There is a tax which most of us pay that isn’t morally objectionable. Probably because it’s not really a tax.
It is the tax on motor fuels.
Yes, it’s proportionately high – currently, about 25 percent of the price of every gallon is actually the tax.
And yes, it can be argued that it’s “regressive” – a word used often by leftists to describe a tax that imposes more of a burden on people with less ability to pay (leftists prefer to impose their harms on people more able to “take it,” in the manner of beating up a healthy young man rather than a frail old lady – the assumption being that it’s not the beating that’s morally objectionable).
But it’s not really a tax – because you don’t have to pay it.
And if you don’t pay it, armed government workers won’t come Hut! Hut! Hutting! to your home, to drag you away in chains.
It is a legally and practically avoidable tax – and therefore, not a tax at all.
Unlike, say, sales and income taxes – which you are required by law to pay and which you cannot realistically avoid paying, because everything you buy (including food and shelter) is taxed and most people cannot go without food or shelter, both of which require income – which will be taxed as earned and also when used to buy anything.
The only way to avoid such taxes as those is to live in the woods like Sasquatch – and even then, you will stay pay tax on your food unless you survive on wild-growing plants and game you bring down with a bow and arrow you obtained via barter.
But there is no law requiring one to drive – much less own a car – and many people manage to live quite successfully – in homes with electricity and plenty of food in the ‘fridge – without driving at all and so avoid the motor fuels tax altogether – without any worry about Hut! Hut! Hutting! armed government workers (AGWs) descending.
You can also lower the tax you pay, by driving less – or by driving a car that uses less gas to travel a given distance. Or a motorcycle. Or a Scooter – which uses almost no gas at all and so virtually no taxes are paid.
Or a bicycle, for that matter – which uses no gas and so no tax is paid.
Or at least, what it was and ought still to be.
Motor fuels taxes – as originally conceived – were to be used to pay for the building and maintenance of the roads and there’s nothing objectionable – from the Libertarian standpoint, certainly – about expecting people to pay for the products and services they use.
The roads are thus – ironically – one of the most Libertarian of government projects in that they are to a large extent voluntarily (as well as anonymously) funded. They are a lot like theme parks or restaurants or any other like thing which people aren’t forced to pay for but can pay for if they deem it worth the money they are asked to pay.
The Libertarian objection is to forcing people to pay for products services, especially those which they do not want and don’t use. For example, the subsidization of electric cars they prefer not to drive – but which they are forced to “help” others drive.
In principle, the tax – the user fee – added onto the price of motor fuels is as Libertarian a thing as can be imagined. It is non-coercive, it is anonymous (unlike income and property taxes) and it is something one can avoid paying without resorting to the Sasquatch Lifestyle in the woods.
It also makes practical large-scale projects such as roads – the very thing which anti-Libertarians invariably claim could never exist in a Libertarian society.
The right-of-way for a road could be acquired without violence (i.e., eminent domain) and its construction and maintenance costs could be covered entirely by the user fees paid by those who freely choose to drive on the road.
The problem we’ve got is that the taxes (user fees) we pay for the roads are being diverted to things besides the roads – such as saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety checkpoints, “public service” announcements (i.e., government propaganda) and “environmental” programs and other such things which are exceptionally un-Libertarian because many if not most of the people paying for these things would probably choose not to pay for them, if they had the option.
But they are – effectively – forced to pay for them, if they want to be able to make use of the thing they do want to pay for (i.e., the road).
Those other things are the reason why the taxes (road user fees) are disproportionately high as well as “regressive.” And also why the roads are in such a state of disrepair. If the monies diverted to things besides the roads were sluiced back to the roads, there’d be more and better roads and (probably) lower user fees, too.
And if the other taxes – the real ones, the unavoidable ones we’re forced to pay in order to live and which we’re subject to Hut! Hut! Hutting! if we don’t pay – were to go away, we’d all of a sudden have a lot more money to pay user fees for things we actually use and want to use.
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