No representation without taxation

  • #1
jaap de vries
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I will soon move to Boston after living in Florida and Texas, Respectively. I was a little perturbed that I will have to pay state taxes. This was, until I found out the public school system in MA was ranked #1 and Texas and Florida #33 and #39, respectively [1]. I seem to me that the money is well spent.

Question, to those small government low taxes folks out there. Under which circumstances would it be OK for you to pay taxes and for you to be at peace with it?

Source:
[1] http://www.afromerica.com/knowledge/education/public/schoolranks.php
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pengwuino
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You're making your conclusion based off a single "variable", taxation. If you immediately look at California's ranking (which I find hard to believe... sometimes), your conclusion doesn't make too much sense. Plus you're conclusion is off a single piece of anecdotal evidence.
 
  • #3
jaap de vries
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You're making your conclusion based off a single "variable", taxation. If you immediately look at California's ranking (which I find hard to believe... sometimes), your conclusion doesn't make too much sense. Plus you're conclusion is off a single piece of anecdotal evidence.


Although you could rightfully so accuse me of thinking, maybe, too linearly. I think there is a correlation between the quality of a school system in a state and the money that people are willing to pay for it.

So the original question remains
 
  • #4
Oscar Wilde
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I will soon move to Boston after living in Florida and Texas, Respectively. I was a little perturbed that I will have to pay state taxes. This was, until I found out the public school system in MA was ranked #1 and Texas and Florida #33 and #39, respectively [1]. I seem to me that the money is well spent.

Question, to those small government low taxes folks out there. Under which circumstances would it be OK for you to pay taxes and for you to be at peace with it?

Source:
[1] http://www.afromerica.com/knowledge/education/public/schoolranks.php

It seems as though your source was from 2004. As I am having trouble finding state/local tax burdens for the fiscal year of 2004, I have used the closest I could find (2005)--> http://money.cnn.com/pf/features/lists/taxesbystate2005/. Looking at these numbers, I find your premise to be erroneous for a few reasons. First, the simple existence of taxes does not ensure the quality of the public schooling. There are many other factors, though your conclusion may appear "reasonable" or logical.

Second, Massachuesetts is ranked #32 in state/local tax burdens among the other 49 states. It is clear that the quality of public schooling is not proportional to the tax rates of the state. Though Hawaii was ranked third among other states for state/local tax burden , the state is ranked #42 (according to your source) for quality of public schooling.

I am perfectly fine with paying taxes, so long as the dollars go towards a worthwhile cause. Every citizen has a limited duty. However, I have problems with an increased tax burden due to government taking on failed businesses and other similar reasons.
 
  • #5
Moridin
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From the perspective of an anarcho-capitalist, taxation is always immoral. You don't really "pay" taxes, money is simply stolen from you with the threat of violence. Any form of "taxation" that is voluntary, however, seems just fine from such a perspective.
 
  • #6
russ_watters
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I will soon move to Boston after living in Florida and Texas, Respectively. I was a little perturbed that I will have to pay state taxes. This was, until I found out the public school system in MA was ranked #1 and Texas and Florida #33 and #39, respectively [1]. I seem to me that the money is well spent.
When you say "state taxes", what taxes are you talking about? Income tax? Sales tax? Texas has a higher sales tax rate than MA. In either case, the largest fraction of school funding isn't state money, it's local property taxes.

http://www.investintexasschools.org/schoolfunding/current.php [Broken]

What's more, it stands to reason that education quailty depends on funding and since funding depends mostly on state and local taxes and state and local tax revenues depend on the wealth/prosperity of the residents, you have a self-perpetuating school quality problem in low-prosperity states. In other words, MA doesn't have better schools because it has higher taxes (the taxes are not much higher), it has better schools because it has richer people living there.
 
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  • #7
Jimmy Snyder
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You don't really "pay" taxes, money is simply stolen from you with the threat of violence.
Yeah, but unlike most thieves, this one runs a sewer line to my house. I'll take the good with the bad.
 
