During the first Presidential debate at Hofstra University on September 26, Donald Trump uttered one simple sentence that has caused a lot of headlines ever since. The sentence “That makes me smart.” was in response to Hillary Clinton’s statement “maybe he doesn’t want the American people… to know that he’s paid nothing in federal taxes, because the only years that anybody’s ever seen were a couple of years when he had to turn them over to state authorities when he was trying to get a casino license, and they showed he didn’t pay any federal income tax.”
Hillary later said, “it is probably true he hasn’t paid a penny in federal taxes to actually support our military, or our vets, or our schools, or our roads, or our education system.” Hillary Clinton is hinting that without federal income taxes that schools and roads would cease to exist, and that no one would get an education. In actuality, only about 12% of funding for elementary and secondary education comes from the federal government, and road funding comes primarily from fuel taxes. The only thing Hillary is really upset about The Donald not funding are her precious wars. But I digress.
The real story here is not Hillary’s response to Trump’s proclamation of intelligence for not paying taxes, it’s the 180 pulled by The Donald on not paying taxes. In 2011 Trump told Fox News, “Well, I don’t mind sacrificing for the country to be honest with you. But you know, you do have a problem because half of the people don’t pay any tax. [People] that are not contributing to this society. And it’s a problem. But we have 50 percent. It just hit the 50 percent mark. Fifty percent of the people are paying no tax.”
In 2012, he made similar remarks and as recently as June 2015, again, told Fox News, “The problem we have right now—we have a society that sits back and says we don’t have to do anything. Eventually, the 50 percent… and it’s unfair to them… cannot carry the other 50 percent.”
I applaud anyone who finds a way to avoid having money stolen, even if that person is Donald Trump. However, in the case of Donald Trump, it is a bit hypocritical to claim it’s smart to avoid federal income taxes while deriding other for not paying federal income taxes, and also profiting from other forms of theft, specifically eminent domain.
As a principled libertarian I seek a society without what Frederic Bastiat referred to as legal plunder; a society where nobody plunders anybody, because no one other than you has a legitimate claim to the fruits of your labor, and no one other than myself has a legitimate claim to the fruits of my labor.