Kumozarusan's Playlist

Friday, February 18, 2011

Legalized Monetary Discrimination: America's Inverse Aristocracy



I wish to discuss an embarrassing contradiction between America’s principles and it’s current legalities. I speak of legalized discrimination and its resulting infection of inequality before the law.  This discrepancy is currently permitted in the form of unequal and selective taxation.  Legalized discrimination has, unfortunately plagued this continent of desired freedom and equality throughout our past in the form of lawful racial, religious, gender, and handicap discrimination.  However, America has thankfully eradicated most of these, which thrust portions of society into an inferior status, binding them with certain laws not applied to the rest of the population, and denying them their rights.  This was done solely by the will of a tyrannical majority, based on qualities that don’t truly represent a person’s worth and humanity.  However, discrimination based on an individual’s wealth and possessions is, sadly, still upheld, poisoning the minds and hearts of the American people, turning them against each other, dividing them.  This monetary discrimination has led to inequality before the law in the form of a progressive income tax, which applies different tax rates to different income level earners, and the selective estate tax, currently levied only on individuals with an estate worth over a certain monetary value.


This legalized monetary or economic discrimination has introduced, once again, a legalized aristocracy into America, something which our forefathers and founders fought to rid America of.  However, this isn't any normal type of aristocracy.  It resembles more the unrestrained democracy seen in 1770's and 1780's America, at which the minority was ruled over and at the mercy of the majority.  I call this type of aristocracy and inverse aristocracy, inverse in that instead of the few superior types ruling over and living off the property and rights of the inferior lower, poorer portions of society, or, the masses and commoners, we now see the superior poorer portions of society, the masses and the commoners, living off the property and rights of the inferior rich and upper income level earners.  In a traditional legalized aristocracy, it was the rich estate owners who had inheritable royal and noble titles who were exempt from having to pay certain types of taxes, due to their wealth and property, while the masses and poor had to pay said taxes on consumption of commodities, as outlined in Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man," vol. 2.  Paine writes, concerning the landed interest of the aristocracy that is the House of Peers, which Edmund Burke called the pillar of security for the landed interest:


"What pillar of security does the landed interest require more than any other interest in the state, or what right has it to a distinct and separate representation from the general interest of a nation? The only use to be made of this power (and which it always has made), is to ward off taxes from itself, and throw the burthen upon those articles of consumption by which itself would be least affected.


Notwithstanding taxes have increased and multiplied upon every article of common consumption, the land-tax, which more particularly affects this "pillar," has diminished.




Before the coming of the Hanoverians, the taxes were divided in nearly equal proportions between the land and articles of consumption, the land bearing rather the largest share: but since that era nearly thirteen millions annually of new taxes have been thrown upon consumption. The consequence of which has been a constant increase in the number and wretchedness of the poor, and in the amount of the poor-rates. Yet here again the burthen does not fall in equal proportions on the aristocracy with the rest of the community. Their residences, whether in town or country, are not mixed with the habitations of the poor. They live apart from distress, and the expense of relieving it. It is in manufacturing towns and labouring villages that those burthens press the heaviest; in many of which it is one class of poor supporting another.


Several of the most heavy and productive taxes are so contrived, as to give an exemption to this pillar, thus standing in its own defence. The tax upon beer brewed for sale does not affect the aristocracy, who brew their own beer free from this duty. It falls only on those who have not conveniency or ability to brew, and who must purchase it in small quantities. But what will mankind think of the justice of taxation, when they know that this tax alone, from which the aristocracy are from circumstances exempt, is nearly equal to the whole of the land-tax, being in the year 1788, and it is not less now, £1,666,152, and with its proportion of the taxes on malt and hops, it exceeds it. — That a single article, thus partially consumed, and that chiefly by the working part, should be subject to a tax, equal to that on the whole rental of a nation, is, perhaps, a fact not to be paralleled in the histories of revenues.


This is one of the circumstances resulting from a house of legislation, composed on the ground of a combination of common interest; for whatever their separate politics as to parties may be, in this they are united. Whether a combination acts to raise the price of any article for sale, or rate of wages; or whether it acts to throw taxes from itself upon another class of the community, the principle and the effect are the same; and if the one be illegal, it will be difficult to show that the other ought to exist.


