• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

SPRING FUNDRAISER

Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Romney, Taxes and Dependence on Government

Mitt Romney isn’t just out of touch; he’s also out of sync with the movement to shrink government. In an interview clarifying his now-infamous speech to donors, captured on clandestine video, Romney said, “I think people would like to be paying taxes.”

Come again? He also said, “The good news is if you are doing well enough financially that you can pay a tax.”

That’s good news?

Romney apparently had low-income people in mind. But if he’d rather see them working than collecting government benefits, the last thing he should want is to reduce the returns to labor — which is what income taxation does. Workers should be free to keep the full fruits of their labor.

I have an idea for the GOP presidential candidate: Test your belief that people like to pay taxes by proposing to end all penalties for nonpayment. Abolish the IRS. Make taxes voluntary. Then we’ll see who would like to pay and who wouldn’t. He says he’s for less government. Okay, Mr. Romney, prove it.

How many people does he suppose would choose to pay for the occupation of Afghanistan, or the drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, or the war on certain drug makers, sellers, and consumers? How many would be willing to pay for all the corporate welfare that riddles our so-called free-enterprise system?

Speaking of corporate welfare, in his speech Romney had much to say about dependence. “There are 47 percent who are … dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” He figures those folks won’t be voting for him and his allegedly small-government message.

Yet the New York Times reports, “The states with the highest percentage of federal filers who do not owe income taxes tend to vote Republican in presidential elections,” attributing the information to the Tax Foundation. “Research by Dean Lacy, a professor of government at Dartmouth College, has found that states that receive more in federal spending than they pay in taxes have become increasingly Republican in presidential elections.”

So Romney has the 47 percent wrong. But more important, he overlooks the fact that many low-income people work hard at two or three jobs and are the victims of anticompetitive corporatist policies that build barriers to advancement.

But that inconvenient fact aside, low-income people aren’t the only ones dependent on government. Another group is even more dependent: the people of the corporate world who expect government to provide bailouts, guarantees, and contracts. In the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008, it’s slightly cruel to stigmatize working-class and poor people who get government benefits, while letting big business and big banks off the hook. Romney supported the financial bailout and, aside from talking vaguely about tax loopholes, does not question the pervasive system of government privilege for big business.

The military-industrial complex is a case in point. As author Nick Turse documents, many thousands of American businesses are under contract to the military establishment, making everything from clothing to weapons. Many more invest resources looking for contracts. Private consumers are the losers. If you were to suggest to the corporate executives that they wean their companies from the government, they’d laugh. It’s much easier to make your money off the taxpayers rather than take your chances with fickle consumers free to take their business elsewhere.

No one has a right to other people’s money. That’s a simple moral precept summed up in the words “Thou shalt not steal.” It’s no less stealing if the government does it for you. Invoking democracy is no help here, because if an individual has no right to steal, it is logically impossible for any group of individuals to have such a right. No matter how many zeros you add together, the sum will be zero.

Let’s end all dependence on government. Doing it in one fell swoop would be ideal, but short of that, here’s a workable strategy: Cut taxes from the bottom up and welfare from the top down. This will move us toward a free society and win popular support along the way.

Sheldon Richman is senior fellow at The Future of Freedom Foundation (www.fff.org) and editor of The Freeman magazine.

More articles by:

Sheldon Richman, author of Coming to Palestine, keeps the blog Free Association and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com.  He is also the Executive Editor of The Libertarian Institute.

May 27, 2020
John Kendall Hawkins
The Asian Pivot
May 26, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump Administration and the Washington Post: Picking Fights Together
John Kendall Hawkins
The Gods of Small Things
Patrick Cockburn
Governments are Using COVID-19 Crisis to Crush Free Speech
George Wuerthner
Greatest Good is to Preserve Forest Carbon
Thomas Klikauer – Nadine Campbell
The Covid-19 Conspiracies of German Neo-Nazis
Henry Giroux
Criminogenic Politics as a Form of Psychosis in the Age of Trump
John G. Russell
TRUMP-20: The Other Pandemic
John Feffer
Trump’s “Uncreative Destruction” of the US/China Relationship
John Laforge
First US Citizen Convicted for Protests at Nuclear Weapons Base in Germany
Ralph Nader
Donald Trump, Resign Now for America’s Sake: This is No Time for a Dangerous, Law-breaking, Bungling, Ignorant Ship Captain
James Fortin – Jeff Mackler
Killer Capitalism’s COVID-19 Back-to-Work Imperative
Binoy Kampmark
Patterns of Compromise: The EasyJet Data Breach
Howard Lisnoff
If a Covid-19 Vaccine is Discovered, It Will be a Boon to Military Recruiters
David Mattson
Grizzly Bears are Dying and That’s a Fact
Thomas Knapp
The Banality of Evil, COVID-19 Edition
May 25, 2020
Marshall Auerback
If the Federal Government Won’t Fund the States’ Emergency Needs, There is Another Solution
Michael Uhl
A Memory Fragment of the Vietnam War
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
Make a Resilient, Localized Food System Part of the Next Stimulus
Barrie Gilbert
The Mismanagement of Wildlife in Utah Continues to be Irrational and a National Embarrassment.
Dean Baker
The Sure Way to End Concerns About China’s “Theft” of a Vaccine: Make it Open
Thom Hartmann
The Next Death Wave from Coronavirus Will Be the Poor, Rural and White
Phil Knight
Killer Impact
Paul Cantor
Memorial Day 2020 and the Coronavirus
Laura Flanders
A Memorial Day For Lies?
Gary Macfarlane – Mike Garrity
Grizzlies, Lynx, Bull Trout and Elk on the Chopping Block for Trump’s Idaho Clearcuts
Cesar Chelala
Challenges of the Evolving Coronavirus Pandemic
Luciana Tellez-Chavez
This Year’s Forest Fire Season Could Be Even Deadlier
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Beijing Acts on Hong Kong
George Wuerthner
Saving the Lionhead Wilderness
Elliot Sperber
Holy Beaver
Weekend Edition
May 22, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Hugh Iglarsh
Aiming Missiles at Viruses: a Plea for Sanity in a Time of Plague
Paul Street
How Obama Could Find Some Redemption
Marc Levy
On Meeting Bao Ninh: “These Good Men Meant as Much to Me as Yours Did to You”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Shallò: 120 Days of COVID
Joan Roelofs
Greening the Old New Deal
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Still Matters
Charles Pierson
Is the US-Saudi Alliance Headed Off a Cliff?
Robert Hunziker
10C Above Baseline
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
The Fed’s Chair and Vice Chair Got Rich at Carlyle Group, a Private Equity Fund With a String of Bankruptcies and Job Losses
Eve Ottenberg
Factory Farming on Hold
Andrew Levine
If Nancy Pelosi Is So Great, How Come Donald Trump Still Isn’t Dead in the Water?
Ishmael Reed
Alex Azar Knows About Diabetes
Joseph Natoli
Will Things Fall Apart Now or in November?
Richard D. Wolff
An Old Story Again: Capitalism vs. Health and Safety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail