The following is self evident
Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.Benjamin Franklin
In fact these are aspects of the exact same concept. Taxation if practiced upon one individual upon another would be theft of property earned by hard work. Death is the theft of life.
Both are theft.
Property is not theft: theft is theft and it matters not if it is used to steal property or life, although in doing the former the latter is put in jeopardy. These are intertwined concepts that to live one must be able to create for oneself and retain enough to not just survive but to prosper. When taxation is high, your life is at stake in a very real way.
Now on to the basis for our tax system, as opposed to the instantiation called the tax code which I will get to in a bit.
Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.
Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
Source: US Archives
Which changed this:
No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
Source: US Archives
Before Amendment XVI the US government figured out how much it needed to run and could then do one of two things:
1) Levy a direct tax upon every citizen of an equal amount, or,
2) Tell the States how much money was needed to run the federal government and let them collect it.
This is part and parcel of the concept of the checks and balances of sovereign power in a republic which I go over numerous times, but most recently in The Process and Sovereignty fact explained by fiction. The problem was, such as it was purported to be at the time, that government had to plead with the States to get funded and the States were making it hard to pass bills by not posting Senators in a timely fashion. The argument was further extended that government had a lot to do and not enough cash to do it. The only way to go around this was to put together a campaign that made federal government taxation the centerpiece of the republic, not its necessary feed tube but a direct tap into the arteries of commerce that are your wallet. This was promised to be put in place only on the rich and never go above 7%. From 7% to 70% took 7 years, and it was not just on the 'rich' any more.
Taxation is a necessary evil for government to restrain those that would hurt the public directly, and at the federal level that isn't you, as individuals, but the Nation as a unit. Direct taxation that is non-apportioned (that is not equally levied) is something that is part of class warfare in that it pits the numerous poor against the few wealthy. And yet, by creating a system that does so, the wealthy then have a much larger stake in getting outcomes that fit their desires more in return for their much larger amounts paid into the system of government. The wolf does not come into the dining room by accident, but is joyously greeted as a protector from that monster under the bed... and soon you find yourself without food, bed, and possibly even shelter until you can figure out how to get rid of the wolf. Now if only the monster under the bed, which is to say class envy, had any real effect beyond making the poor greedy for that wealth that isn't theirs and inviting the wolf inside in the first place.
We bring our own doom upon us via greed and envy that is part of human nature.
Now since taxation is an expression of the negative liberty that creates the necessary evil we call government to restrain it, and the power of theft via taxation to sustain it, what is the positive liberty that is embodied by creation of wealth and giving freely of it?
Ah, yes, that is called 'charity'.
Rome was still a republic, back in those days. Too bad the people wanted more goodies via their Senate and then instituted a means to take money from the rich, which then required an expansive military empire to sustain that growing hunger. The republican values enshrined charity, and while perhaps not as revered as the tax man, it was the builder of a republican society that cherished the values of divided government. Debase charity and the republican values fall away, and you soon get greedy people driven by human nature to take more than they make.
This attitude change destroyed the Roman middle-class by also including slavery into the mix and, before its downfall, there were more slaves in Rome doing work than there were people in the middle class. Actually there were more slaves (and Romans in slave status) than Free Romans in Rome once it became an empire, come to think of it. Once in old age Augustus would realize how far he had debased the Roman citizenry with taxation coupled with public expenditures and that the strong republic was now an empire with a void in its center. All empires have a void of public assent at their center, it doesn't matter which empire it is: those that rule, not govern, no longer listen to the wishes of the citizenry and the empire, for all its military might, is ripe to be destroyed. An empire can only exist on the backs of slaves or serfs, which is why Karl Marx cheered on the North in the US Civil War: mere wage slavery was a way out to a better life, and was a positive artifact of capitalism and needed to be cheered on so that the foundations of socialism could be built. Too bad he never read history to show what happens when people realize they can take everything from those that produce... but these nasty things called 'Dark Ages' or 'Iron Times' are really quite harsh. Only the effete elite ignore them due to the queasy feeling they get when they realize that they are encouraging yet another round of mass theft.
Charity, by this standard, is not theft at all.
It is the willful giving of the fruits of one's labor to those institutions that will tend to the sick and aged, care for the poor and needy, and offer solace to the beleaguered. Charitable institutions teach republican values by their very existence: that you have a direct say in the welfare of your fellow man outside of government. It is a value that does, indeed, begin at home as our poor, weak, needy and uneducated come in the form of our children. They need to see the lesson that being given food, clothing, education and schooling is a burden taken up freely by their parents to create society. The number one, most important lesson to learn from charity at home is that you are a burden to your parents and your greatest desire in your love for them is to stop being that burden. To do that requires lessons of self-governance, thrift and the willingness to take up your burden of your life from your parents so that you can be free and that you, in turn, liberate them from that burden they took up gladly.
Do you see the part theft plays in charity?
If you don't is because there isn't any: it is an expression of our positive liberty that comes from our free labor to live a life in freedom.
The tax code that comes from the tax system, seen above, does not enshrine charity as the prime value of the republic and a means to create self-sustaining citizens of a republic. This can be seen via the simple asking of a question:
Why is charity a tax deduction?
If charity and the institutions of charity are a prime bulwark to helping citizens stand on their own two feet to be productive citizens on their own, then why is government getting the first bite at your income and then allowing you might, just maybe, have a charitable instinct and let you take a bit of that tax bite back? Government is a necessary evil and not the prime part of building society. Indeed, by taking productive wealth from citizens, it is a drag on society and eats up wealth while, in its very best instance, providing equal justice via simple laws that are easily understood by all citizens. A republic that has citizens who cherish republican values would not put the government, any government outside of self-government, as the first to take a bit out of their income, no matter its source.
