Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Here’s the libertarian position: abolish the income tax and leave people free to keep everything they earn."

How to Make America Exceptional Again
by Jacob G. Hornberger

In his State of the Union address, President Obama raised the issue of tax cuts for the rich, one of the big battlegrounds between liberals and conservatives.


Conservatives: “Lower taxes for the rich! Make the cuts permanent!”

Liberals: “Raise taxes on the rich! Make the increases permanent!”

Do you see what I mean when I say that there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between liberals and conservatives? They both believe that government should have the authority to determine how much money people should be permitted to keep out of their income. And they both believe that it’s the job of government to take care of people.

Or to put it another way, they believe that everyone’s income rightfully belongs to the government and that it is government’s job to determine how much an allowance each person will be permitted to have. The government keeps the rest and takes care of people with it.

It’s the paternalistic state in action. Sometimes our federal daddy needs more money to take care of people — here at home, or in Iraq or Afghanistan, or just some foreign dictator somewhere — and so the allowance he permits us to have is smaller. Sometimes our daddy doesn’t need so much, and our allowance is larger.

Oh, and don’t forget the fights waged between the adult-children over who gets a bigger share of the allowance money. The rich fight for a larger share. So do those in the middle class. The poor usually lack the resources to lobby Washington policymakers for a larger allowance.

It’s all one big, crooked, corrupt, immoral process by which large numbers of people are trying to get into other people’s pocketbooks, while doing their best to protect their own pocketbooks from being plundered.

Here’s the libertarian position: abolish the income tax and leave people free to keep everything they earn. That was the way of life adopted by the Founding Fathers. Americans lived without income taxation for more than 100 years. That way of life brought into existence the massive savings and capital that produced the wealthiest society in history.

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