If a house of legislation is to be composed of men of one class, for the purpose of protecting a distinct interest, all the other interests should have the same. The inequality, as well as the burthen of taxation, arises from admitting it in one case, and not in all. Had there been a house of farmers, there had been no game laws; or a house of merchants and manufacturers, the taxes had neither been so unequal nor so excessive. It is from the power of taxation being in the hands of those who can throw so great a part of it from their own shoulders, that it has raged without a check."


Granted, Congress has no house composed of only men of one class, and is composed of men and women of many different economic and professional situations.  But, the moral remains the same, that tax burdens falling on one portion of society while the rest are exempt from such burdens or have the load lightened significantly on their part while the load is shifted to the other group, be they rich, poor, or middling, is unequal and unjust, and should not be happening in a nation that boasts of it's liberty, equality and fairness, and its equal rights and equality before the law.


In England, under such a aristocratic system, it was the poorer portions of society, the commoners, laborers, and mechanics who had to bear the brunt of taxation while the nobility lived off of the rents of the commoner and farming tenants, and due to their vast wealth and vast landed estates, as well as their inheritable ranks as aristocrats were able to exempt themselves from having to pay equal rates in taxation as the poor who had none of their wealth and privilege.  The aristocracy was also able to exempt itself from certain consumption taxes due to their united and sole representation in the House of Peers and due to their situations.  The nobility survived off of the rights and property of the poor.  If it is deemed as unfair and unjust when the rich exempts itself from paying taxes yet requires the poor to bare the burden of paying those taxes, or when they require the poor to pay higher tax rates than themselves, why would it be just and equal to have the reverse situation, in which the poor and middling peoples are exempt from paying certain taxes and have lower tax rates than the rich?  Such a reverse system is merely a shift of the burden of the baring of the weight of national revenue from one portion of society to the other, not equality and justice!  It is still inequality, except it has been switched to someone else, who have just as equal rights as the portion of society this inequality was switched from.  Why would we continually shift this inequality from one portion of society to the next by making one portion of society pay taxes or have higher rates when we could make things equal and just by having everyone bare the burden of taxation by being subject to all taxes levied by Congress and having to pay the same tax rates on their income?


In America today, under the progressive income tax and selective estate tax system, this traditional aristocracy presented by Paine has been turned upside down, or inverted, creating a democratic aristocracy, in which it is the rich, who are once again the minority, supplying the blood and feed for the ever hungry and historically oppressed middling and poorer portions of society, the majority.  The majority now live off the property and rights of the minority under this inverse aristocracy, or as I will also call it, a democratic aristocracy/majoritarian aristocracy, while a traditional aristocracy I will label a minoritarian aristocracy because it is the wealthy minority living and feeding off of the poorer portions of society.  Either way, no matter which of these two types of aristocracies one employs into a government and society, there is still a legalized aristocracy in which one portion of society, with government sanction and often encouragement, lives off the other portion of society, at the expense of the rights and property of the host in order to feed the parasite.  And this creates an inequality before the law, making one portion of society legally superior and the other legally inferior, destroying rights long the way and ever dividing society and turning the portions of it against each other.


True egalitarianism can only come in legal or political egalitarianism, where the rights of ALL mankind are protected and held sacred by government and society alike, not just one portion of society at the expense of the rights of the other portion.  There can never be egalitarianism or pure and true equality in material wealth and possessions, or, rather, property, especially in a nation where the rights of property are protected by government and society alike.  True equality can come only in the form of legal equality or equality before the law.  Where a government seeks to create equality in property and material possessions among a society, by legislatively forcing one group to pay more in taxes than another group of society, or by taxing only that one group of society and not the rest of society, they seek to do so by unequal means.  Inequality can never create equality, for it will always remain equal on one side and unequal on the other.  The only true equality comes in equality before the law, specifically in the protection of property and the rights to property by those laws.  When this happens, the property of every man/woman is protected by law, both rich and poor, as well as middling, and each has his/her right to enjoy his/her property protected by law as well, protected from arbitrary or and unequal seizure by government or citizens/resident alike.  In this kind of equality, A cannot take property from B, nor B from A; and C cannot take from A to give to B, nor B to A, and C cannot take more from A to give to B, nor B to A.  C can only legislatively take equally (e.g. at the same rate or %) from both A and B, and give to both A and B according to their needs.


