This week a liberal reader sent me a list (which has apparently been circulating on the internet) on the subject of taxes. “Hello!” began the generic message. “Please think about this email before you complain about taxes. If you don’t like taxes…”
What followed was an extensive list of things supported by taxes, and urging us to NOT use these items or services if we object to paying for them. However the author blurred the critical distinction between federal, and state and local taxes, and cannot seem to distinguish between government functions mandated by the Constitution, and those which are not.
I thought this was an excellent basis for my WND column, but the list was far too long to be included in the column itself (in which I'm technically limited to 1000 words), so I thought I’d post the complete point-by-point rebuttal here. My WND column is here, so be sure to go read my concluding remarks.
There are a few things to remember when it comes to taxes. First, the Constitution does authorize federal taxes to support the enumerated powers of government. I have no complaints about such taxes. However one of the reasons our nation is in a financial freefall is because the government insists on funding thousands of unconstitutional programs.
Second, remember that the federal government has long since trashed the Tenth Amendment, which leaves all issues not specifically enumerated in the Constitution up to the individual states.
And third, because of the Tenth Amendment, states are (or should be) capable of competing with one another for their population base. If you don’t like a state’s mandates or taxes, you’re free to move to another state (while still remaining American). With federal mandates and taxes, there is no such option.
Taxes which support city, county, or state mandates are different than federal taxes. If I don’t like the city, county, or state issues, I have the freedom to leave and move to another city, county, or state. That’s something to keep in mind when reviewing this list.
Here is the list. If you don’t like taxes…
• Don’t flush your toilet. [In our case, we have a septic system built by a private company. But why can’t private companies compete with each other to manage water systems for urban areas? Too often, monopoly powers are granted to a private industry, giving it quasi-governmental status. Without active competition, service and efficiency decrease and costs increase.]
• Don't expect tap water to be clean and germ-free. [You’re kidding, right? Private companies are incapable of providing these services? See above.]
• Don’t bring your garbage to the curb. [Once more, see above.]
• Don’t use the court system. [No problem. The Constitution allows for a court system, supported by taxes.]
• Don’t drive on paved roads. [All over the nation, we are seeing privately-owned paved roads springing up that are more efficient and less costly to construct and maintain. Remember, the interstate highway system only came into existence in the 1960s. We got along just fine without it prior to Eisenhower. And now the funding for the interstate system has become a sword at the throat of states. If they don’t toe the line on federal issues, the government threatens to cut their highway funding.]
• Don’t call 911. [I don’t have a problem paying taxes for local law enforcement or 911 services. Those are immediate benefits for my tax dollars. I do, however, have a problem with federally-mandated goons at airports who strip-search grandma in her wheelchair.]
• Don’t call the police when you are robbed. [See above. And let us all pack heat and maybe we won’t be robbed as often.]
• Don’t fly in an airplane with air traffic controllers. [Why can’t air traffic controllers be privately-run organizations which compete for business?]
• Don’t use the post office or send anything by FedEx or UPS. [Hello, FedEx and UPS are private companies. And how’s that post office government monopoly working out?]
• Don't ask for a taxpayer subsidy to do business anywhere. [Good idea. As a business owner, I won’t. Too many strings attached.]
• Don't ask for a farm subsidy. [We have a farm. We already turned down that option. I don’t like government goons telling me what I can or can’t do with our pastures, livestock, or crops.]
• Don't ask for a government subsidy for defense contracts. [Why should there be government subsidies for defense contracts?]
• Don't look for a lucrative government consulting contract. [Ditto.]
• Don't run for political office, since your salary would be paid by taxpayers. [Shudder. As if. However the Constitution does establish the need for a limited number of public servants with limited powers. Our government has grossly exceeded these constraints.]
• Don't be a company that pollutes and expect taxpayers to bail you out. [Great idea. Don’t bail them out.]
• Don’t attend a state university. [There are lots of private universities – Hillsdale College is an excellent example – and private universities would be significantly cheaper if the government wasn’t in the business of subsidizing students through government credit cards (student loans). If you closed all the state universities, what do you suppose professors and administrators would do? Wanna bet they’d open a private university and have to compete with other private institutions by lowering their prices and improving their services?]
• Don't watch college sports. [I’m not a sports fan so I never have. But why in the world are our taxes supporting college sports?]
• Don't ask to use a G.I. bill to go to college. [The G.I. bill is considered to be part of the deferred benefits for soldiers. These men and women risk life and limb for our government’s international political agenda for lousy salaries. The least we can do is provide them with the benefits they were promised.]
• Don’t expect social security if you’re over 65 or disabled. [Good idea. Social security is a scam and should be phased out after everyone who has had their money stolen for the last eight decades gets back whatever they put in.]
• Don't accept government research funding that subsidizes research for your industry. [I won’t. The private sector is much better at conducting research, and it’s less apt to find data that supports pre-determined politically-motivated conclusions, like global warming.]
• Don't expect research into cancer, heart disease, etc. [This absolutely defies belief. Again, the private sector is perfectly capable of conducting research. The idea that only government can conduct research is absurd and untrue.]
