Gasoline Taxes – The Epitome of Forced Taxation and Government’s Broken Promises

Exclamation MarkI do not care that Alaska has not increased its gasoline taxes in 50-years.  Frankly, the fact that the Federal Government has gone 27.4 years without increasing the Federal Fuel Taxes is not a problem.  Nor that the Federal Government has to either get the current taxes renewed, or the Federal Gas Tax goes to $0.042 a gallon is not a tragedy, but a good thing.  Gas taxes are not the problem; the problem is that the fuel taxes, excise taxes, surcharges, and fees built into a gallon of gas that equals more than $1.00 per gallon, are never prioritized to the infrastructure projects the tax was collected initially to pay for!

IronyI find the following ironic; the Federal Gasoline Excise Tax is actually two taxes combined.  $0.01 per gallon is paid as the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) fee.  Why is this ironic; because the government LUSTs after all types of money to misappropriate.  Before creating acronyms, one would think that the government would consider how much of a joke those acronyms will make.  One of the seven deadly sins that are constantly causing scandals for politicians, LUST!  Yes, I find this tax acronym very ironic and applicable to the discussion on why the roads and other infrastructure is rated as a C- and falling.  I find LUST very appropriate to the discussion on the misappropriation of funds and how the government wants to increase taxes to pay for something already well funded but where the money is consistently diverted.

QuestionPlease note that each state will have additional taxes, fees, surcharges, and tax projects built into the cost of a gallon of gas or diesel, aviation, or propane.  Fuel taxes are a tax scheme that seems to always pay for anything but roads, bridges, and infrastructure.  Some basic facts regarding gas taxes:

      1. The average state gas tax is $0.3006 per gallon of gas.
      2. The Federal Government gets $0.184 per gallon of gas.
      3. States have added other fees to a gallon of gas, including:
          • Environmental
          • Underground storage (payable even if the tanks are above ground)
          • Inspection fees
          • Certification and other weights and measurement fees
      4. If your state taxes Ethanol, your gas taxes include the Ethanol tax, as well as a fuel tax.
      5. All fuels are hit with taxes, and some of those taxes are disproportionately assigned to heavier vehicles. For example, diesel has a different formula for taxes due to the trucking industry using roads and bridges more; at least, this is the excuse used to tax diesel differently.

Gas Tax Revenue – Poor Roads and Infrastructure

Since I was a kid in Maine, who closely observed the gas tax debate, I have wondered the same question.  “Why are the roads so poor if the government is collecting all these taxes on gasoline?”  Now, keep in mind the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. “Taxes are the price of civilization.”  Meaning that to “enjoy” the pleasure of a free society, the government will levy taxes.  But, the money collected does not have to go for what the tax was intended to pay.  Hence the broken promises of gasoline taxes.

Plato 2Fuel taxes are used for a myriad of uses, and the priority is all confused about how to spend fuel taxes:

        1. Schools
        2. Pay down the National Debt
        3. Mass Transit
        4. Cleaning up underground fuel leaks
        5. Law Enforcement
        6. Environmental Protection
        7. Pension Shortfalls
        8. State Debts
        9. Federal Highway Trust Fund Deficits of all types
        10. Enforcement Costs, including weights and measurement certification
        11. Roads
        12. Bridges

Now, do not forget the other obstacle in fixing roads and bridges, the labor costs, especially if the workers are unionized.  The government bidding processes for projects, especially in all forms of construction, are obscenely complicated, which increases costs long before a shovel hits the dirt.  If unions are involved, the time for the project and expenses will, at a minimum, double before the project completes, creating deficit spending.  I am not cynical here; I have witnessed this occur too often not to admit the truth.

Working DollarChris LeDoux sings a song, “Working Man’s Dollar,” which tells the story and details the difference between a working man’s dollar and the dollar in other places.  The fuel tax was first adopted in Oregon, and the proceeds were earmarked only for fixing, maintaining, and building roads, bridges, and other travel infrastructures, like tunnels.  Except, the money never is prioritized to the failing roads, bridges, and infrastructure costs.  The working man’s dollar, collected through forced taxation, is not respected by the government authorized through the ballot box to allocate spending.