  • #8
jaap de vries
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What's more, it stands to reason that education quailty depends on funding and since funding depends mostly on state and local taxes and state and local tax revenues depend on the wealth/prosperity of the residents, you have a self-perpetuating school quality problem in low-prosperity states. In other words, MA doesn't have better schools because it has higher taxes (the taxes are not much higher), it has better schools because it has richer people living there.

Good point Russ. What in your opinion can we do to revere this trend?
 
  • #9
D H
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f you immediately look at California's ranking (which I find hard to believe... sometimes)
One factor is illegal immigration. The four states with the greatest proportion of illegal immigrants are California (6%), Arizona (4.4%), Texas (4.3%), and Nevada (3.9%). Those states rankings: 43, 48, 33, and 49, respectively.
 
  • #10
mheslep
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Yeah, but unlike most thieves, this one runs a sewer line to my house. I'll take the good with the bad.
True for the average snatch and grab punk, but organized crime has a long history of providing 'protection' in return for its arm breaking collections.
 
  • #11
mheslep
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...

What's more, it stands to reason that education quality depends on funding ...
Perhaps in very non-linear way. District of Columbia schools have one of the highest spending per student ratios in the country and some of the worst outcomes.
 
  • #12
russ_watters
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Perhaps in very non-linear way. District of Columbia schools have one of the highest spending per student ratios in the country and some of the worst outcomes.
Perhaps you have it backwards: there is a linear association with the occasional anomaly. DC is a highly unusual case.

Still, it is probably also true that the association is only partly about the money. The money derived from tax revenue also tells you about the quality of the parents.
 
  • #13
mheslep
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Perhaps you have it backwards: there is a linear association with the occasional anomaly. DC is a highly unusual case.

Still, it is probably also true that the association is only partly about the money. The money derived from tax revenue also tells you about the quality of the parents.
I dunno. DC may be an outlier in the US, but according to this
http://edpro.stanford.edu/hanushek/admin/pages/files/uploads/HESEDU2014-1.pdf [Broken], page 21, figure 3
we're the highest spender in the world per capita on education, and the US certainly is (EDIT!) NOT tops in outcome. I would hazard that outcome/spending is linear until some minimum figure, and then tails off.
 
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  • #14
Moridin
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Yeah, but unlike most thieves, this one runs a sewer line to my house. I'll take the good with the bad.

But what happens when the trillions of dollars that the government have stolen goes to fund horrendous wars in countries far away?
 
  • #15
TheStatutoryApe
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But what happens when the trillions of dollars that the government have stolen goes to fund horrendous wars in countries far away?

Then you know you ought to vote for someone else?
 
  • #16
BoomBoom
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True for the average snatch and grab punk, but organized crime has a long history of providing 'protection' in return for its arm breaking collections.

So maybe we should just do away with ALL taxation then and dismantle our military? :uhh:
 
  • #17
So maybe we should just do away with ALL taxation then and dismantle our military? :uhh:

What about universal healthcare? Maybe we can convince the medical field to go pro-bono?
 
  • #18
mheslep
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So maybe we should just do away with ALL taxation then and dismantle our military? :uhh:
Why would you want to do that?
 
  • #19
BoomBoom
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Why would you want to do that?

I don't...I have absolutely no issue with paying taxes.

That was in response to the comparison of taxes to stealing (which is absurd) and where you stated: "organized crime has a long history of providing 'protection' in return for its arm breaking collections".

It seemed as if you were making the comparison, so I rolled with it.
 
  • #20
mheslep
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I don't...I have absolutely no issue with paying taxes.
No issue? None? Surely you mean to qualify that, as you wouldn't want to pay, say, 100% taxes, or you might have an issue if the government decided to fund the mheslep program for $1 trillion or so?

That was in response to the comparison of taxes to stealing (which is absurd) and where you stated: "organized crime has a long history of providing 'protection' in return for its arm breaking collections".