Indeed, in the constitutional societies of 1790's England, inspired much by Thomas Paine and his Rights of Man, had the following to say concerning what was then referred to as "social equality," which could be related to the legal or political equality specified in the above paragraph:




LCS (London Constitutional Society), 1795:

"Social Equality...appears to consist in the following things:

1.) The Acknowledgment of equal rights.
2.) The existence of equal laws for the security of those rights.
3.) Equal and actual representation, by which, and which alone, the invasion of those laws can be prevented...In their ideas of equality, they have never included (nor, till the associations of alarmists broached the frantic notion, could they ever have conceived  that so wild and detestable a sentiment could have entered the brain of man) as the equalization of property, or the invasion of personal rights of possession."

MCS (Manchester Constitutional Society), 1792:

"An Explanation of the Word Equality:"

"The perverse sense imposed on the word EQUALITY, by the folly or the fears of some of our countrymen, is as dangerous as it is absurd, and they may probably see the day, when they may repent of having infused into the minds of the people, a notion that the EQUALITY to be contended for, is an equality of wealth and possessions.  If, by continually repeating this idea, the uniformed, or, (as they are arrogantly  styled by the pensioned Mr. B**** [Burke]) the "SWINISH MULTITUDE," should take it into their heads, that they are justified in inforcing such a system, the consequences will rest upon those, who, by a perversion of terms, have wickedly or foolishly propagated so dangerous a doctrine.

The Equality insisted on by the Friends of Reform, is an EQUALITY OF RIGHTS; or, in other words that every person may be equally entitled to the protection and benefits of society: may equally have a voice in the election of those who make the laws, by which he is affected in his liberty, his life, or his property; and may have a fair opportunity of exerting to advantage any talents he may possess.  The rule is not "Let all mankind be perpetually equal;"  God and Nature have forbidden it-but "Let all mankind start fair in the race of life."  The inequality derived from labor and successful enterprize, the result of superior industry and good fortune, is and equality essential to the very existence of society: and it naturally follows, that the property so acquired should pass from a father to his children.  To render property insecure would destroy all motives to exertion, and tear up public happiness by the roots."

(This information was taken from "Eric Foner's "Tom Paine and Revolutionary America," NY, Oxford Unisverity Press, 1976, pg. 226-227.)




Indeed, what Congress has done, by instituting a progressive income tax system and a selective estate tax system has by default issued a "charter" of sorts to those whom the selective estate tax does not apply, and to whom those the progressive income tax does not apply as well as those who have lower tax rates due to their annual income.  This "charter" has "made a difference in favour" of those with lower tax rates or no tax rates at all, at the expense of those who are bound to pay the tax and those with a higher income tax rate, taking the the right to be secure and enjoy one's legally acquired property away from those individuals.  Thomas Paine, in his 2nd volume of "Rights of Man" had some condemning words for legislative charters.  Granted, he was speaking more in terms of legal charters for corporations and businesses, but the same principle can equally be applied to unequal tax legislation.  He wrote, "If charters were constructed so as to express in direct terms, "that every inhabitant, who is not a member of a corporation, shall not exercise the right of voting," such charters would, in the face, be charters not of rights, but of exclusion.  The effect is the same under the form they now stand; and the only persons on whom they operate are the persons whom they exclude. Those whose rights are guaranteed, by not being taken away, exercise no other rights than as members of the community they are entitled to without a charter; and, therefore, all charters have no other than an indirect negative operation. They do not give rights to A, but they make a difference in favour of A by taking away the right of B, and consequently are instruments of injustice."  Is this not exactly what a progressive income tax system and a selective estate tax system represent, making a legislative difference in favor of portion A of society, the poor and middling people, by taking away or weakening the right of portion B of society, the wealthy and affluent to be secure in the possession and enjoyment of legally acquired property by legally requiring them to give up more of their property to taxation than other portions of society; and is thus an instrument of injustice?  I think logic and reason speak plainly enough in answering this question, and thus the answer will be undoubtedly YES!  For if this type of system in which the rich and affluent are exploited for the benefit and favor of the poor and middling portions of society is allowed to continue, when will it be determined that the rich are paying enough, or are paying their "fair share?"  Could they ever pay enough of their "fair share" when Congress con continually raise their tax rates and levy taxes solely on them while leaving the poor and middling peoples tax rates alone or even decreasing them?  If such were allowed to continue, would the rich and wealthy even have a right to their property, or even have property at all?  Only an equal and just tax system in which all pay taxes levied by Congress and at the same rates can truly and equally secure the rights of property for everyone.