I was in Maricopa County when a stadium was pitched to the residents to be located in Scottsdale.  A gas tax hike was proposed as part of an overall tax plan to pay for the stadium.  I asked, “If the stadium was worth the investment, why not just sell bonds?”  I never got an answer.  Not every citizen was interested in the stadium, not all citizens were going to benefit from the stadium, but every citizen was being asked to help pay for a stadium.  The stadium in that election failed, but the ideas did not die; a new location was proposed, and the voters there accepted the stadium’s tax hikes.  Want a surprising non-surprise, the stadium is built, but the taxes have never gone away, including property, sales, and fuel taxes!  Where is that money going?

Bait & SwitchNow, the Federal Government has a bunch of fuel taxes and surcharges (taxes called a fee) about to expire.  The question every voter in America needs to ask themselves is this, “Did the government properly use the funds dedicated to infrastructure?”  If so, then the fuel taxes should continue at the Federal level.  If not, then the fuel taxes should cease, for the government refuses to spend money according to the purpose it was collected.  Every single state in the union should be asking the same question and answering accordingly.

I lived in Albuquerque, NM., for several years.  To get potholes fixed, you had to ruin your car in an accident involving the street, then sue the city, county, state, whatever for the insurance costs.  Only then was that particular patch of road deemed important enough to repair.  There are bone-jarring, teeth-rattling, car-destroying potholes all over Albuquerque.  These never get fixed because the city has been too busy dumping tax money into a rapid transit project that is barely used, overly expensive, and desperately not desired by the taxpaying citizens.  They had “ART” (Albuquerque Rapid Transit) crammed down their throats by a judge.  ART has been a disgrace from Day 1.  Yet, money keeps pouring into ART instead of the many roads, bridges, overpasses, and other infrastructure that desperately needs repair.  A friend of mine hit a pothole, doing 35mph, dented his rim almost 2”, ruined his front alignment, and cost him a considerable sum.  That pothole is still there, still causing dents, still eating tires, and the city cannot fix it, the state will not fix it, the county was supposed to fix it, the Indian reservation owns it, and the federal government makes the pothole worse every day by traffic of federal employees going to work.

Tax BurdenHence the reason why fuel taxes are considered a tax scheme!  If you pass the buck enough, nothing gets done, and the money collected can be used in other projects while responsibility is determined.  Except, there is no money to fix the problem when the responsibility is determined, and the wheel just keeps spinning around.  Are you sick and tired of the games politicians play, yet?  Now, imagine your electric bill going up to pay for the fuel taxes not paid for by electric car owners, and tell me about proper government action and accountability.  My friend could not sue because responsibility cannot be determined; his insurance would not pay for the damages because the road damaged his vehicle; guess who was out almost $10,000.

Tax Scheme 2Some states are changing how the gasoline and other fuel taxes, including electricity due to the rise in electric vehicles on the road, are being priced and collected.  However, the problem is not the tax; it’s the fact that the tax never pays for what it was intended to when collected.  Some states got an increase in fuel taxes through their state legislatures this year.  Other states and the Federal Government are taking fuel taxes up in the coming months or the next legislating session.  But, not a single politician, anywhere in America, has stepped up to state the obvious, the current taxes collected are sufficient to pay for roads and bridges; we have to allocate more of the current money collected to roads and bridges.

Broken Promises – Broken Roads and Bridges

Question 3Is the problem apparent?  How many of your state taxes, lotteries, and other fees are supposed to pay for education?  Yet, education always seems never to have enough money.  How many taxes and fees go into the Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation, all of which are supposed to pay for infrastructure, e.g., roads, tunnels, bridges, overpasses, highways, etc.?  How much is the pension crisis costing your state, driving taxes and fees upwards, but the money never is delivered to pay down and lessen the pension crisis?

I repeat, only for emphasis, “America does NOT have a cash collection problem; it has a spending problem.”  At all levels of government, the elected officials are acting worse than drunken sailors on a seven-day binge, and this behavior needs to cease!  We cannot spend our way out of the hole dug through deficit spending!  The answer is not allowing the government to steal more money from our pockets, but to demand the money taken is used for the purposes intended!

Tax SchemeWe must tie political decisions to misappropriate funds to the legislators and executives making the decisions.  Thus, holding accountable the people who are being poor managers of the people’s money.  More importantly, when re-election decisions are made, the media, the influencers, and the political parties need to report this information.  Being able to hide funding shenanigans and criminal activities should never occur; businesses cannot do this, the government should not be able to do this.  Audits, investigations, and transparency are critical to putting the right people out of office and into prison, and keeping the honest and faithful stewards in office and working.