It seemed as if you were making the comparison, so I rolled with it.
The point: if some group takes your money and along the way happens to do you some service (which you may/may not need) that may, or may not be a good thing. It may be benevolent and unavoidable, but it is almost certain to incur waste, mistakes, and unintended consequences. Thus a reasonable philosophy is reduce the process (government) to its absolute minimums.
 
  • #21
russ_watters
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No issue? None? Surely you mean to qualify that, as you wouldn't want to pay, say, 100% taxes, or you might have an issue if the government decided to fund the mheslep program for $1 trillion or so?
You might want to try to avoid reading past what was said. I also have no issue with paying taxes. The concept of paying taxes. Particular tax issues can be good or bad, but the claim previously made was that taxation, in general, is stealing. That's what is being countered with the quoted statement.
The point: if some group takes your money and along the way happens to do you some service (which you may/may not need) that may, or may not be a good thing. It may be benevolent and unavoidable, but it is almost certain to incur waste, mistakes, and unintended consequences. Thus a reasonable philosophy is reduce the process (government) to its absolute minimums.
Agreed. But that doesn't have anything to do with Moridin's post.
 
  • #22
BoomBoom
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No issue? None? Surely you mean to qualify that, as you wouldn't want to pay, say, 100% taxes, or you might have an issue if the government decided to fund the mheslep program for $1 trillion or so?

I didn't necessarily appreciate trillions of dollars spent on the Iraq war, but that is a different issue...that is how my tax dollars are spent, which is a separate issue from the concept of paying taxes. My tax dollars go towards the government to "manage" the needs of our society, for the benefit of all. IMO it is money well spent. For example, I know that most of my property taxes go towards funding public schools and I have no kids, but I still have no problem with it because it is for the greater good that the children are educated.

So I might be against funding your mheslep program, but then I would just try and vote the guy who funded it out of office...not claim the government was stealing my money to fund it. But who knows, I might actually be in favor of funding your program! :wink:


The point: if some group takes your money and along the way happens to do you some service (which you may/may not need) that may, or may not be a good thing. It may be benevolent and unavoidable, but it is almost certain to incur waste, mistakes, and unintended consequences. Thus a reasonable philosophy is reduce the process (government) to its absolute minimums.

Waste, mistakes, and unintended consequences are prevalent throughout society...it's not exclusive to government. We are only human, after all.
 
  • #23
mheslep
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You might want to try to avoid reading past what was said. I also have no issue with paying taxes. The concept of paying taxes. Particular tax issues can be good or bad, but the claim previously made was that taxation, in general, is stealing. That's what is being countered with the quoted statement. Agreed. But that doesn't have anything to do with Moridin's post.
There are a couple different shades of the OP idea in play in the thread. I noted Moridin's post but as it happens I replied to BoomBoom. BB's variant, or implication, was the 'if you object to taxes, you irresponsibly want no government, and are unaware of the what the government does for you' line. I wanted to draw that out a bit.
 
  • #24
mheslep
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I didn't necessarily appreciate trillions of dollars spent on the Iraq war, but that is a different issue...that is how my tax dollars are spent, which is a separate issue from the concept of paying taxes. My tax dollars go towards the government to "manage" the needs of our society, for the benefit of all. IMO it is money well spent. For example, I know that most of my property taxes go towards funding public schools and I have no kids, but I still have no problem with it because it is for the greater good that the children are educated.
In general, I believe the more local the tax the more effective it is in execution. Hence I am always more skeptical of federal taxes, and their use.

So I might be against funding your mheslep program, but then I would just try and vote the guy who funded it out of office...not claim the government was stealing my money to fund it. But who knows, I might actually be in favor of funding your program! :wink:

Waste, mistakes, and unintended consequences are prevalent throughout society...it's not exclusive to government. We are only human, after all.
Yes, certainly people in the private sector foul up too, but the era of the Soviet Union showed that centrally planned economies are absolute failures, they are woefully inefficient compared to free(r) societies. I don't say that's what we have now, or that taxes are necessarily stealing, or that we should have no government. I say we should have as little of _it_ as possible.
 