It is true that under such a system of legal equality, where the property and rights to property of everyone, poor, middling and rich are protected by law, and where all members of society and entirely equal before the law, there will still be natural distinctions, given the nature in the difference between the wants, desires, needs, talents, faculties, and the general drive of people to work hard in order to obtain more by one's own merit or be content with what one already has.  It is this general drive of the individual, or lack thereof, that truly sets of the most visible of these natural distinctions.  But what one does acquire due to one's own merits, or even the help of others, is one's property, and is thus protected and secured to that individual, to be taken by none except the government in the form of legislative taxation (under a representative governmental system), and taken equally from all individuals at the same rate, so as to equally protect the property and the right of all to be secure in and enjoy their individual property, and thus keep all individuals equal before the law.  

In 1787, James Madison spoke of natural distinctions that appear in free governments where the right to private property is protected, as well as legalized artificial ones that arise from factions that develop under the rule of an unrestrained majority.  This first democratic distinction, of rich and poor, is a natural one, where all are legally permitted to lawfully acquire wealth and property according their own input, and maintain it without legal restrictions based on certain qualities.  There are no laws allowing the few to acquire wealth and property and keep it, because of supposed superior qualities or conditions, while prohibiting the masses from doing so, keeping them poor because of supposed inferior qualities or conditions, be they race, gender, religion, intelligence, or economic status.  The latter is an aristocracy, an artificial distinction, artificial in that it enacts laws based on certain qualities or conditions deemed good or bad by a majority, as opposed to the former, where the only qualification is humanity. Unequal and selective taxation, based on an individual’s wealth, is an artificial distinction, in that it judges the person’s worth before the law on their economic status, instead of his/her humanity.  The more an individual’s wealth, the more they are bound by unequal taxation.

The logic behind this unequal and selective taxation is primarily based on charitable concern for the temporal welfare of the poor and middling people.  Such charitable desires are to be commended.  We must continue to aid our fellow suffering countrymen and human beings, and this succoring of the needy must first begin at the individual and community levels of society.  However, this worthy desire turns our American principles of justice, equal rights and equality before the law upside down when the majority is allowed to legally oppress the minority by enacting tax laws that apply only to them, based on their wealth.  Charity and welfare is good, and must continue, even if via taxation.  But, if via taxation, let us allow all Americans the equality and justice of equal taxation, instead of the economic burden of taxation being unequally distributed among one portion of society. For this is something that all have an inherent right to in a free and democratic society, where all pay a levied tax, all at the same rate, and where all are eligible to receive the benefits of such funding, in amounts according to their needs.  It must be remembered that taxation is legislation.  If we are intent on binding one portion of society by a law, we must be willing to bind ourselves, and all Americans by that law.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


It is often cited by proponents of the progressive and selective taxation system heaved upon the rich because of their wealth that such a system is a Christian thing to do, in that the rich must pay their fair share and pay more in taxation than the poor, so as to help the poor in relieving their sad condition.  But such an assertion that the progressive and selective tax system is the Christian thing to do is fallacious and misleading.  While it is true that the Bible and the Biblical Jesus Christ say that the rich must help the poor and that it can be construed from such Biblical teachings that the rich must give more in the relief of the downtrodden of society, perhaps by citing the law of tithing, it must be remembered that Christ never commanded that the rich pay a higher tithing rate than the poor or the rest of the members of his church.  Rather, the tithing system is based upon the principle that all members of Christ's church must pay the tithe, all at the say 10% rate, and through such a system, the wealthy continue to give more in tithing than the middling and poor, yet all are subject to the tither and all pay the same rate.  Thus, the argument could be made that if any taxation system were truly Christian, it would be a flat rate tax system that applied to all where all paid the same tax rate.  Thus, to call the progressive and selective tax system levied mostly on the rich or wealthy "Christian" is misleading.  For it takes the principle of the wealthy paying more to help those in need and arbitrarily mixes it with higher tax rates and hides it behind those rates, attempting to pass those progressive or graduated tax rates off as the "Christian" system of taxation.  But, as shown, such a move by the proponents of the progressive and selective tax system is untruthful and misleading.

