Saturday, November 27, 2010

Libertarians and Taxes

So one of the problems with political parties is that they often take broad stances and try to attract many, many people who vaguely or generally agree with them.  I thought that this was the case mostly with the major parties, but it happens with third parties too.  I realized this when I was reading the campaign website of Art Lampit, the Libertarian candidate for Nevada Governor this last election.  In all honesty, I voted for him, because of who the other candidates were, but despite his affiliation with my own political party, I really did not agree with him on a lot of issues.

The big one is taxes.  The official Libertarian stance on taxes is that they are a government intrusion into our pockets and our lives and they should be lowered.

Now, where do selective, targeted tax cuts and tax breaks fit into that understanding?

I can see the argument that any tax break is good as it takes less of our money and gives it to the government.  Baby steps, right?

That to me is what a "practical" Libertarian might think.  You know, the "ends justifies the means" type.  With this philosophy, a tax credit for providing health insurance to employees, or for creating green jobs, or for being a small business, makes sense because it lowers the overall tax burden.

I, however, am what I would call more of a "philosophical" Libertarian.  Beyond taking our money, if we think about why high taxes are un-Libertarian, tax breaks seem like a very un-Libertarian idea as well.  To me, Libertarianism is largely about limiting government to its pre-defined (by the Constitution) and necessary role.  Our government was given the right to collect taxes as a way of raising revenue to perform certain tasks.  Not as a way to manipulate and control our behavior.  Taxes should be a necessarily evil way of raising revenue from ALL citizens and businesses, not a way for the government to encourage or proscribe certain behaviors.

Also, the tax code itself is too complicated, requiring massive Federal, State, and Local bureaucracies to interpret, collect, and enforce.  This in itself contributes to large government.  Adding more loopholes and tax "incentives" only contributes to large government, and increases government spending.

That's why to me, being a Libertarian means supporting a proposal like the Fair Tax or Flat Tax, which would eliminate the IRS tax code, even if it means that the actual amount of money paid to the government by me, or by anyone else, would go up for now.

Overall tax expenditure should be cut by reducing bureaucracy, waste, and intrusion by the government, not by giving tax breaks that reward positive behavior and punish negative behavior.

No comments:

Post a Comment