Is taxation legal? Why do we pay taxes? Is taxation of citizens moral, ethical, or legal? Let me put the question in another way: is legal to demand a part of someone’s income giving nothing in return, without his or her written consent? Not according to Lysander Spooner: “If taxation without consent is not robbery, then any band of robbers has only to declare themselves a government, and all their robberies are legalized.” He argues in his Essay on a Trial by Jury that under common law, a reluctant taxpayer could never be found guilty by a jury because there was no previous agreement to base the case upon. By demanding to renounce a part of your income under the pressure of persecution resembles getting threatened and robbed. Of course, our socio-economic habitat is based on some level exactly on the collection of taxes. Public services like the illumination of the streets, maintenance of roads, some basic health care in some countries, the justice system, the law and order guys, etc. are all provided from funds that have their origin in our kitchen.
The budget provides for the elderly, cares for the sick, and helps the disabled. What would all these categories do without public funding? Would the taxpayers care for the ones in need? I am reluctant to think so, however seeing in what misery such categories live in, in states where public healthcare and social support are available, I have strong doubts about how healthy the system indeed is. Another question arises, namely, do the actual services provided by the state live up to the often exaggerated claims promised? If they don’t, because they often don’t, why do we obey anyway? Do we have other much more important businesses to attend to than to care how half of our income is being spent? Wouldn’t it be just great if they specified and you could agree or disagree? As if you actually had something to say about anything, as if were free individuals? But we are not, of course. Where does taxation have its origins? In the public commitment to offer a social aid for those who need it and for the things that are needed or it is just a tiny frog transformed in a mutated monster as the ages went by and the bureaucratic apparatus had swollen? Of course, we live better than our predecessors in the stone age or middle ages, but what happens when we don’t? What happens when a significant change is observable from one decade to another in the decline of public services or social care? Would we be entitled then not to give away half of our income? If the state was an entrepreneur, it would have gone bankrupt many times, for no basic law that governs the free market applies to it, nor to the performance of the individuals of whom it is made of and represented by.