Rand Paul stirred up some controversy with his comments on taxation recently. Earlier this year the libertarian conservative had proposed a single flat tax of 14.5% for individuals and businesses. That tax plan would get rid of the current tax code and all of the special interest loopholes that plague it. It’s the largest tax cut in American history, and the accompanying spending cuts are also tremendous. It’s any small government enthusiast’s dream come true, and the boldest tax plan of any Presidential candidate.
Recently, when speaking about his tax plan, Rand Paul wandered into dangerous territory and made the philosophical argument that taxation is slavery. He made the abstract suggestion that if we’re taxed at 50% then we’re half slave, and half free. Naturally, liberals instantaneously declared Rand Paul guilty of thought-crime.
Of course, Rand Paul does not literally believe that taxation is slavery. This is a metaphysical argument that’s merely made to criticize excessive taxation. If Rand Paul did believe that taxation was slavery, why would he be proposing a 14.5% tax rate instead of a 0% tax rate? It’s easy to dismiss the left’s simple-minded attacks based on that fact alone.
It’s obvious that Rand Paul was simply contemplating an idea, and not speaking in literal terms. Rand Paul was not equating our current situation to slavery. We are not slaves, and there is no literal comparison to be made to the indescribable injustice of human bondage.
What Rand Paul was talking about is the the tyranny of a government that confiscates half of an individual’s income to placate government largess. He was talking about the fact that the average American has to work until April 24th just in order to pay their taxes. Americans work nearly a third of the year to pay over $3 trillion in taxes, but the government still manages to spend $3.8 trillion. That’s the real issue at hand, and that is what needs to be addressed.
Unfortunately, both liberals and big government conservatives were quick to overlook the real issue and attacked Rand Paul for daring to talk about ideas. Philosophizing is thought-crime in Washington D.C. They don’t want the people to think about big ideas or educate themselves. Politicians want to use the people’s basest fears against them to gain power. For if people remembered Ben Franklin’s quote “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety” they would not believe the government’s war on terror propaganda.
The same goes for the philosophical argument that taxation is slavery. If people considered taxation to be slavery they would be much less willing to give such a large share of their income to the government. That’s a dangerous idea that the government does not want to become popular, and why Rand Paul saw such vitriolic attacks.
It’s sad that it had to happen this way. Rand Paul was only trying to make the point that taxation makes us less free, and more subservient to an ever more powerful government. Therefore, we should have the minimum amount of taxation necessary in order to pay for government outlined in the Constitution, and nothing more. Libertarians believe in maximizing individual freedom and minimizing government power is the only way to accomplish that. That starts with scrapping the tax code as Rand Paul has proposed.