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  • #25
Moridin
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Then you know you ought to vote for someone else?

The problem of course is that your continual 'payment' of taxes during a war, for instance, implies that you directly supports it. Why accept taxation/theft, when you know that the money will go towards goals that you do not support? Trying to vote the leader out of office is not effective -- you have no individual power or freedom because you are one of hundreds of million of people.
 
  • #26
TheStatutoryApe
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The problem of course is that your continual 'payment' of taxes during a war, for instance, implies that you directly supports it. Why accept taxation/theft, when you know that the money will go towards goals that you do not support? Trying to vote the leader out of office is not effective -- you have no individual power or freedom because you are one of hundreds of million of people.

The money is going towards more than war. Quite a bit more generally. If you object to the direction the society you are taking part in is going you can either attempt to change it or leave.

Do you think that the average person is capable of funding all of the infrastructure which allows them to live the way they do? Water line, power line, telephone line, gas line, roads, ect ect? People of the larger community pool money together to make sure that they all can have these advantages. When a smaller community without much in the way of resources is unable to afford these advantages then the next larger community pools money for the purpose of assisting them. And on up the ladder. It is quite likely that at some point money will be spent on something that does not help certain people or which certain people do not agree with. That is just something that is going to happen in an organized community. Ceasing all payments to the community money pool does not fix this. It only shows that you do not appreciate what all that community does for you with that money. It takes money away not only from the people who are doing what you do not agree with but also from people who need food, heat, shelter, education, ect while you continue to enjoy those advantages now without paying for them.
 
  • #27
projektMayhem
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  • #28
chemisttree
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Good point Russ. What in your opinion can we do to revere(se) [sic] this trend?

Rename Texas, "Massachusetts" and Massachusetts, "Texas"?
 
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  • #29
WhoWee
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From the perspective of an anarcho-capitalist, taxation is always immoral. You don't really "pay" taxes, money is simply stolen from you with the threat of violence. Any form of "taxation" that is voluntary, however, seems just fine from such a perspective.

Obviously that won't work in the presence of a welfare/entitlement state...and WOTC.:rofl:

Has anyone looked at their cell phone, cable or utilities bills lately...or considered the amount of tax charged on gas, cigarettes, beer, etc.? It's appalling!

My community voted yesterday for a school levy to fund a new building that will require a future levy to operate the building.
 
  • #30
Oscar Wilde
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I'll be like Henry David Thoreau and just not pay taxes for awhile and live like a wild man
 
  • #31
Do you think that the average person is capable of funding all of the infrastructure which allows them to live the way they do? Water line, power line, telephone line, gas line, roads, ect ect?
It funny that none of those examples rely on income taxes, or any involuntary tax. Each of those examples, a service is provided (by either a private company or gov't) at a price, paid voluntarily.

I don't know anyone opposed to that.
 
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  • #32
Particular tax issues can be good or bad, but the claim previously made was that taxation, in general, is stealing.
I haven't heard that claim, especially in this thread.

It seems obvious, though, that taking money by force that is not owed is stealing. The simple fact that one person needs money and another can afford it is not a basis for claiming that money is owed. That would be absurd.
 
  • #33
mheslep
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Pursuing the issue of taxation to first causes, and others like it (mandatory military service, police power, etc, etc), I think we will always find ourselves back at Madison's 'great difficulty' in Federalist #51:
In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm
 
  • #34
In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.
That's a good point. The Federal Gov't is "obliged to control itself" by the Constitution for that very reason.

The fact that government does not honor the limits to its power in the constitution, despite the fact that the constitution is the sole source of its legitimate power, simply means that some in government are corrupt and treasonous. We need a legal federal government, not an outlaw government.
 
  • #35
mheslep
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I'd drop treasonous from this line, it does a disservice to the argument, and I doubt that is what you really mean. Perhaps: self-interested, ignorant of history, even tyrannical. Treason is a wholly different thing and the constitution took care to define it:
A3:S3 said:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
Further noting that there have only been a handful of treason convictions in the entire history of the US.
 

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