Knowledge Check!The size of government must shrink to an affordable level, from the city to the Federal; every government body in America, including those non-Government agencies acting like government agencies (USPS), need to be forced onto a diet of less money!  There is no excuse for the government to be the size it has become.  There is no excuse why we, the owners of the government, cannot demand government shrink, become efficient, and keep the promises made regarding money collected, used appropriately, and ended at the time promised.

Angry Wet ChickenAs sure as carts to horses and ducks to water, a Federal tax, fee, or surcharge, will be found shortly on your electric bill to cover the costs of electric vehicles on the roads.  When the Federal government does this, the state, county, and city will jump in with both feet, claiming “fairness” and “equality” so everyone is “paying their fair share” of the costs for infrastructure.  It doesn’t matter that you do not own an electric vehicle; the government will help you finance one through increased taxes and misappropriated fees collected.  Just like the “Obama Phone” scheme being abused by many people and paid for by a small minority.  Broken promises indeed!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

$1.8 Trillion Annual Deficit – The Problems with Biden’s Budget

Angry Grizzly BearWith gratitude to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), their analysis of the proposed budget was broken down, and some sense was made.  Not that the news is logical, acceptable, or palatable, just that the budget documents were broken down, which was helpful.  We start with the most bass-ackwards aspect of the budget by asking one question, “Where is the money supposed to come from?”

The 2022 Budget Proposal left President Biden’s desk requesting Congress to spend $6 Trillion and add $1.8 Trillion in new deficit spending to the bloated debt the government already owes.  “Who is going to buy the bonds and make money on this debt?”  When a person employs a search engine, asking this exact question, many answers come forward, and some do not make any sense.

Peter Schiff stated:

The government doesn’t have money that it doesn’t take. Any dollar that the government spends is a dollar that the private sector can’t spend or can’t invest. The government has to take money out of the economy before it can put it back in. Nobody seems to understand this basic point because they see the Fed creating money, and they think, well, we just print money. They don’t realize that when they print money, they destroy the value of the money that’s already there. So, they’re not adding new purchasing power. They’re just redistributing it” [emphasis mine].

Thus the first problem with America’s debt and proposed budget transparent; there is no money that government can spend unless it first forcefully removes it from the owner.  That is theft, or as we recently discussed, legalized theft.  The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has ruled that legalized plunder, legal theft, or forced taxation are the price we pay for civilization, thus making legal the government’s actions to steal money.Government Largess

Let me be clear; I am not an economist.  I select several very bright and experienced people to help explain things to me.  However, I can help others with less interest in economics understand what is happening in America right now to answer the question put forward, “Who is buying America’s debt instruments?”  The simple answer is that the Federal Treasury is buying the debt instruments, as the whole world sells their bonds and other American debt instruments.  What the Federal Reserve is doing is called “monetizing debt.”

Monetizing Debt

Gravy Train 3The definition of monetized debt is as follows. “Debt monetization or monetary financing is the practice of a government borrowing money from the central bank to finance public spending instead of selling bonds to the private sector or raising taxes. It is often informally and pejoratively called printing money or money creation.”  Money can only be created in two ways: selling products and services and lending money where the borrower pays interest.  While there are many different debt instruments, i.e., credit card, home loan, student loan, bonds, Treasury Notes, etc., the principle remains the same: you either sell goods and services to make money or lend money and make money on the interest.

Why does monetizing debt matter?

Two simple reasons the government allows debt to be monetized.  To hide debt, it doesn’t want the public to know about, and to absorb cash on the market as a tool to fight inflation.  Here’s the problem, there is too much debt on the government’s books to hide it from the public any longer.  Add to that the sheer volumes of cash in the marketplace after handing out money during COVID, and the Federal Reserve will monetize debt.  Even if the chair of the Federal Reserve denies monetizing debt, debt is being monetized.Burning money - THE JOSIAH BARTLETT CENTER FOR PUBLIC POLICY

In short terms, your pocketbook is going to take another hit on the chin, and possibly two.  First, your interest rate on privately held debt, credit cards, student loans, homes, etc., is going to go up, all while making lenders nervous and refuse to lend money.  Second, inflation is already making the dollars held less valuable.

Inflation first; inflation is the devaluation of dollars.  The government floods the marketplace with cash, and the currency you hold will drop in value.  For example, recently the inflation was reported to have been 4.6% higher year-over-year.  This announcement was made in April 2021, so all the money you earned last year suddenly became 4.6% less valuable this year, all before the interest rate increases affected those dollars.Inflation - 8 Things Everyone Ought To Know.

