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December 07, 2009

Unclear on the Concept

It's never a good sign when your considered opinion reads like an Onion skit:

... we could raise more than enough to balance government budgets by replacing our existing tax system with one that taxes activities that cause harm to others.

Why, oh why, do I expect "harm" to be very much a function of political philosophy? But wait! There's more!

Anti-tax zealots denounce all taxation as theft, as depriving citizens of their right to spend their hard-earned incomes as they see fit. Yet nowhere does the Constitution grant us the right not to be taxed. Nor does it grant us the right to harm others with impunity. No one is permitted to steal our cars or vandalize our homes. Why should opponents of taxation be allowed to harm us in less direct ways?

Someone needs to pull out their copy of the Constitution. When simply using public roadways paid for with your tax dollars is arbitrarily redefined as "harming others" (you know, like stealing a car or vandalizing someone's home), it's a fair bet things have jumped the shark.

The Constitution creates and spells out the structure of the federal government and grants it limited and (for the most part) enumerated powers. Limiting the power of the federal government was intended to protect citizens (and our state and local governments) from the federal government, not from each other.

The prospect of invoking the Constitution to prevent American citizens from indirectly harming each other ought to raise the hackles of liberals and conservatives alike - it's the legal equivalent of swatting at gnats with a sledgehammer. On the other hand since taxation is entirely voluntary, maybe there's nothing to worry about.


Perhaps it's time to revise that old Ronald Reagan quote: The new scariest words in the English language are: "We're the government and we're here to protect you."

Posted by Cassandra at December 7, 2009 08:23 AM

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Well, since the EPA has, or is about to, say that CO2 is bad for us, I guess we will all get taxed for breathing.

I know, I shouldn't give them ideas . . .

Posted by: LittleRed1 at December 7, 2009 12:53 PM

Yet nowhere does the Constitution grant us the right not to be taxed.

Nowhere does the Constitution grant us the right not to be forced to eat only tofu either. Perhaps we should start with Mr. Frank.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at December 7, 2009 03:28 PM

No thanks. If you are what you eat, well . . .

Posted by: LittleRed1 at December 7, 2009 05:17 PM

The constitution does specifically and clearly state that citizens of the United States will not ever suffer an income tax.

You can see that it was amended just before WWI, the war to end all wars.

Posted by: Curtis at December 8, 2009 02:38 AM