Our prime duty as citizens is towards our fellow citizens and it starts at birth, when we are cared for through the charity of our parents and we must continually give back in charity to our fellow man so that we have a vibrant society that can actually sustain this drag we call government which is only an organ of society. And not a very pretty organ, at that. If charity is the heart of society, then government in all forms come in just before the anus and just after the stomach: it is necessary and yet the products of it are waste.
The grand goal of Progressivism was to put government in your life before charity, which is to say that you only get raised, as a child, after government has taken its bite from your parent's income for its own purposes. While you suckle at the teat, government was stealing the bread necessary to let your mother make milk for you. In a very real sense it was suckling before you ever got there and would for the rest of your natural life and you, my fellow citizens, would be the burden of government.
That is evil because it is unnecessary.
If we truly enshrined charity as a hallmark of good citizenship and a necessary burden to us all before government, then we would have a tax code that puts charity via full deduction from gross pay FIRST and government SECOND. Our duty to our fellow citizens is direct via the application of our positive liberty expressed by the freedom to work, thus allowing us the marketplace to repay us for our work. A tax on commerce is one thing, and limited to States and local government, taking the direct food from your mouth via income FIRST before your family and then other charities, is a true evil that knows no bounds.
How can I say that?
What are the limits of the federal government today? Are there any left?
Government has a proper place and status in society and it isn't a high one. It is not a charitable organization as it requires theft to operate, and the only acceptable theft is one that is either equal, regardless of income, upon all citizens or mediated by a more local government to figure out how to pay for the larger national government. That is why it was set up the way it was: to keep government limited.
For all the talk of 'flat taxes' and reducing government should we not, as citizens of a republic, be demanding that our government recognize that its place is AFTER that of the positive liberty to build society as expressed by our charity? I have heard the moaning and bewailing of this concept in that 'charity would over-run us' and that people 'wouldn't put money where it needs to go'.
On the former, is there such a thing as a too giving society? One that enshrines our positive liberty and reinforces it so that all citizens know that their fellow citizens are there for them in times of need is a BAD THING?
On the latter: this is the basis for freedom and liberty, that no man is told what to do with his earnings via charity. There will still be necessary money left to feed oneself and keep a roof over one's head after raising children and donating to charity is performed. Government gets to take from that pile, that net amount, after an individual has decided how much they need to reinforce and give back to society FIRST. The rich will find they can only spend so much on charity before the allure of spending on themselves comes to the forefront and then it is that money that gets taxed: the greedy get taxed more. Encouraging spending on items that you may not see as necessary, schools, libraries and support of charity hospitals, can be done by rich and poor alike, and who is to say that we need more of any item than any other than the people who earn the money? What you may see as ill spending, may be something another man sees as a vital need to be addressed via charity and there so long as the poor, need, sick, disabled and young are cared for via these means, who is to say that they are wrong? Are these not the stated goals of Progressives? Then why are they so costly and run up such high debt so as to put the Nation into insolvency and, in a short time, into bankruptcy? Putting the intermediary of government in at every level and every choice costs too much and demeans citizens into the status of slaves to support government. That didn't work too well out for Roman and every other people who enshrined government as their centerpiece have faced a similar fate. History is our teacher and we ignore it at our peril.
Ask yourself: would you not give more and retain less for yourself if you knew that the money put into building society was beyond the reach of the thief of government? Bad charities can be taken care of by the scraps left for the legal system, the bad actors weeded out so that the good may thrive and prosper. That puts government SECOND and charity FIRST, which is the order that sustains society. When government is put in charge of determining who gets how much and when at the cost of the lifeblood of liberty, you also get the extreme overhead of government and the ill-use of funds that, strangely enough, never, ever gets addressed by removing power from government when it FAILS to do these functions efficiently and effectively.
Yes you did pay into SSA and when you are old you get to pick the kernels out of the droppings of the waste of government. Aren't you so thankful for that? That instead of asking your citizens for help or having build solid institutions, you are now living at the whim of far distant and remote government and become a pawn to keep abusers of the system by expanding it in power. Just make sure you wash up those kernels in the dung before eating them, because that is what you have asked for and you have gotten it and helped to tear down society via government. This is what you asked for and got. And it can be changed, altered and amended by realizing that the actual fiend is government and not your fellow man who is only painted as stingy for political purposes and then abused and demeaned once those politicians get in power to wield it over our children, our elderly, our sick and our needy.
Our choice, as citizens, is to put government in its place and really, and for true, recognize that charity begins at home with our children and continues on throughout our lives with the institutions that we build to succor the poor, old, infirm, young, destitute and beleaguered, and that we are made stronger by directly giving and volunteering our time and lives to this work than we ever are through the waste organ of society known as government. That is perfectly allowable in the course of human events when the necessary evil of government becomes the form of our own abuse and repression not just of the healthy, but of the poor and weak.
That is a pure evil that is self-inflicted.
Brought to you by our tax code.
It doesn't have to be this way.
We can change our priorities for ourselves and then demand that our government follow our lead as citizens and that it is we who form the republic, and our government is just a necessary organ to do so. Rather that the body run lean and mean through our digestion and leave little for government to subsist on than to be eaten by it as it becomes cancerous by taking directly from our life blood.