President Trump recently held a press conference where he said, “I promised we would pass a massive tax cut for the everyday, working American families who are the backbone and the heartbeat of our country.” Adding, “Congress has reached an agreement on tax legislation that will deliver more jobs, higher wages, and massive tax relief for American families and for American companies.
The typical family of four earning $75,000 will see an income tax cut of more than $2,000, slashing their tax bill in half. It’s going to be a lot of money. You’re going to have an extra $2,000.”
However, the American Enterprise Institute details the problem of income-based phaseouts that serve as a stealth rate hike, and in some extreme cases could lead to certain income being taxed at a rate above 100%. This hardly sounds like a tax cut, even if it is relegated to extreme cases.
Either way, the Washington Post reports, “Republicans are on the verge of passing a massive tax cut for businesses that is deeply unpopular with the American public. They are doing it with no Democratic votes.”
That such a bill is being passed along party-lines is not surprising, after all the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act passed with only a single Republican voting in favor. What is surprising, at least to libertarians like myself, is that the discussion about taxation and tax reform seems to be limited to “how much money does Uncle Sam get to steal?”; and the question: “is anyone entitled to a portion of my earnings?” is not even being discussed writ large.
To the latter question I say, “no”. Not because I’m a heartless individual looking out only for myself, rather I say this because I believe that all people have the same rights, and if it is immoral for me to take your stuff because I can “do more good” with it; it is equally immoral for anyone to do likewise, whether that be another person, a larger group, or even a bureaucrat acting under supposed authority of the majority.
Frederic Bastiat referred to taxation as “legal plunder,” and wrote in The Law, “This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it:
1. The few plunder the many.
2. Everybody plunders everybody.
3. Nobody plunders anybody.”
As a principled libertarian I seek a society without legal plunder, a society where nobody plunders anybody. How much plunder do you believe is acceptable?