Case in point, the US Government sent me $1000 in January; I held onto those funds due to a move that was coming and spent the money in June.  However, between January and June, inflation moved up at a steady pace, and when I went to spend that $1000, it was only worth $850.  That is the power of inflation in your pocket.

Have you asked for a credit increase recently and been denied?  What about your credit limits on your credit cards, have they shrunk?  Both are indicators that the lenders refuse to lend due to the tremendous risks caused by fiscal insanity in the Federal Government.  What about home loans, have you had to produce more documentation, prove more income, and work harder to qualify for a loan?  What about student debt?  The government controls the lending of student debt.  Even here, the Federal Government cannot demand a lender loan money to student’s and many students have found their college expenses grow, and their ability to borrow shrunk.Inflation pickpocket | Cayman Compass

In a simple fact of life, every household in America understands perfectly. When your credit scores go down, your ability to borrow reduces, and it becomes harder to meet all your bills every month.  Every city, county, state, and even the Federal Government should know this lesson, but they refuse to believe problems arise when credit scores go down.  All because those elected believe they can tax some more, and the money magically appears.

Does money magically appear in your pocket; of course not!  It must be earned through working, selling goods and services, or trading your time for employment with an employer for a paycheck.  Does the law allow you to write blank checks, kite checks, backdate checks, or simply float a check waiting for a future payday; of course not!  Yet, this is what the government is doing right now with your money.  The government is spending money, promising the lenders that a future payday will be theirs, but the government has to spend money to get money.  Does that excuse work for you when the electric company, gas company, cellphone, and other bills arrive?A Helpful Chart : How Inflation Changes Mortgage Rates

The most heartbreaking statement I have heard in a long time was recently made by a physician’s assistant, who claimed, “Aren’t we all just one paycheck from disaster?”  The simple truth, mostly, yes!  Studies exist that talk about financial resiliency in America.  Financial resiliency is all about being able to weather a patch of trouble without losing your possessions in bankruptcy.  The conclusions were all but unanimous. Along with most industrial nations, America has no financial resiliency due to government fiscal policies that hinder saving money and the need to live on credit cards to keep the basics of life paid for each month.

When inflation is stealing the value of your money, no wage can compete with government theft, all before taxes.  Add in tax laws that are counter-productive, job-killing, and increase the cost of doing business, and the job you have becomes tenuous at best.  Add in the hidden debts the government is trying to hide, and nobody in America is making money.

QuestionWhat about those who consider themselves “Rich?”

The same problems you are having with inflation are the same problems everyone is having with inflation.  Let’s go back to my $1000 that became $850 through six months of inflation.  We all spend the same money, and inflation is killing everyone’s dollar equally!  Hence, I beg you, do not allow the media hype about rich versus poor to derail the point.  Inflation and monetized debt are killing the US Dollar, which is why so many foreign investors have dumped their US Debt instruments for safer financial shores.

While some people have more financial resiliency than others, everyone’s dollar is dropping in value.  Inflation and low financial resiliency mean making budget cuts to charities, hiring someone to maintain a lawn, and a host of other ways and means American’s share our money.  It can mean turning off services, weighing how much fuel can be used, and a host of other belt-tightening decisions.  All things the government should first be doing, and they refuse.24+ Inspirational Quotes For Unemployed - Audi Quote

Yours and my liberty and freedoms depend upon stable economic policy, firm fiscal policies, and elected officials scrutinizing the government for waste, fraud, and abuse.  Yet, what do we regularly find; fraud, waste, and abuse!  The Department of Defense has lost multiple trillions of dollars; not a single politician is asking for an audit and an explanation or is willing to withhold additional appropriations until the lost money is accounted for.  The Department of Veterans Affairs continues to mismanage funds, misappropriate funds, and waste money like overripe fruit; yet, still, we have zero interest from the politicians elected to scrutinize government.

I repeat Peter Schiff, only for emphasis:

The government doesn’t have money that it doesn’t take. Any dollar that the government spends is a dollar that the private sector can’t spend or can’t invest. The government has to take money out of the economy before it can put it back in. Nobody seems to understand this basic point because they see the Fed creating money, and they think, well, we just print money. They don’t realize that when they print money, they destroy the value of the money that’s already there. So, they’re not adding new purchasing power. They’re just redistributing it” [emphasis mine].

