The Immorality of Taxes

Sally Kohn is a very liberal woman who gets paid to talk about politics on TV. She also has a history of making ridiculously false statements. Most are not worth taking the time to refute, but she recently wrote something that includes so much ignorance it is actually a useful demonstration in what not to do.

After Trump released an outline of his tax reform goals, Sally Kohn, thinking she was being clever, decided to “translate” the tax plan.

Take $ from the people. Give it to the super rich.

The number of inaccuracies and falsehoods in those 11 words is actually impressive in its own way, but I want to focus on just two of them.

First, cutting taxes does not take money away from anyone. “The people” do not lose anything of theirs because someone else received a tax cut. That would be like saying I lose money because Whole Foods has a sale. I don’t shop there, so I don’t receive a benefit, but nor do I pay for the discount. So what if some yuppies pay less for their kale? My money stays with me.

Second, cutting taxes is not giving money to anyone. The money is already theirs. Cutting taxes just means the government will forcefully seize less of it. Yes, this means some people will have more money in their bank accounts than they would have before tax cuts, but there is a world of difference between giving something and taking less of it. If I give a stranger $20 out of my pocket, I expect a thank you. But if I first take their wallet, give them $20 out of it and pocket the rest, I would understand if they were less than grateful.

These two issues point to the fundamental flaw in the thinking of Sally Kohn and many liberals: they believe tax dollars belong to them, not the people who earned it. Tax cuts can only be a giveaway to the rich and a cost to the government if the money belonged to the government in the first place. It does not.

The government does not work for it’s money, it siphons funds from those who do. The government does not grow the economy by creating goods and services that people need and want, it takes from those who do. The government does not create, it confiscates.

This is not a full-on libertarian “taxation is theft” rant. Some taxation and some government is necessary. But when considering how much taxation is necessary, we should remember that every dollar taxed was first earned by someone who worked hard for it or risked their savings to fund new business opportunities.  It is easy to find the feel-good morality in giving aid to the unfortunate. But before we go beyond the government services that are absolutely necessary, we should consider the morality of taking, against their will, the fruit of someone else’s labor.