish the work, we agree that I worked 10 hours, so you pay me $130, explaining that you decided to withhold $20 “for the government”. Breach of contract. That “withholding” was not discussed, negotiated, or agreed upon.

    Just because our society has institutionalized and normalized this imposition of slicing off a piece for the government does not change the fact that on its face, these contracts are made without explicit concession and identification of these amounts that the government takes from the transaction, and therefore this extra “taking” is legitimately considered to be “theft” by all good and rational people. It debases the language and clarity of doing business. It muddies the water, and creates an expectation that “one can never really know what one will pay for goods or get paid for one’s labor”. Trust and confidence is destroyed, people live with a rumbling dissatisfaction and anger in their gut, and productivity is defeated by uncertainty. Then the monopolists run roughshod over the people because “there’s nothing we can do about it.”

  • AvatarMichael
    June 7, 2018 - 3:24 pm

    The argument about the (a)morality of the market is asinine. Whether the wages are fair relative to someone else’s wages is irrelevant to the fact that they are your agreed-upon wages. In a free society, you get to choose your profession. You also get to choose what wages you will accept for a given job. What you do not get to choose is what wages someone will give you for your chosen job. If you don’t agree with the wages, you may choose to seek them elsewhere, or you are also free to choose another career. If your goal is to make money, become the banker. If your goal is to cure cancer, become the scientist. If your goal is to cure cancer, but you don’t believe you are being offered a fair wage to do so, you must weigh for yourself your desire to cure cancer against your desire to make money. Even if you somehow see an “amorality” in the relative wages (which is not objective and can be argued, some would say that the service the banker offers affects more people, more directly, and more often, and therefore would assign more value, rightly or wrongly, to that than to the abstract cure for cancer that they may get someday but also may not), this amorality does not somehow mean that the wages are not yours. We may politically shout about how certain professions (e.g. teachers) should receive more money, but what we are willing to pay is the actual test is how much we are willing to pay for the service offered. Most people are willing to pay less for research because everyone believes cancer will not affect them or are willing to chance it against how much they are willing to pay towards the research; or pay teachers less because the education levels of the masses is an abstract concept that concerns the average person less than the concrete question of who is handling my money that I need to live every day (the banker).

    TL;DR even if you see the market as amoral, that doesn’t somehow equate to your wages not being your wages. You have personal liberties and are not obligated to contribute to the morality of society.

  • AvatarRob
    June 23, 2018 - 12:35 am

    Just tell people their net wages when advertising jobs, not their gross wages, and we wouldn’t have nutters claiming tax is theft. You agree to give your labour for the amount you receive after income tax not before. Tax on your salery was never yours, it was never given to you in the first place, therefore it’s not theft to take it alway. Simple! You don’t claim a right to every penny that your employment generates for the company you work for, so don’t claim every penny that you employment generates for society that allows you that employment opportunity in the first place.

    • AvatarHarry
      June 4, 2020 - 8:58 am

      So then your employer is the one getting robbed by the gov’t instead of you.

  • AvatarWade
    July 14, 2018 - 3:13 am

    This is without a doubt one of the stupidest articles on the subject I’ve read. The mental gymnastics it took to try and say that we’re not entitled to our incomes is absolutely astounding. Clearly does not understand the premise of basic logic.

  • AvatarRichard Hunter
    July 22, 2018 - 6:49 pm

    Taxation is not theft because taxes are not the property of the tax payer, they are the property of the government.

    • AvatarFer
      July 10, 2019 - 1:17 am

      Absurd logic. If I plant an apple seed on my land, and nurture it for years untill I have a tree that produces apples, and one year I get 100 apples from my tree, The 100 are mine if I leave them at home, but as soon as I exchamge them for money, I am robbed of a part of my hard earned work through these so called taxes… so its theft. All 100 apples belong to me, and I am entitled to the full ammount of cash I get from them.

    • AvatarJerry
      March 5, 2020 - 9:09 pm

      You have to be kidding me dude ever heard of a little document called the declaration of independence it plainly states the gov. Only gains the authority the people give it and should the people decide to resend their concent the gov has absolutely no authority or power.

  • AvatarGary
    August 10, 2018 - 11:28 pm

    Also, what gives someone the moral right, or the authority to take someone’s money in the form of taxes, and to determine what is fair for another to keep.

    • AvatarTG Brown
      August 17, 2019 - 2:15 pm

      This whole article is liberal crap, that is more about wealth distribution than taxation.

  • August 11, 2018 - 12:35 am

    “Government says its legal, therefore its legal” has some merit, logically speaking. Although there are all sorts of behaviors that were legal when X government did them that I bet the author would take significant issue with, so this argument falls flat.

    “The market doesn’t reward effort in the manner that I believe it should reward effort, therefore you are not deserved of the money you make” is meritless to the extreme — to the point of idiocy. Not to mention the author offers exactly no metric or method by which he would reward effort (although we can probably assume that the method would be forcible government confiscation and redistribution), so he doesn’t offer any alternative means–let alone substantiating logic–by which to determine the “just” distribution of compensation his argument is predicated on.

