In the first presidential debate, Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump’s reluctance to release his tax returns; suggesting that maybe he was “hiding something.” Clinton’s hypocrisy notwithstanding (she deleted 30k+ emails so the FBI couldn’t examine them), the core of her criticism draws a stark contrast between sold-out statist progressives (like Mrs. Clinton) and Republican constitutionalists who value individual liberty and limited government. Trump, admittedly is somewhere in between the two, but his words in response to Clinton’s “attacks,” about how he pays no federal income tax, were a telling estimation of where Trump’s belief is on the subject of taxation: “[Paying no tax] makes me smart,” he says, “[And] I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” We agree. Why? Because taxation is theft.
What is theft? Very simply, it is the taking of someone elses’ property against their will. Consider the following thought experiment:
“Is it theft if one man steals a car?”
“What if a gang of five men steal the car?”
“What if a gang of ten men take a vote (allowing the victim to vote as well) on whether to steal the car before stealing it?”
“What if one hundred men take the car and give the victim (entirely against his will) back a bicycle?”
“What if two hundred men not only give the victim (entirely against his will) back a bicycle but buy a poor person a bicycle, as well?”
Does merely increasing the number of men involved with the theft, and then adding some complexity as to what they do with it (after they’ve taken something that isn’t theirs against the will of the owner) make it somehow not theft? The answer is easily “no” … they are still committing robbery; and many other honest people would agree.
One such person is revered church father Augustine of Hippo, who commented on this very subject in his great work “The City of God (AD 426).” Within its pages he tells the story of a pirate caught by Alexander the Great, and their ensuing conversation.
Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies? For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms? The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince, it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy; the booty is divided by the law agreed on. If, by the admittance of abandoned men, this evil increases to such a degree that it holds places, fixes abodes, takes possession of cities, and subdues peoples, it assumes the more plainly the name of a kingdom, because the reality is now manifestly conferred on it, not by the removal of covetousness, but by the addition of impunity. Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride,What you mean by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, while you who does it with a great fleet are styled emperor.
Fox News senior legal analyst and libertarian pundit Judge Andrew Napolitano is a known admirer of St. Augustine; and agrees with him on this issue about the nature of government. On Freedom Watch in 2011, the Judge was able to help articulate this point by interviewing an expert on economic theory: esteemed George Mason University economics professor Walter E. Williams. Williams agreed that taking something from someone against their will and giving it to another was indeed theft and that over two thirds of the American federal budget is earmarked specifically to do that very thing.
When progressives insist on the narrative that some people don’t pay “their fair share,” what they really mean is those people have more money available to steal. Such tripe is an unfortunate example of the intellectual dishonesty rampant within American political discourse. By repeating this phrase over and over, “liberal” authoritarians have imbued it with a vernacular familiarity; one that unthinking people regurgitate like grazing cattle — unaware that they are actually slaves to amoral political tyrants.
The best plan (with the highest possibility of freedom and prosperity for all) would be no income tax. Former Texas congressman and champion of liberty Ron Paul said it best:
“I want to abolish the income tax, but I don’t want to replace it with anything. About 45 percent of all federal revenue comes from the personal income tax. That means that about 55 percent — over half of all revenue — comes from other sources, like excise taxes, fees, and corporate taxes.
We could eliminate the income tax, replace it with nothing, and still fund the same level of big government we had in the late 1990s. We don’t need to “replace” the income tax at all. I see a consumption tax as being a little better than the personal income tax, and I would vote for the Fair-Tax if it came up in the House of Representatives, but it is not my goal. We can do better.”
Donald Trump may not be a great champion for liberty. In many ways he is very much an authoritarian (stop & frisk, guns, government watch list). But on the subject of taxes he should be viewed as an ally. His plan cuts taxes across the board, resulting in a net take home increase for every bracket. Progressive plans increases them.
Don’t fall for leftist rhetoric when it comes to taxation. Their goal is power (and in some cases vengeance) — not prosperity. Higher taxation does not prosperity make. Our founders went to war over it. Never forget that.
What do think? Is Trump’s aversion to paying taxes a virtue or a vice? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.