Inflation Quotes | Inflation Sayings | Inflation Picture Quotes - Page 2In redistributing your money, the government has proven they are the problem, and the solution begins locally!  Change your mayor, city council, county board, school boards, and every other elected official.  Getting the local governments in fiscal shape allows state governments to begin practicing fiscal health and sanity.  Then, we put people into the Federal Office more interested in scrutinizing the government than in writing endless laws and abdicating their legislative role to the executive bureaucrats and the judicial branch.

Knowledge Check!The budget put forth by President Biden is the height of insane, and I have only covered less than 1/10th of the budget problems in this article.  Granted, I covered the most egregious problem, but the fact that the legislative branch is even negotiating a compromise is beyond insanity and borders on criminal negligence!  We, each citizen of a representative government, must stand and tell our representatives NO MORE!  No more fiscal insanity, borrowing to buy votes, entering into debt obligations that make captives of unborn millions of other people.  No more will we allow them to buy votes to maintain power.  End the financial abuse of the taxpayer; your wallet will thank you!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

The Proper and Improper Role of Government – Part 2

QuestionThe following is the second part of the series on the proper and improper role of government. First, imperative to the discussion is a quick recap on the purpose of a government, and then we will discuss the actual role of government.  Second, the following cannot be stressed enough, America was founded upon a Judeo-Christian understanding and philosophy.  Other representative governments have removed the influence of religion globally, but America, thankfully, continues to keep it around.  Third, nothing herein is to be misconstrued as supporting any single religion, including atheism and agnostics.  My religious beliefs are not your business, just as your religious beliefs are not my business; we are not here to debate theology, philosophy, or anything but the government’s proper and improper role.

What is the purpose of government?

The second sentence of The Declaration of Independence is long but powerful:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The purpose of government is to “secure these rights… deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”  The rights the government is to secure are “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  When talking about securing, we are not inferring that those rights come from the government, are tools of government, or can be dispersed by the government.  When discussing securing, we are talking about the government protecting against threats to, harm from, or the need to make safe from those who would do the collective body of citizens harm.  The government securing rights does not mean affixing those rights to an individual, as the individual already owns these rights.  The government’s purpose is to protect the body of citizens by making the body of citizens safe.quote-mans-inhumanity

The etymology of secure is vital to understanding the purpose and proper role of government. “Mid 16th century (in a sense ‘feeling no apprehension’): from Latin Securus, from Ee- ‘without’ + Cura ‘care.’”  Hence, without care for an individual, the government secures, protects, and defends the individual’s inalienable rights.  Not deciding what is good for the masses, not selecting winners and losers based upon the whims and wishes of a bureaucrat, but considering the entire mass of citizens without preference and defending their inalienable rights is the purpose of government.

What is the proper role of government?

Government LargessFrom many Judaic and Christian sources, one can find various systems of government in place throughout history.  From despots of the most vile to the judges of Israel, which brought liberty and freedom instead of kings, one can find just about any form of government represented in historical texts of ancient date.  More specifically, one can find the proper role of government, which is stated most simply in the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, specifically Section 134:2.

We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.”

Is the proper role of government clearer? For example, suppose the government is only focused upon securing the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of [private] property, and the protection of life. In that case, that government is fulfilling its proper role.  Did you notice what is missing from the strict interpretation of the proper role of government?  Social services, arbitration, buying support through forced taxation, and much more.  Except, America was established as a Constitutional Republic with democratically elected representatives.  Thus, does America’s government have a different interpretation of the proper role of government?

Ziggy - IRS AuditThe founding fathers, and several of the first presidents in America, were considered statesmen. However, statesmen are not merely politicians, and politicians are never statesmen!  A statesman is a person who is well versed in the principles or art of government, actively engaged in conducting the business of government or in shaping its policies.  The statesmen are respected for their skill, diplomacy, power to communicate ideas, and being principled.  Thus, the statesmen are morally upright and can be trusted to understand why they are morally principled and why the law should be morally centered.  It cannot be stressed enough. The true statesmen values principles over popularity and works to create popularity for political principles in government operations that are morally sound and bring the most freedom to the most people.

Consider the following from Albert E. Bowen:

Right and wrong as moral principles do not change.  They are applicable and reliable determinants whether the situations with which we deal are simple or complex.  There is always a right and wrong to every question which requires a solution.”

The Duty of AmericansNow, returning to the proper role of government, any form of government instituted by man, we find the following as guidance in measuring said governmental role.  From D&C 134;1-2, 5:

1 We believe that governments were instituted of God for the benefit of man; and that he holds men accountable for their acts in relation to them, both in making laws and administering them, for the good and safety of society.