    In short: this article is sophistic drivel.

  • AvatarTim
    August 30, 2018 - 4:01 pm

    Poor paper as author jumps right over main controversy. Is there a legal of moral right to tax income. Author writes, “You clearly don’t have a legal right to your pre-tax income, as you are legally obliged to pay tax on it”. That’s the controversy, we had no income tax in America for a hundred years, minus a civil war. So if this paper was written in that time it has no merit. Then a temporary tax on income was put in place and it stuck as once agencies and workers received benefits from others, they were not going to give it up. So we have half our country’s history where there was no income tax (a person was entitled to their full pretax income) and half our history with income tax, which was better? That is the question and where the author should have gone in debate? Why was income picked, why property? Better question why tax in general, why not specific fees? Maybe because originally tax was easiest and income and property are biggest monetary amounts to deal with. Are we not more sophisticated than that? If I stay local why do I pay for interstate roads? Why not tax car and vehicle owners who travel interstate for that? If I pay the bus or taxi, my fee contribution to infrastructure it uses is built into the fee. If I drive local why not have local plates that are not allowed on interstates and only pay toward local roads? If my children or myself go to school I pay fees to education, if they don’t or I don’t go to school, I don’t pay a fee. What about serving underprivileged areas that cannot provide? That’s where charity and social organization’s step in. If people feel the compassion then they support directly to support underprivileged. If society doesn’t have the compassion or support then as sad as it sounds, why would their representative elected officials go opposite their wish and force to take the money and put it where the people would not otherwise want it to go? In short, fees not taxes, support what individuals are willing and wanting to support, not what well polished lobbyists and manipulative journalist or shall we say kingship political systems deems society must support.

  • AvatarCoopeDeVille
    September 6, 2018 - 5:02 pm

    “it is implausible to suppose that each person has a moral right to his or her pre-tax income, for that would imply that the distribution of pre-tax incomes the market happens to throw up is perfectly just, and this is clearly not the case.”

    The market consists of 320 million people but somehow a relative handful of bureaucrats with a long and dubious history of fraud, waste, scandal and abuse know better what the “just distribution of pre-tax incomes” should be for those 320 million.

    While the author spews his piffle surrounded by all the most important things in his life which were made available to him by the market at a price he could afford. Meanwhile the USPS still can dependably deliver the mail and Americans students in government schools aren’t even in the top 20 in the world in math, science and reading.

    Such ignorance in this day and age of access to information is a choice.

  • AvatarFrederic Bastiat
    October 30, 2018 - 11:08 pm

    “..for that would imply that the distribution of pre-tax incomes the market happens to throw up is perfectly just, and this is clearly not the case. There is no justice in the fact that the pre-tax income of a City banker is many hundreds of times the pre-tax income of scientist working on a cure for cancer. ”

    Of course there’s justice on the distribution of pre-tax income the market “happens” to throw up. Actually, the market does not reward the importance of a service that is provided (such as being a doctor). The market rewards the added value created to the consumer. And consumers value services in order to their needs and desires. There’s nothing more democratic than the market (if there aren’t govermenet interferences). So, of course, taxes are theft.

  • AvatarSimon Wen
    January 16, 2019 - 10:22 pm

    The “Force of Law” is often wrongly attributed.
    More correctly is should be stated as the “Law of Force” as this accurately describes our common situation of coercion.
    Academics be damned! Their convoluted diatribes are not progress just maintenance for the status quo.

    To put this simply I as an individual cannot confer rights to others (singularly or en-mass) that I do not have in the first instance.

    Therefore taxation is theft and government is illegitimate.

  • AvatarErnesto Carvajal
    March 11, 2019 - 1:24 am

    This is straight up garbage. Anything extracted from the owner involuntarily is theft. Doing so under color of authority does not change that.

  • AvatarN
    July 11, 2019 - 7:25 am

    Fact! Taxation is injustice!

    Fuck the tax man!

  • AvatarTG Brown
    August 17, 2019 - 2:13 pm

    To accept this (extremely liberal) answer would be to accept that everyone is taxed equally, everywhere. They aren’t and by your philosophy there’s no moral difference if the government TOOK 33% of your money or TOOK 100% of it. Make no mistake, they’re taking YOUR money or they’ll take your freedom. There’s a whole other debate on whether or not how they spend it is efficient or not but we give our opinion on that debate when we cast our ballot.

  • AvatarRego
    September 16, 2019 - 10:53 am

    I don’t have a problem with taxation as such. What I do have a problem with is the mis-appropriation of the taxes that are taken. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about or can instantly think of your own examples.

    In my field of work I get to see an outside view into gratuitous and on going wastes of tax payers money by the beneficiaries of the taxes accumulated. There is no check or balance to rectify or even for the tax payer to have visibility on how it is spent.

    In a well entrenched nation it is too complicated and the system far too convoluted to identify and rectify the lack of KPI’s, lack of repercussion and lack of visibility around the mis-appropriation of taxes to which the end result is the tax rates are always being re – aligned, usually as part of an increase which realistically is only needed to mask all of the above.

