Is the taxation of private property consistent with America’s identity?
Taxation has been described by many as a necessary evil, a system any society requires in order to fund the various duties of its government. While I can honestly understand this thought process, what I cannot understand or empathize with is the viewpoint that I’ve come across when I’ve talked about taxation with many young people; the view that taxation isn’t inherently a bad thing.
The number of people I’ve come across, many of whom were college-aged young adults, who don’t view taxation as something that is unethical on its very face is incredibly baffling and disheartening.
Let’s be clear about what taxation is: taxation is coercion. The very act of taxation implies government force. Taxation is when the government takes a portion of your money under the threat of fines or jail time.
The whole reason we pay taxes is because they come with the threat of government force. The whole reason the vast majority of people even follow the majority of government’s laws, especially laws regarding nonviolent crimes such as traffic and drug laws, is because the government has a monopoly on force.
The United States government is the only entity in the United States that can use force against other people, even potentially deadly force, and it’s seen as legitimate.
Let’s be clear about what taxation is: taxation is coercion. The very act of taxation implies government force.
Despite this obvious truth about the nature of taxation, many people still support many of the taxes currently on the book in the name of funding our schools, roads, law enforcement, etc.
While I can at least understand why people think that we need things like sales tax or excise taxes to fund some parts of our government, the one tax I can never defend in good faith is property tax.
The very idea of a property tax, to me, seems like a practice antithetical to one of the founding principles of our country and culture. The right to property is something I believe we all have by virtue of being human. Life, liberty, and property were the three key principles Locke outlined in his work Two Treatises of Government, rights we all had no matter our class, race, religion or creed. To me, this philosophy is beautiful and unique seeing as how the notion of private property is not something that’s been practiced for most of human history.
The belief that we as independent beings should have control of our possessions and not secede control to whichever lord or governor holds power is something that has been carved into the very bedrock of the American spirit.
The taxation of property flies in direct contradiction with the notion of private property. If you really think about it, property tax is nothing more than rent you have to pay in order to keep your property. Unlike normal rent, however, you don’t get to decide whether or not to opt into the contract that is property tax.
At least when you rent out an apartment you voluntarily decide to sign a lease. With property tax, you have to pay the tax man whether you like it or not. If you decide not to pay your property tax, the government can actually foreclose your home and even auction it off.
Does this sound like private property to you? You buy the land via a voluntary exchange, you own the deed to the land which reads that you are its owner. Despite the fact that you own this land, you have to pay a portion of your money to the government periodically, or else they’ll seize your money and property.
In some countries and states, you even have to get permission from the government to build or destroy things on your own land.
Why the hell should anyone have to pay the government money just to have the luxury of owning the land they legally bought? How can it even be considered “your” property if you’re forced to pay someone else a certain sum of money or else the property will be taken from you?
Seems to me that the property tax is nothing more than rent all homeowners are forced to pay despite the fact that they own the land they’re paying rent on.