Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Poll Taxes are Just
Recently, I read a book by Irwin Schiff, 'How an Economy Grows and Why it Doesn't.' As the title suggests, the book is about how an economy grows and what retards that growth. Among the topics in the book was the poll tax, something that I haven't given much thought to mainly because of the popular disapproval of it. However, I believe this is an unfounded assumption, at least under libertarian conditions. Under these conditions, taxes are unjust because they misappropriate wealth and property of individuals against their consent. Also, it doesn't allow for an individual to opt out of the system. This means the taxes are not voluntary. If you are among ten individuals and nine of them vote to distribute your possessions and you vote against them, the action made on this vote cannot be considered voluntary since it was not based on your own choice. It cannot be considered consensual neither, simply because you voted on it. Does acting in the interest of protecting your own wealth and property necessarily mean that you have consented to it being taken away from you? Poll taxes might be better thought of as donations to an elected administrator. Poll taxes themselves do not violate the rights of anyone, since under libertarian conditions decisions made by the administrator could not be used to violate people rights in the first place. In summary, poll taxes, along with charities and donations, are just forms of appropriation of wealth and property.