    Only a percentage of the taxes accumulated actually then transfer into visible improvements in services while the rest is eaten up bit by bit by the people in the system or on complete rubbish programs and outcomes. Most of which are just not needed and/or HAVE to spend their annual grant else they get less tax revenue the next financial year. So as a result there is NO incentive in any dept or system that is dependent on your tax income to do ANYTHING more efficiently.

    I don’t have a problem with taxes, but I am a firm believer that everyone, every single person in a well developed nation pays far far far too much tax for the services received. A percentage of it is used on meaningful outcomes. The rest is basically eaten up without any benefit to you or I.

    In this scenario a large percentage of what you and I pay IS legalised theft because we are paying extra to support a broken overtaxed system.

    I want my money back.

  • November 5, 2019 - 5:41 am

    Glad to hear we’re entitled to 100% of our money that you earn on our behalf.

  • Avatarfktaxes
    December 10, 2019 - 11:57 pm

    this is incoherent babble, we stopped allowing unpaid workers because of slavery. therefore if you work 20 hours and only get the money for 10 because of taxes, that means you was a slave for 10 hours that week or day. if you’re not getting the money for what you worked, you are a slave and if slavery is illegal and working while not being paid is illegal(which is why we have a minimum wage) then taxation is illegal.

  • AvatarDavid Foster
    January 21, 2020 - 11:56 pm


  • AvatarScott
    February 22, 2020 - 6:05 pm

    Taxes only make sense on the grounds that we pay for public services. Why should a person pay more for the same services based on income? If a person who makes 40k annually and a person who makes 100k annually both hire a plumber to replace the same kind of toilet in similar conditions it would cost the same amount. Why should public services be any different? Second, How can you say that someone is not entitled to the money they earn simply because there is infrastructure supporting them? The company takes a profit and pays taxes as well. If I earn 100,000 annually at a dealership the owner makes more than four times that amount. How is that not fair compensation for the infrastructure supporting me? Taxes should be equal not in percentage but in actual dollar amounts. When Americans wake up and decide to take a stand maybe things will change but for now taxation is absolutely theft.

  • AvatarDustin
    June 4, 2020 - 8:41 am

    Your argument can easily be used to argue that theft – as in armed robbery – is also morally pristine. “It’s not your money – I get to decide whose it is”.

    You should change the title. From “why taxation isn’t theft”, to “why taxation IS theft – but that’s fine.”

    Now please excuse me. Your arguments were very convincing, and I’m off to rob a bank. Convince me not to!

  • AvatarDan
    June 30, 2020 - 5:37 pm

    Taxation IS theft. Intellectual bullies just created another name for it. Clearly you have had too much government schooling.

  • AvatarSam
    December 7, 2020 - 11:34 am

    I’m living in the wrong country. I hate it here. Greedy people. Also, if yall hate taxes then promote Fairtax! Go ,educate yourselves, read the facts.

  • AvatarKujoGirono
    July 21, 2021 - 1:30 pm

    People don’t get paid as a function of how hard they work or how skilled they are. You are confused.

    That is obviously related, but it’s not the real reason.

    People get paid as a result of engaging in economic contracts with other people, where, in a fair world, both parties have agreed on a mutually satisfying transaction.

    If I am very highly skilled but I agreed to form a contract with a company that pays me less than others, that’s my choice and it’s fair, as long as the company didn’t force me to participate in that contract. I may have done it because I like low-stress environments, or because I didn’t look for more, or because I’m a bad negotiator, or because I didn’t research the market, or … fill in the gap.

    But it’s perfectly fair.

    OF COURSE, taxes are theft.

  • AvatarMatt
    January 26, 2022 - 4:23 pm

    There are a lot of good arguments happening in this comment thread, and I’m late to the party for sure, but the point I didn’t see anyone make seems to be the most obvious.

    You assert that taxes aren’t theft because income is a gift, and is not truly earned.

    So, if I walk into your home and steal your families Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve, I am not a thief? If I did this to an entire geographic region, with a group of people helping me, I am still not a thief? If I left the receipts so you and the rest of my victims know what you could have had, am I no longer a thief? Where exactly is the line between theft and non theft then? Every bit of property I own was purchased with money I was gifted by the market, or was gifted to me by someone close to me. Do I have no right to any of it, despite the hours, weeks, years, of labor I traded for the money used to buy it?

    You make it very clear that the idea of someone owning the fruits of their labor is not a valid argument, but then you back that statement up with one of the most ridiculous arguments I’ve ever heard. You’re not a thief if you’re stealing gifts. I think it’s time we went and released and pardoned everyone who’s been incarcerated for stealing, because all of it was just a gift from the market anyway right?

  • AvatarKarla
    February 13, 2022 - 12:45 am

    You’re absolutely wrong. It’s my money and I want it now!!!!!


  • AvatarWorking man
    November 30, 2022 - 12:45 am

    “Blah blah blah blah”

    Taxation is theft, PERIOD.

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