On Taxes and Freedom

Below is an essay I wrote with the hope/expectation that it would get published in Dead Tree Media somewhere.  Who knows if it will or not, but I can see no reason why the world should wait for DTM to act or be deprived altogether if it doesn’t.

Taxes erode freedom.  One of the ways in which taxes erode freedom is rooted in the nature of bureaucracies, especially government bureaucracies.  This is because the only source of income for government bureaucracies is tax revenue.  Bureaucracies are necessary in any society, without them no large scale institution could function.

However, all bureaucracies suffer from certain defects simply because these are intrinsic to human nature.  Among these defects is mission creep, the tendency of an organization to expand its area of influence.  We know this intuitively: the more we have, the more we want, and then we feel entitled to it, even if it was originally understood to be only temporary.  Like Topsy, bureaucracies just grow, and grow and grow.  Another great defect is that bureaucracies resist accountability.  Government bureaucracies all over the world can scarcely be held accountable to those who control the purse strings, and not at all to those whom they ostensibly serve.  The stories of bureaucratic indifference, inefficiency and incompetence are legendary, we have all heard them time and again.  The bigger the bureaucracy the more egregious the outrages it commits.  For the citizen, bureaucracy is the face of government, and it is not smiling.

Taken together these two tendencies are inimical to freedom.  Supposedly bureaucracies do what citizens cannot do.  In actuality, bureaucracies displace citizens from what they have been doing as a matter of course.  Welfare bureaucracies have displaced the family as the source of support in difficult times.  School bureaucracies have replaced parents as the primary educators of children.  In both these cases, as in many others, government bureaucracies produce results that are at best disappointing.  What is worse is that they have become entrenched monopolies which dominate the lives of citizens and dictate what we can and cannot do.  Backed by legal force, government bureaucracies compel the people they ‘serve’ to either become part of the system or suffer criminal, civil and/or economic penalties, rendering them powerless in either case.

The current administration has proposed massive increases in spending for bureaucratic expansion into ever more areas of public and private life, while cleverly hiding the cost which must ultimately be borne by the taxpayer.  The signs are clear: “No tax increase” is rapidly becoming “Mo’ tax increase.”  The corollary to more taxes is more government bureaucracy. This is exactly what we have already seen: using tax dollars the administration has in less than six months engaged in hostile takeovers in the banking, auto, and insurance industries.  More government bureaucracy means more government control and necessarily less freedom for all of us.

This administration’s policies pose a threat to freedom unparalleled in our nation’s history.  If we are to retain our character as a free people these cancerous budgets, bailouts and tax increases must be rescinded.  The window of freedom within which we can act is growing rapidly smaller, we must act now while we are still able.  Write your Congressman, attend a Tea Party, get active in your community, and do it today

Published in: on July 12, 2009 at 07:15  Leave a Comment  

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