Frankness About Wealth Redistribution
When taxation is part of government, wealth redistribution goes hand in hand with it. Taxation was what feudal systems used so as to pay rent to the monarchy. The monarch, after all, used to own the realm. All of it. So just as owners of apartment houses, monarch's collect rent from those living in there.
The meaning of this is that members of the population got to live in the country by permission of the government, be that a tzar, king, pharaoh, caesar or some other ruler who had nearly absolute power to run the place. It is still so in many regions of the globe. The people aren't deemed to have rights, including private property rights. That emerged late in the history of Western politics, mainly within the philosophy of the Englishman John Locke and his followers. They defended the idea of natural rights against those who championed the divine right of monarchs.
With the American Revolution the Lockean system started to be implemented, though by no means fully. This abolished serfdom or involuntary servitude but didn't quite manage to abolish taxation, namely, the confiscation of people's resources, although in principle that should have followed the revolutionary turn of events. If citizens own their lives − have an unalienable right to life −they also own the fruits of their labor. (And such fruits did not need to be created by them from scratch as Mr. Obama suggested with his misguided remark, "You did not build that.")
In any case, when governments confiscate resources from the people via taxation, the sort of wealth redistribution that Mr. Obama and other statists are avidly defending cannot be avoided. Taking their wealth and handing it out to some citizens for various purposes simply involves redistributing that wealth, period, be it justified or not.
Government's redistribution of the citizens' wealth is unavoidable unless taxation is abolished. Even the most minimal of taxation brings about such redistribution.
But in systems of limited government such as what the United States of America was supposed to become, the wealth redistribution was supposed to be minimal! That is where Mitt Romney is basically correct while Mr. Obama is wrong. It is under collectivist kinds of statism, in which the wealth of a country is deemed to be owned by the government exactly as Mr. Obama and those who support his political philosophy see it, that citizens do not have the right to private property but merely get to dispose of some property that the government allows them to retain from their earnings and findings. (Yes, Virginia, some private property is found, meaning it isn't built from scratch but arises from good fortune, like the wealth one gains from one's talents or good looks!) But just because one doesn't build one's wealth it doesn't follow that government owns it. That is rank non sequitur. (After all, one doesn't build one's pretty face or good health either, yet it doesn't belong to Mr. Obama!)
The real issue is whether the wealth one owns is to be distributed by oneself or others! Extensive taxation assumes that it may be distributed and redistributed by others, specifically by the government − politicians and bureaucrats. Not only that, but that these latter actually own one's wealth, including one's labor just as is believed under socialism wherein all the major means of production, including human labor, is collectively owned and administered − distributed and redistributed − by government officials. (Several major American political theorists, like Thomas Nagel and Cass Sunstein, argue for exactly that idea.)
This is the issue that could be debated in the current presidential campaign. Who is to do the distribution and redistribution, the citizenry or the state? In a free society it is the former that gets to do the bulk of the distribution and redistribution as it spends funds in the marketplace, gives some away, etc. In a welfare state, and especially in the full-blown socialist society, it is government, with the people left "permitted" to make some decisions about the allocation of resources.
Which is it to be in America? Why and how? That is what could be fruitfully debated now! But instead, the campaign is bogged down in moronic trivia and detail. It should be dealing with the fundamentals of the nature of free government − at least a substantially free government!
No. The Democrats refuse to admit that they really favor the socialist alternative, basically; and the Republicans lack the philosophical savvy to stand up for a truly free system of government, wherein the latter is seriously limited in its powers.
Posted by rgperrin on 09/27/12 12:49 PM
Yes, everything here is well-argued and thus unexceptionable ("five stars"). In the end, however, simple demographics will decide: The voting public is increasingly made up of those supporting a redistributionist (collectivist) government (Leviathan). It wasn't all that much of an exaggeration when I recently read somewhere that some Democrats were saying that the Republican party was mostly made up of "old, white men" whose numbers were in irreversible decline. Right now, I do not see any basis for even a modest degree of hope for this country's avoiding a mostly socialist future.
Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on 09/27/12 01:39 PM
The Corporation Excise Tax Act of 1909, the basis for the 16th Amendment, imposed a tax on profits and gains, not on wages. The tax is "measure by" wages that the corp. earns but is not a tax on the wages of the worker. Wages were never understood to be profits or gains as they are all necessary to maintain the human machine to perform work for the master. All things that sustain life, i.e. food/fuel, transportation, shelter/building, raiment/paint, medical and dental care/maintenance and savings so as to care for the worker when he can't work are costs and thus not profits or gains. So, wages are not taxed! Profits and gains of corps are taxed and they are measured by the wages they pay. The real problem is being forced/compelled to sign a confession under penalty of perjury testifying to facts to which the wage earner is not privy, i.e. he never reads the corporate records and never witnesses any payment of any corporate tax to the great Satan, the "enemy of all mankind," the IRS and the politicians who sanction such operations of tax collection and enforcement (police state functionaries and judges and state and federal attorneys).
Continuing to suggest that wages are taxed is, IMHO, an error and perpetuates a myth that infects and infests us to our great harm. If everyone knew that he could sit on a jury and decide not just the facts but also the law, the most income tax cases could be rendered "not guilty" because the tax laws are bad because they are tools of enslavement. (See Brailsford v. Georgia or Dougherty v. U.S. for the truth on jury power and duty).
Posted by Jeanna on 09/27/12 04:15 PM
When 50% of the population votes to take the wealth from the other half of the population, it is over. It is mathematically impossible to come back from that brink, as each successive voter is imprisoned in the benefits society redistributed by the government system. It is a slave mentality, that teaches them someone smarter, someone wealthier will take care of them.
The US has 47%, maybe 48% now, that depend in one way or another upon government handouts. Habits become entrenched, and souls are seduced by the all powerful dollar. What are they going to do when the rest of us quit producing?
All roads on this path lead to Haiti, where the only people who have anything work for the government, whose whims steal whatever is available from anyone who has anything. So no one grows a crop, no one builds a product because the gov't will take it from you. This is the end result of taxation and redistribution.
Posted by Muskie on 09/27/12 06:07 PM
Taxation IS redistribution. Since it's involuntary it's called theft.
Posted by Libertarian Jerry on 09/27/12 06:33 PM
So far,all the bloggers and Mr.Machan are true,correct and complete on their overview on taxes,and I agree with them completely. Now the question that arises is: What are you going to do about it?
Posted by Johnnymac1 on 09/28/12 01:58 PM
This article is superb in detailing the problem... The solution? It's simple, but not easy... we must go back to those John Locke Principles of individual property rights. There is nothing more sacred and personal than a man's pay for his work. It's the way God set up things... all acts of benovolence are to be voluntary from the heart. Taxing a man's wages (nabbing from his personal pay before he even sees) it by a government overloard is an evil concept. The answer is here... Click to view link ... we must stop taxing production, and only tax consumption... No, we do not need a little of each... just tax personal consumption only, and this nation will roar back into the world leader it used to be in every category!
Posted by Danny B on 09/28/12 09:14 PM
Dr. Machan, I couldn't think of anything to post that wasn't trite. Do we need more Darwin or less Darwin. Should we allow people to "piss in the gene pool" or no?
I did find an article and a vid that I believe is VERY relevant. It meshes well with my convictions as a neo-Luddite. The vid is marvelous.
Click to view link