The theft called “taxes”

I was reading Murray Rothbard the other day and he reminded me about the way income taxes were collected up until World War II.

“… Before World War II, Internal Revenue collected the full amount, in one lump sum, from every taxpayer, on March 15 of each year. (A month’s extension was later granted to the long-suffering taxpayers.) During World War II, in order to permit an easier and far smoother collection of the far higher tax rates for financing the war effort, the federal government instituted a plan conceived by the ubiquitous Beardsley Ruml of R.H. Macy & Co., and technically implemented by a bright young economist at the Treasury Department, Milton Friedman. This plan, as all of us know only too well, coerced every employer into the unpaid labor of withholding the tax each month from the employee’s paycheck and delivering it to the Treasury. As a result, there was no longer a need for the taxpayer to cough up the total amount in a lump sum each year. We were assured by one and all, at the time, that this new withholding tax was strictly limited to the wartime emergency, and would disappear at the arrival of peace. The rest, alas, is history. But the point is that no one can seriously maintain that an income tax deprived of withholding power, could be collected at its present high levels. ~Rothbard

It is hard to believe that the people just paid their income tax out of their saving once a year is it not? It is hard to imagine what would happen today if the people had to cut a check each year for the total amount of their income tax burden.

Over my lifetime I have seen all sorts of arguments over taxes in this country. They have mainly dealt with how the government could extract the most money from the people. The entire idea behind Ronald Reagan’s reduction of marginal tax rates was to increase total revenue to the central government. Yes, that was not a misprint. The great tax reducer really was working on increasing the amount of taxes collected.  During the Reagan administration, federal receipts grew from $618 billion to $991 billion which is an increase of 60% (according to Wikepedia). There has been too much talk about the type of taxation or its “fairness” and not nearly enough on the total amount extracted from the population. I have seen endless tinkering with tax types and tax rates but I have seen little to no talk about the idea of taxation itself.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, a tax is a “pecuniary burden laid upon individuals or property owners to support the government […] a payment exacted by legislative authority.” It “is not a voluntary payment or donation, but an enforced contribution, exacted pursuant to legislative authority” and is “any contribution imposed by government […] whether under the name of toll, tribute, tallage, gabel, impost, duty, custom, excise, subsidy, aid, supply, or other name.” (source Wikipedia)

So just how much should be siphoned away from the producers by threat, intimidation, and the force of a gun? How much should the non-producers be allowed to steal from the productive via the theft called taxes?


Some sycophantic state worshipers will claim that taxation is not theft at all, but merely a “donation” made while having a gun pointed at your head. Sure, and those same people wonder how the US became an Empire that murders innocent women and children all over the world on a daily basis. Taxation is the theft that feeds the Evil Empire and enables its many horrors.

Frank Chodorov once wrote:

It will be seen that indirect taxation is a permission-to-live price. You cannot find in the marketplace a single satis­faction to which a number of these taxes are not attached, hidden in the price, and you are under compulsion either to pay them or go without; since going without amounts to depriving yourself of the meaning of life, or even of life it­self, you pay. The inevitability of this charge on existence is expressed in the popular association of death and taxes. And it is this very characteristic that commends indirect taxation to the state, so that when you examine the prices of things you live by, you are astounded by the disproportion between the cost of production and the charge for permis­sion to buy. …

The main lesson I have learned about taxes is that all taxation is robbery plain and simple. What else could it be? The dictionary tells me that robbery is the use of violence or threat of violence to to take a man’s property against his will. That is taxation in a nutshell.

I have heard some claim that taxation is really “voluntary”. That always makes me wonder if they are that stupid or if they are just blatant liars. On the off chance that they are just completely deluded I offer an experiment I read about long ago. Let us make the paying of all taxes really voluntary just like giving to the Church. Those who want to support the Empire may send all the money they want to and the rest of use can do with it as we please. Let us see how long that arrangement lasts before the state falls.

But taxation really is robbery as we all know, even the liars who will not admit it know it, so it then follows that anyone who is part of government is a thief. Any government worker at any level should be treated exactly like we would treat a mugger in the city. We can only hope that Karma delivers a just “reward” to anyone who works for the largest criminal gang on the planet.

