There's a lot of different thoughts on taxes, even among Libertarians. There are few, if any, that believe our current tax rates are appropriate. There are those that are nearly anarchists and think taxes in general are a bad thing. There are those of every level in between.
That's where I find myself. While I don't necessarily believe that an income tax is the best way to tax our citizens (I'm a fan of a spending tax, but that's a talk for another day), I don't think near-zero is exactly called for either.
I'm also not one of those Libertarians that pitches a fit every time tax season rolls around. I'm happy to pay my taxes...I just don't think that I should be paying so much of them.
So how should we be taxed and what should our taxes be used for? The scope of government is far too grand, even in a reduced tax and reduced spending environment, to cover that topic in detail within the boundaries of this blog. So I'll hit a few highlights.
I don't believe that our tax money should be funding undeclared wars. We've been at war pretty much nonstop for longer than any of us have been alive. Since World War II, not a single one of those wars has been properly declared by Congress as the Constitution mandates. That's a problem that has cost us Trillions of dollars.
And presidential candidates like Ron Paul are getting chastised for being “isolationist” when he says he wants to correct this problem. He's not saying that he doesn't want to get involved...he's just saying that if it's necessary for us to go to war then we need to get a Congressional Declaration of War. It's not isolationist, it's mandated. We just forgot.
Some Libertarians think that tax money shouldn't even be used for things like roads. That's an extreme I don't buy into. I think that there are certain pieces of infrastructure that Government should be involved in. That includes roads. That does not include the internet.
I don't think our Federal tax dollars should be going toward education. Not that I don't believe that education is important. I think that by the time your tax dollars get filtered through the bureaucratic red tape at the Federal level, then your tax dollars would be better served by being collected by the State. Not to mention that the Department of Education doesn't exactly have a track record of accomplishing, well, anything.
On the other hand, I don't really have a problem with State tax dollars being collected for education. Education succeeds better when handled locally. At the State level, though, I believe it is important for schools to have to meet the demand to improve that is created by competition. For the reason, I am a big fan of voucher programs.
Mostly, though, when it comes to to taxes I think that the discussion needs to be focused on spending. And sacrifice. The fact that we're fighting over who gets taxed and in what amounts is only successful in doing one thing: turning us against each other. For Big Government, that's good news because it means we're not turning our attention towards the other details that add up to so much of what our government does and spends.
The truth is that, no matter how much we tax, we can't overcome our deficit woes with our current spending levels. The only way we can ever begin to ease the pain of our deficits is by dramatically reducing our spending. We all need to agree to sacrifice to accomplish this. Not just the rich. Not just the poor. Not just the middle class. If eveyone is not on board, then we are doomed to fail.
So on this tax day, I ask you to not just look at the amount of the refund you may be getting. Don't just look at the amount of money you had to fork over. Also look at your legislators. Reach out to them and let them know that you've had enough. Demand spending cuts from them, and let them know that you're willing to sacrifice a little to help us all out in the future.