2 We believe that no government can exist in peace, except such laws are framed and held inviolate as will secure to each individual the free exercise of conscience, the right and control of property, and the protection of life.

5 We believe that all men are bound to sustain and uphold the respective governments in which they reside, while protected in their inherent and inalienable rights by the laws of such governments; and that sedition and rebellion are unbecoming every citizen thus protected, and should be punished accordingly; and that all governments have a right to enact such laws as in their own judgments are best calculated to secure the public interest; at the same time, however, holding sacred the freedom of conscience.”

From the US Constitution’s Preamble, a person will find why the government was instituted.  “… in order to form a more perfect Union (government), establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”  Between the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the offered verses, we find similar language discussing the purpose and role of government.

Thus, the proper role of government remains simple and easy to understand.  The proper role of government is to secure man’s inalienable rights, protect private property, and ensure each citizen may pursue their path of happiness.  A citizen’s path of happiness cannot infringe upon another citizen’s pursuit of happiness, steal their property, damage their property, or destroy public property.  Hence, the government must balance the inalienable rights of a person to commit crimes against the acceptable restriction to hold people accountable to socially acceptable laws while never infringing upon an individual’s conscience.  Therein lay the seeds of the improper role of government.Apathy

What is the improper role of government?

Ziggy - NSAThe improper role of government begins with refusing to accept that government power is limited to only those powers the citizens grant the government.  Thankfully, there is a simple test for understanding what powers the government has or does not have.  The test: Can you order your neighbor to pay for welfare for another person?  If not, the government does not have this right or power.  Can your neighbor call you to pay subsidies to them for keeping their lawn and home maintained?  If not, the government does not have the right to spend taxpayer money to subsidize another person’s housing.  This simple test relates the power of government, the government’s improper role, and reasonable government restrictions.

The line between the proper and improper role of government is thin but very distinguishable using the simple test described above.  Claude-Frédéric Bastiat was a French economist, writer, and prominent member of the French Liberal School. A member of the French National Assembly, Bastiat developed the economic concept of opportunity cost and introduced the parable of the broken window.  We present Bastiat as providing the logic behind the simple test.  “Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in.”  Hence, the simple test regarding a neighbor forcing you or forcing your neighbor is justified as the test for the proper or improper role of government.Patriotism

Forced taxation is a form of legal plunder, and since payment is the test for which powers are proper or improper for government, we must return to Bastiat for a delineation of legal plunder.

When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it – without his consent and without [just] compensation, whether by force or by fraud – to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property was violated; that an act of plunder is committed. … How is legal plunder to be identified?  Quite simply.  See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.  See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.”

Government Largess 3Legal plunder is theft through the misuse of the power of government.  Consider the following example, your paycheck.  On that paycheck, the Federal and State governments demand money from you, not earned but forced through jurisprudence and legislative fiat, and those funds are given to another person.  As a private citizen, if I took your wallet and removed money from it, I would be guilty of theft and liable to the penalties of criminal and civil law, even if I did not keep your cash but donated it to a charitable organization.  Remember, the simple test that details the difference between the proper and improper role of government.

One additional piece of knowledge where the improper role of government is described and dictates that government cannot create wealth.  No government, at any time throughout history, has produced wealth.  The government takes from the citizens to survive, and the proper role of government would see every cent of forced taxation as a precious resource, needing to be accounted to the citizens forced to pay.  People create wealth, and if you desire a full explanation of how money is created, please see the following link.

Plato 2Why does it matter?

The government cannot exist without the consent of the governed.  Your inalienable rights should be the only concern of any government form, type, or methodology.  Yet, what do we find; legal plunder to buy other citizens’ support.  We find legalized plunder without transparency, without accountability, and without regard for those struggling to pay the forced taxation (legalized plunder).  We find Trillions in missing money in every government, where the representatives are not concerned, or even aware, of the money lost.  We see government spending above and beyond its intake, creating debt penalties for many future generations to pay for the benefits of the current generation, all because the government refuses to live on a budget.  We find bureaucrats treating citizens as property and abusing that property worse than any corporate polluter of the 1970s.

Knowledge Check!Look carefully, dear citizen; government only exists by the will of the governed.  Do you think it is time for a change in government?  Do you feel your government is fulfilling its purpose and proper role or is your government abusing its rights and powers as granted through the consent of the governed?  You must answer these questions and then decide where you stand.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.