Is taxation theft?

Taxes have been raised for over 5,000 years. Without tax, so it claims, the state cannot maintain its functions and support its citizens. But some libertarians claim all taxation is immoral: the state stealing the money of the individual. Where does taxation cross the line between legitimate representation and legal plunder?

Yes, taxation is theft

Taxation is an unjust practice that does not yield the rewards it promises.

The government has no right to tax

The government does not possess rights that the citizenry does not possess itself, yet it acts upon them without punishable consequences.

Taxation is legal plunder

Taxation is an exchange, and when this exchange is coerced, taxpayers shell out money for services they do not desire.

No, taxation is not theft.

Taxation is in sync with democratic principles.

Not according to Social Contract Theory

When we as citizens elect our officials, we are entering a social contract with them and entrusting them with running our society. Them choosing to tax us is not thievery because we willingly give them the power to do so.

Tax is an equalizing force, not a theft

Taxation is a method to promote equality and maintain justice in a society rather than being a perpetrator of it.

Pre-tax income does not belong to the taxpayer

If pre-tax income is owed to the state, then giving a fraction of that sum to the government cannot be seen as a "theft."

Taxation as theft is question-begging

The question itself assumes the truth of the conclusion instead of supporting it.

Taxes determine incomes, not make up a part of them

In understanding the true meaning of gross market income and government institutions, taxes are no longer a sum that is taken away from a share of income.

Yes, taxation is theft, but theft can be justified

In capitalist societies, the state imposes an excessively expansive notion of property rights, such that theft may on occasions be ethical. If the state prohibits anyone from acting on the perception that theft is justified, it must be willing do so itself.

Property rights do not exist as natural rights but as social conventions

There is no natural right to property over one's income or wealth. Property rights are merely part of a system of social/legal conventions concerning resource usage, and that system can justifiably include instances where some rights are revoked.

Property is a state-granted privilege, that government can revoke

Individuals lose the ability to freely use resources when other individuals or groups claim them as property. Therefore, in establishing property rights, societies privilege the beneficiaries while depriving the rest. If the state is to impose this arrangement on society, it must retain the ability to modify it.

If property rights are justified on consequentialist grounds, they should not be viewed as absolute

Resource scarcity may necessitate some restrictions on individuals' ability to use certain resources. This is often used as a basis for a consequentialist justification of property rights, based on the notion that their absence would lead to social or economic disfunction. However, this leaves the door open to consequentialist justifications for the revocation or violation of property rights in certain situations.
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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 12 Aug 2020 at 07:29 UTC