segunda-feira, dezembro 17, 2012

Taxation is evil

Romanticizing Taxation por Sheldon Richman:
Far from some enlightened institution, taxation began when conquerors realized that formal and continuing appropriation of a subject population's wealth was preferable to hit-and-run pillaging. For this to work, however, the rulers needed to convince the peasants that the regime would protect them from predators in return for their regular remittances. That's right: It was a protection racket, from which the racketeers and their cronies profited handsomely. For the taxpayers, there was little choice in the matter. They weren't buying protection as people buy insurance in the market, and they weren't paying dues as they would later pay dues to mutual-aid societies. They paid or they were punished. The ideology of benevolent state protection reduced enforcement costs because the ruled outnumbered the rulers and widespread tax resistance would have doomed the regime. Things have changed little in our time.
Even if one believes there is no alternative to taxation for the provision of security for life, liberty, and property, one still should want to keep taxes low and transparent, since government itself is always the biggest potential threat to those values. As Adam Smith put it, "Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things."
There's nothing romantic about taxation, and the patriot appeal is chicanery. Those who say otherwise are, wittingly or unwittingly, mere stalking horses for politicians looking to do more mischief.

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