If a man and his worth are to be judged by the content of his character and not by the color of his skin, then would it not stand that a man and his worth cannot be judged by his wealth and possessions?  Are skin color, race, religion, gender, physical handicaps, or wealth adequate representations of a person’s worth, heart, and humanity?  NO!  Would we permit a certain portion of the American populace to be taxed more based upon his/her skin color, religious preference, or gender (identity)?  Should all males be taxed at a higher rate or have a particular tax levied on them solely because of their gender, or that their gender might tend to make more money?  Should we apply the same conditions on all American Mormons, because of their chosen religious preference and its morals, and which might tend to make them more money?  What about doing the same on that small percentage of handicapped American individuals, because their conditions require more time, money, and care for their welfare?  Would Americans find that acceptable?  Indeed, many, if not all would be sorely offended by this, and screams of unconstitutionality and discrimination would erupt from the American populace. And rightly so, for these ideas are contrary to American principles, where our humanity determines our equality before the law.  Why, then, should it be any different for those with vast wealth and property?  Are they not our brothers and sisters?  Why do we discriminate against them with unequal laws when they have just as much right to their property and to equality before the law?


Not that long ago, there were laws in existence in America that judged a man's right to vote and run for election based upon his property holdings.  The more property the better was the motto then.  Indeed, the introduction of thus proprietary system of suffrage on the national level was debated in the 1787 Philadelphia Convention.  But it was soon judged by later generations of Americans that such selective forms of the right of suffrage based on the amount of one's property was unjust, inequitable, un-democratic and anti-republican, precisely because it was legislation that favored one portion of society above the other.  If such selective suffrage rights were deemed unjust and inequitable by our American forefathers, no matter how well intentioned such laws created by the Founding Fathers were at putting the right, moral men into government for the good of the public and the nation, why would now we seek to enact a reverse form of such legislation that favored another portion of society above the other?  For that is exactly what calls for tax hikes solely on the highest income earners in America while leaving the middling and poorer income earners alone would do; it would favor the lower income earners and the middle income earners over the higher income earners.  The same goes for a selective estate tax in which only those who have estate over a certain amount would be legally bound to pay the tax.  It places a tax solely on one portion of society while favoring the other by exempting them from such legislation.  President Obama is 100% right when he says it is unjust, immoral, and inequitable to give tax cuts to the highest income earners in America, all the while the middling and poorer income earners continue to struggle.  This is true.  But is it not equally unjust to legislatively give tax cuts to the lower and middle income earners while levying higher tax rates and certain estate taxes on the higher income earners, no matter how well intentioned such a scheme may be?  It's an up-ending or reversing of the same inequitable and unjust policy, that of enacting legislation that favors one portion of society over the other, leaving the same policy in place, yet switching the roles of those favored and those oppressed and unfavored.  And it is almost an exact opposite form of the former proprietary right to suffrage, in that it bases such unequal legislation, or legal inequality before the law solely on the property of an individual.


Thomas Paine once said, in a 1792 speech to the French National Convention, "[h]e that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."


It is true that in "Rights of Man," Paine encouraged a form of progressive taxation, with the burden of higher taxation coming upon the rich and aristocracy. But it must not be construed that he favored such a system for America.  He only suggests such a system of taxation as necessary in a monarchical and hereditary aristocratic government such as England, speaking only of and to England, where all the land is in the hands of a few nobles and there is no more property for commoners to buy, and where there is a law of primogeniture.  Such things did not exist in America when he wrote "Rights of Man," and Americans were the most equal and egalitarian society int he world, therefore such a system was not needed where equality and justice already reigned in the laws and government of America.


As one more piece of liberal defense against this unfair, unjust, and unequal tax system we currently condone in America, I cite as the authoritative and foundational liberal John Locke, who wrote in Book II of his Two Treatises of Government, titled "Of Civil Government,"


"These are the bounds which the trust, that is put in them by society and the law of God and nature, have set to the legislative power of every commonwealth, in all forms of government. First, they are to govern by promulgated established laws, not to be varied to particular cases, but to have one rule for rich and poor, for the favourite at court, and the countryman at plough." 



It may be asked how having certain written legislation stating this portion of society A shall pay a higher tax rate than this other B, who shall pay a higher of the rest of the portion of society C, can be construed as having one rule for rich and poor, for favorite in Congress, and the common, working American citizen?  True, every one has to pay the tax, but having different tax rates for different portions of society, based on whatever outward characteristic or quality, thus making these different portions of society unequal before the law, hardly seems as one rule rich and poor, the favorite in Congress, and the common, hardworking American citizen.  The same can be asked for those forms of selective taxation such as the estate tax and the capital gains tax, levied on only those whom Congress deems appropriate to have it levied upon them but not upon the rest of society.  America's progressive and selective taxation system violates this very rule of law and equality proposed by one of America's liberal influences and heros of liberalism and enlightenment thinking.  How very unfortunate.  


