Economics/Class Relations

Eliminate Taxes for the Poor

Wow. Gillis said something reasonable. Broken clock, twice a day.

By William Gillis, Center for a Stateless Society

If the problem with taxation is the coercion, then surely the priority of any coherent and consistent libertarian reformism on taxes should be to minimize the number of people who are robbed at all. Of course this would mean entirely abolishing taxes on the poorest.

By the non-aggression principle, a mugger drawing a gun on you to take your wallet is a crime, regardless of how much you subjectively value your wallet’s contents. Thus the government’s armed thug taking $20 from a poor person is in a certain sense categorically the same crime as said armed thug taking $2,000,000 from a rich person. The biggest problem by far, the NAP says, is the stickup, the aggression, the threat of bodily injury, less so the particular thing obtained by it.

Abolishing taxes entirely on say the bottom 50% would not only be the most consistently libertarian incremental tax reform — in that it would stop the largest number of violent robberies for the lowest cost — it would also have the benefit of forcing the statist left to defend their paternalist claims to know better than the poor how their money should be spent. Think of how simple such reform efforts would be: libertarian representatives could just introduce a bill to increase the un-taxable portion of income/payroll by a few thousand dollars. It would be akin to letting millions of people out of prison, out of being taxed entirely. Meanwhile the net impact on the national budget would be minimal, less than many other tax cuts. Leftists and liberals instinctively opposed to all tax cuts would be incapable of wailing about a “tax cut for the rich” and would have to directly tell poor people “we know better than you.”


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