There is no “fair tax” just as there is no “just murder”. Any taxation is theft and the proceeds of the crime goes to pay for even more crime — the murder of innocent men, women, and children worldwide.

10 thoughts on “The theft called “taxes”

  1. I absolutely LOVE you for this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    It's horrifying that people rationalize and attempt to justify what is a blatantly immoral and destructive institution. However I do think that it's not surprising, considering the values and history of the U.S. I do think that the U.S. cultural value for "pragmatism" over the years has given rise to all sorts of special interests which demand cronyist cooperation with the state. This phenomenon means that people are willing to enslave not only others but also themselves, just for the cheap victory of special privileges for their own pet projects. It is the same whether they are oil drillers, farmers, port merchants, or Wall Street speculators. Every industry seeks to abuse the entire system in exchange for cheap benefits from increasingly powerful politicians. In addition, once the New Deal took place, there was no turning back – every means of extracting the wealth of the American public could be explained away as some sort of "social justice" or aid to the poor, and it works precisely this way today. Eliminate Social Security or Medicare? You must hate old people! Eliminate the military? You must hate national security! Eliminate the DOE? You must hate struggling students! End the War on Drugs? You must hate the poor kids in the ghetto! Of course the reality is that only capitalism and free markets provide true social justice and/or charity, in addition to the fact that only capitalism and free markets build wealth across the population, not just for the so-called 1% but also for the 99% who take them for granted.

    To me, the most interesting feature of your write-up is that the employer-based tax scheme was a "temporary measure for wartime". How many times have we heard that excuse in the U.S. with regard to personal restrictions? And of course now as the U.S. is engaged in an endless War on Terror, resembling the Orwellian nightmare of the perpetual warfare with Oceania, there are realistically no limits on federal power.

    Reblogging now! 🙂

    • Thanks for the kinds words.

      I don’t see how I could agree with your great comment any more than I do. It was very good. I hope to take a longer look at this topic in a few weeks when summer starts and I have some more time. It is the collection of taxes that is at the heart of so many dark and evil deeds. The funding of the Empire needs to be cut way back.

      Thanks for the re-blog.

  2. The idea that the income tax is voluntary cannot so easily be dismissed. The government assumes you are a “taxpayer,” i.e., someone liable for the tax. It offers no proof for that assumption–indeed, there is none. In its correspondence, it greets you as “Dear taxpayer–.” Your reply, without challenging that status, might be said to constitute an acquiescence, or volunteering, into the system. Once you accept the status of “taxpayer,” your person and property are theIRS!

    • Are you the same Paul Hein who writes for If so, I love your columns, and when are you going to start posting them again?

  3. Nobody is legally required to pay income taxes, and they never have been. They shouldn’t even be called taxes, since they’re voluntary, and even the IRS is on record on numerous occasions as saying so.

    If you actually take 20-30 seconds to think about it, an intelligent person should be able to see through the farce easily. How in Hell can anybody be legally required to assess taxes against their own personal earnings that they receive in exchange for their skills and labor, especially in the private sector? The fact that millions of people go through this charade/robbery every single year, and insist that “it’s the law,” when they’ve never seen any such law (because there ISN’T one), is enough to boggle the mind of a rock. This has got to be the second-most successful mind-control experiment in all of recorded history, right behind religion.

    One more thing. To the people who claim that the 16th Amendment authorizes a direct, non-apportioned tax on their earnings, it does no such thing. The word “direct” appears nowhere in the text. And if somebody wants to say, “Well, that’s garbage, because when I fill out a 1040, I’m assessing just such a tax on my earnings,” my response would be, “You’re absolutely right. That is exactly what you’re doing. My question to you is: Who told you that you were legally required to do it, or where did you read anything like that?”

    If you are a man or woman legally domiciled in one of the 50 union states, working in the private sector, and you do not have a W-4 on file with your company (and no law requires you to), you don’t pay estimated income taxes, and you don’t fill out, sign and submit 1040s, there is literally nothing in the IRC that can legally touch you with regard to income taxes.

    Knowledge is power.

  4. Gubmint is force; and taxatio is robbery!
    And that’s the name of that tune…

    Semper Blogging!
    Gunny G
    aka: Dick G

  5. Pingback: theCL Report: Too Crazy To Believe

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