Another argument for equality in taxation, or in other words, the flat tax, is provided by the renowned economist and political writer F.A. Hayek, in the 1960 edition of his book The Constitution of Liberty:


"It is worth pointing out, in view of what we shall later have to say about the appropriate methods of curbing the coercive power of the state, that whenever there is danger of a monopolist's acquiring coercive power, the most expedient and effective method of preventing this is probably to require him to treat all customers alike, i.e., to insist that his prices be the same for all and to prohibit all discrimination on his part. This is the same principle by which we have learned to curb the coercive power of the state."

The government has a sole monopoly on coercive power to tax and enforce taxation. No one else but the government can levy taxes and use coercive power to enforce the tax laws and payment of taxes. And the best way to curb this monopolistic coercive power of taxation by the government and to prevent them from abusing it and oppressing certain portions of society, like what happens today via our current progressive and selective taxation system, is to require the government to treat all citizens alike, i.e., we must insist that the tax rates be the same for all and prohibit all discrimination on the part of the government of those who public opinion of the majority or whatever other reasons may deem worthy of such discrimination or justify discrimination of them.



I humbly implore all Americans that if our country is going to preach equality, then we must also practice it.  We must stop this evil, aristocratical rhetoric of increasing taxes on the upper income level earners and corporations in order to milk them for the survival and betterment of the middling and poorer portions of society because they alone can never pay enough!  They have just as much right to the use and maintenance of their legally acquired of property (including wealth) as the next man and woman.  We must put and end to this inverse, democratic/majoritarian aristocracy while we can, by having an equal income tax rate where everyone pays and by having an estate tax where everyone pays, and at the same rate.  Put down this gothic and draconian idea that is aristocracy, and let us live in the only possible egalitarian society, one in which the rights of mankind are protected for ALL and not just the few or the many, where all are equal before the law.  Remember what James Madison said in 1792, for not only do we have a right to acquire and maintain legally acquired property, but this very right is our individual property as well:




“This term [property] in its particular application means 'that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual.'
In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right; and which leaves to every one else a like advantage.
In the former sense, a man's land, or merchandise, or money is called his property.
In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.
Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses.”





___________________________________________________


And to this I add the following pieces if evidence to my claim:


Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 35:

"There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands these principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or to sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. It might be demonstrated that the most productive system of finance will always be the least burdensome."
http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=10

"THE MAN WHO UNDERSTANDS THESE PRINCIPLES BEST WILL BE LEAST LIKELY TO RESORT TO OPPRESSIVE EXPEDIENTS, OR TO SACRIFICE ANY PARTICULAR CLASS OF CITIZENS TO THE PROCUREMENT OF REVENUE."!!!

This is very interesting because the "selective estate tax" does just this; it sacrifices one particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue. The same goes for the progressive income tax, which leads us to conclude that those in Congress don't truly understand the "principles of political economy."

"Hamilton expected the national government to rely on 'commercial imposts'-which he called 'the most convenient branch of revenue'-possibly supplemented by an excise on a limited number of items of internal production and the sale of western lands. He hoped to avoid the recourse to those forms of taxation, such as land and poll taxes, which would be assessed and imposed [DIRECTLY] on the population, in favor of those to be quietly collected as individuals voluntarily purchased favored objects of consumption."
Jack Rakove, "Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution," pg. 237.
http://books.google.com/books?id=LEIHtxlSAd4C&printsec=frontcover&dq=original+meanings%2C+jack+rakove&source=bl&ots=Bh7_Ws_JdC&sig=5sehKLYuoOu0kh03i7NLSMxMcWs&hl=en&ei=7A5sTfmcDI_CsAOm_dCmBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CCwQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false





I also add the following quote as well, as further proof to my point that the progressive and selective tax system in America has established, the words of F.A. Hayek, "a rule of status," an inverse aristocracy, legalized discrimination in the very land of the free and equality that is America:


"There can be no doubt that planning [socialistic, centralized planning] necessarily involves deliberate discrimination between particular needs of different people, and allowing one man to do what another must be prevented from doing.  It must lay down by a legal rule how well off particular people shall be and what different people are to be allowed to have and do.  It means in effect a return to the rule of status, a reversal of the 'movement of progressive societies' which, in the famous phrase of Sir Henry Maine, 'has hitherto been a movement from status to contract.'  Indeed, the Rule of Law, more than the rule of contract, should probably be regarded as the true opposite of the rule of status.  It is the Rule of Law, in the sense of the rule of formal law, and the absence of legal privileges of particular people designated by authority, which safeguards that equality before the law which is the opposite of arbitrary government."
~F.A. Hayek, "The Road to Serfdom," chapter 6, pg. 78-79, 1963 edition.