• Don't get married, have children, and die, and expect the government to keep track of all the certificates. [Great idea. Private individuals, doctors, medical facilities, and data centers can perform the same service. Why do I need a government certificate to prove I’m married or have children? It should be obvious to even the dimmest progressive that the only reason the government fills this role is because they have a vested interest in tracking taxpayers from cradle to grave.]
• Don't expect to own anything like a house, car, or boat, etc., because the government keeps track of titles. [I can’t tell you how much I wish the government wouldn’t keep track of titles. The only reason they keep track is so they can tax these items. This also means no one actually owns their home or car. The government does, but lets us use them for a fee. Don’t believe me? See what happens if you don’t pay your property taxes. Your property is confiscated even if it’s fully paid for.]
• Don't take any medications approved by the FDA. [Okay. How about if we use medications approved by private companies, the medical equivalent of Good Housekeeping’s Seal of Approval? Drugs would be cheaper and more available if the FDA stopped mandating insane and unnecessary requirements, which often takes upwards of half a billion dollars and a decade or more (per drug!) before all the regulatory hoops are fulfilled. During this time, countless numbers of people suffer or die from the lack of an available drug. Believe me, private drug companies have a vested interest in making sure their drugs are safe and effective. And if they aren’t, the constitutionally-mandated court system can address the issues.]
• Don't go to a beach kept clean by the state. [There are thousands of “Friends of…” organizations who are happy to do this. Consider joining one.]
• Don't expect workplace safety standards, labor law, or minimum wage. [I won’t. If a workplace is unsafe, a company will not be able to attract workers and insurance companies won’t insure them. An injured worker can sue if his injury was caused by workplace negligence. And federally-set minimum wage hurts free-market competition, artificially elevates prices, and lowers employment. Duh.]
• Don't expect convicted criminals to be in prison and off the street. [How were convicted criminals imprisoned and off the streets before the government did it? This is a state or local issue.]
• Don't expect to eat in restaurants inspected for safety. [If a restaurant is dirty or makes me sick, I’ll never eat there again. Restaurants have a vested interest in keeping their facilities clean in order to attract and keep customers. Restaurants also compete for such private-sector awards as AAA or Michelin awards. Dirty restaurants go out of business.]
• Don't expect the state or the county to pay for foster care for children left abandoned or orphaned. [There would be hundreds of thousands more children with homes if people were allowed to adopt without spending tens of thousands of dollars and several years jumping through government regulations. I’ve watched my best friend’s efforts to adopt. It’s insane.]
• Don't expect investigation and removal of neglected and abused children. [The whole government-funded child abuse industry is so frighteningly out of control that it’s terrifying. Hundreds of thousands of innocent families have had their lives ripped apart because of false accusations and trumped-up charges that are impossible to disprove. Don’t ever try that loathsome argument on me.]
• Don't expect auto companies to be stopped from building SUVs that roll over and kill or seriously injure you and your family. [C’mon, do you really think the goal of auto companies is to kill their customers? Auto companies are perfectly capable of running safety checks on their products. Private businesses (such as Consumer Reports) regularly test and report on which cars are the safest. Believe me, if a vehicle is dangerous, no one will buy it.]
• Don't visit the Smithsonian in Washington. [Hello, private museums? If this facility were not government-funded, do you think a similar facility would never exist? Besides, even if I never visit it, I’m still forced to pay for it.]
• Don't try to get a passport to travel abroad. [This is a role of the federal government that is constitutionally mandated.]
• Don't go to a U.S. embassy in a foreign country when you're in trouble. [Ditto. See above.]
• Don't use public libraries. [I believe libraries should be privatized. This was only those who use them are being charged for them.]
• Don't use truck stops or public restrooms. [Um, hello? Truck stops with restrooms are private-sector services. I don’t know where you live, but I haven’t yet had a gas station refuse to allow me to use their restroom. In exchange, I buy gas or an iced tea. What happened before those government-funded rest stops existed?]
• Don't expect safety signs. [Wha…? This logic defies belief. Acme Sign Company is perfectly capable of manufacturing safety signs and installing them in appropriate places.]
• Don't expect laws against murder, theft, etc. [Such laws have been on the books through every civilization since the time of Moses. These are examples of mala in se laws.]
• Don't use natural oil or gas discovered by government agencies. [Government agencies don’t discover oil or gas. The private sector does. Unfortunately these corporations are wildly regulated and taxed by the federal government. If the federal government got out of the way, watch how quickly the price of gas would plummet.]
• Don't eat any food transported on roads. [Why? Roads will exist if they’re needed. Trucks will exist if they’re needed. Silly argument.]
• Don't expect elevators to work or not to fall. [Don’t you think Otis Elevator Company has a vested interest in making sure its elevators work, regardless of government inspections?]
The email concludes by saying, And so forth. Think about it,
I have. A lot. But apparently the writer of this piece hasn’t.
[Please read my concluding remarks on these issues here.]