Trotter writes that the money you earn is not yours.
To concede that everything the citizenry receives by way of wages, revenues, interest, rents and dividends belongs to them and to them alone is to accept the Right's assertion that "all taxation is theft".
According to this argument, people only put up with paying tax because, by allowing the state to transform their hard-earned cash into publicly-provided health care, education and other essential services, their individual interests are better served than if they attempted to acquire all these things out of their own pockets.
But, even this refinement of the "taxation is theft" argument leaves the sovereign individual at the centre of the fiscal equation. The money taken in tax is still his money.
But is it his money?
The social-democrat would say "no, it isn't".
Money is simply the mechanism advanced societies have developed to enable their citizens to enjoy a more varied and expansive life. In this respect, money is no more individual property than the language we use to communicate with our neighbours. It is a crucial adjunct to our social existence, whose value just like language manifests itself in the processes of exchange.
While they remain unspent, the notes we carry in our wallets are no more than pieces of paper. We can't eat them.
If you doubt the truth of this argument, then I'd invite you read up on the history of the Weimar Republic. There you will discover what happens to people when the state pretends that money can be separated from its social function.
You will also understand exactly what the US Supreme Court Judge, Oliver Wendell Holmes, meant when he said: "Taxes are the price we pay for civilisation."
So as taxation has risen, we have become more civilised. What bull.
'Civil society' (a nebulous term I loathe) is the sum of individual VOLUNTARY effort and exchange. When compassion becomes something that government forces out of us through taxation it is no longer a virtue (thank you Michael Tanner). Civil society turns on virtues and constructive values. People act through mutual self-interest. People treat each other the way they want to be treated.
Does that sound like present day New Zealand?
People like Trotter have a very dark view of the world. They think so little of their fellow citizens that they cannot believe anything charitable or philanthropic will emanate from them by choice, so government must extract it through compulsion. And why do they think that way? It must be because they judge others by their own standards and impulses.
OK. The money the government takes off me is effectively not my own because to withhold it would be to break the law. But the social democrat is saying more than this. He is saying it belongs to the public as of right. The state can nationalise third of my effort and transfer it to someone making no effort. That is what it does. Is either party incentivised by the transaction? No.
Not only does Trotter ignore the damaging effects of redistributing effort, he would like to step up the pace. If taxation is the price we pay for civilisation, why not take two thirds of the fruits of people's effort? We could be even more socially advanced.
No wonder people are leaving in their droves.
Russel Norman Redux – “Give back my flag”
3 minutes ago