Is this not exactly what we see with the constitutional allowance of a congressionally devised and imposed progressive and selective tax system, whose tax rates and victims of higher tax rates and taxes are continually and unlimitedly adjustable by Congress according to the dictates of the majority of the populace?  Do we not see legal discrimination against those unjustly and and unreasonably deemed "wealthy" or "rich" by the majority and their representatives in Congress through inequality before the law, taking more of their property through higher tax rates and selective taxes?  Can you not see that they are the victims to be drained of their wealth for the benefit of another portion of society?  Do you not see how such a progressive tax system has not only fixed legally defined classes in a supposedly legally classless society, such a impoverished, poor, middling and wealthy via tax brackets, but has also established a majoritarian aristocracy that allows itself to excuse itself from paying taxes or certain tax rates by mere legislation, all the while imposing certain laws only on the rich and wealthy, thus reducing their rights in the process?  If you cannot, you are blind indeed.


And finally, I close this addendum or post script with another quote by the great economist and political philosopher F.A. Hayek, taken from his book "The Constitution of Liberty," pg.'s 313-315.  This quote in essence is a sum of all that I have said concerning the discrimination of the progressive and selective tax system America now employs federally and on the state level.  It is a more succinct explanation of my critiques of progressive and selective taxation in a free country of liberty where equality before the law is supposed to rule:


"The real reason why all the assurances that progression [progressive taxation] would remain moderate have proved false and why its development has gone far beyond the most pessimistic prognostications of its opponents is that all arguments in support of progression can be used to justify any degree of progression. Its advocates may realize that beyond a certain point the adverse effects on the efficiency of the economic system may become so serious as to make it inexpedient to push it any further. But the argument based on presumed justice of progression provides for no limitation, as has often been admitted by its supporters, before all incomes above a certain figure are confiscated and those below left untaxed. Unlike proportionality, progression provides no principle which tells us what the relative burden of different person ought to be. It is no more than a rejection of proportionality in favor of a discrimination against the wealthy without any criterion for limiting the extent of this discrimination. Because 'there is no ideal rate of progression that can be demonstrated by formula,'it is only the newness of the principle that has prevented its being carried at once to punitive rates. But there is no reason why 'a little more than before' should not always be represented as just and reasonable. Democracy has yet to learn that, in order to be just, it must be guided in its action by general principles. What is true of individual action is equally true of collective action, except that a majority is perhaps even less likely to consider explicitly the long-term significance of its decision and therefore is even more in need of guidance by principles. Where, as in the case of progression, the so-called principle adopted is no more than an open invitation to discriminate against a minority, the pretended principle of justice must become the pretext for pure arbitrariness.

What is required here is a rule which, while still leaving open the possibility of a majority's taxing itself to assist a minority, does not sanction a majority's imposing upon a minority whatever burden it regards as right. That a majority, merely because it is a majority, should be entitled to apply to a minority a rule which does not apply to itself is an infringement of a principle much more fundamental than democracy itself, a principle on which the justification of democracy rests. We have seen before (in chaps. x and xiv) that if the classifications of persons which the law must employ are to result neither in privilege nor in discrimination, they must rest of distinctions which those inside the group singled out, as well as those outside it, will recognize as relevant.

It is the great merit of proportional taxation that it provides a rule which is likely to be agreed upon by those who will pay absolutely more and those who will pay absolutely less and which, once accepted, raises o problem of a separate rule applying only to a minority. Even if progressive taxation does not name the individuals to be taxed at a higher rate, it discriminates by introducing a distinction which aims at shifting the burden from those who determine the rates onto others. In no sense can a progressive scale of taxation be regarded as a general rule applicable equally to all-in no sense can it be said that a tax of 20 per cent on one persons income and a tax on 75 per cent on the larger income of another person are equal." 

~F.A. Hayek, "The Constitution of Liberty," pg. 313-315, 1960 edition, The University of Chicago Press. 

No comments:

Post a Comment