The deadline for Americans to file (or not file) income tax paperwork is coming up on the 15th of April.
The way taxation works shows the non-consensual nature of the state. One is not allowed to opt out of paying for things the government does, regardless of whether one wants them done at all. Taxation rests on coercion.
Money taken through taxes helps support state monopolies and fund enforcement. In addition, a higher tax burden means that one needs a higher income to maintain a standard of living. By doing so, taxes raise the barriers to independent living and undertaking non-traditional work. Stronger state monopolies, stricter enforcement, and incentivizing longer working hours means less time for liberty and fewer opportunities to build alternatives to authoritarian controls. Taxation supports the state’s efforts to reach further into all areas of life.
Federal taxes are put to especially violent use. According to the War Resisters League, 54% of the portion of the federal budget funded by income taxes (which excludes Social Security and other items separately taken from income) was put towards military spending in 2009. That’s more than $1.4 trillion dollars to kill people, prepare to kill people, and pay off past preparations and killings. Killings in the pursuit of expanding political power and boosting the profits of privileged industries. (The figures that War Resisters League gives can be found at: http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm)
And putting a dollar figure to the war machine is not about being a callous bean-counter. Each dollar spent on the military-industrial complex could have been put to a productive use. The much-lauded advances in technology that military research had a hand in could have been done sooner if they were a bigger priority than politically-driven weapons advancement. With the cost of each single F-22 fighter jet listed as $142.6 million on Wikipedia, one has to wonder what a few extra billions of dollars in the economy would do for things like medical research, food quality, and basic living conditions.
Taxes for military spending cause death and deprivation at both ends.
The War Resisters League figures don’t include paramilitary forces deployed against Americans. The division between law enforcement and military, in equipment, attitude, function, and personnel are as blurry as ever. Taxes pay for Tasers, tear gas, and tanks.
Activities that are controlled by government or by government-supported monopolies are based more on political incentives (how much something satisfies people in high ranks of the power structure) than on economic incentives (how much satisfaction something brings to a number of individuals). So the more top-down control of education, research, technology, and resources, the more likely that education, research, technology, and resources will be geared toward serving power structures over the needs of individuals who do not rank high in power structures. Taxation, which governments use to secure funding, is a key part of this system of control.
Income tax is not the only way the US government takes wealth from people. Every time more dollars are printed and then given to large banks, the dollar loses purchasing power. So you can’t buy as much when your wage stays the same. Government force plays a major role in keeping the economy rigid so you need to work more to have less. And they will borrow money to fund their programs.
But the debts that governments get into and the thugs they send after those who step out of line all depend on government guarantees to pay for services using money they take from taxpayers. To stop the cycle of violence and robbery, work from the ground up to make the population ungovernable.