If you’re friends with a libertarian, you’ve probably heard them say something like “taxation is theft”. I agree that there is a connection between taxation and theft, but not in the same way they do.
Taxation isn’t theft; tax cuts are theft. More specifically, tax cuts on corporations and the rich are theft.
Let’s start with corporations.
Corporations want educated employees. Every employee, assuming they were educated in Alberta, requires 13 years of public schooling. More if the employer requires a college diploma or certificate or a university degree. Those years of education cost money.
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Corporations want healthy employees. The hospitals, clinics, and healthcare professionals necessary to keep those employees healthy cost money.
Corporations want secure workplaces, protected from crime, fire, and other physical threats. Those protective services cost money.
Corporations want fresh, clean water coming into their workplace and dirty wastewater taken away from their workplace. That costs money.
Corporations want robust infrastructure for transporting materials to their workplace and finished products from their workplace. That infrastructure costs money.
And the list goes on.
That money comes from taxation. When corporations are taxed adequately, all the education, health, security, utility, and infrastructure services can be adequately provided.
When taxes are reduced, it hinders a government’s ability to provide adequate education, health, security, utility, and infrastructure services. And that means the general public has either limited access to those public services, or those public services are inadequate in quality. Reducing access to and quality of public services is theft from the public.
Now, about the rich.
The rich steal money from workers by not paying them what they’re worth, then they hoard that money (which they call profit), tying it up in stocks, real estate, and other investments, which keeps that money from circulating in the economy.
They also steal money from tenants by charging more for rent than it costs to own the house (such as financing, taxation, and maintenance costs) then hoarding that money. And because rich property owners charge more for rent than it costs to own a home, they drive up rental costs. And as they use their increasing rental profits to buy additional properties, they drive up housing costs and limit housing stock available for new homeowners. By increasing rental costs, home ownership costs, and the scarcity of available homes, the rich make housing unaffordable and inaccessible.
And regardless of how they steal their wealth (stealing worker wages or stealing tenant rent, or both for that matter), they accumulate so much wealth that they can’t spend it all, which encourages them to pass it onto children and other descendants as inherited wealth. This generational wealth allows the younger members of the rich family to get a head start on accumulating their own fortunes.
Increasing worker wages and reducing tenant housing costs increases class mobility, reduces poverty and homelessness, improves education, improves healthcare, reduces crime, and improves quality of life in general.
By keeping worker wages artificially low and rental costs artificially high, it robs the public of a better quality of life.
Tax cuts are theft.
We should be taxing corporations and the rich at much higher rates than we are.