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Is taxation theft? Show more Show less
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Taxes have been raised for over 5,000 years. Without tax, so it claims, the state cannot maintain its functions and support its citizens. But some libertarians claim all taxation is immoral: the state stealing the money of the individual. Where does taxation cross the line between legitimate representation and legal plunder?

No, taxation is not theft. Show more Show less

Taxation is in sync with democratic principles.
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Tax is an equalizing force, not a theft

Taxation is a method to promote equality and maintain justice in a society rather than being a perpetrator of it.

The Argument

In John Rawls’ theory of distributive justice, all individuals of a society are fundamentally equal, and therefore all social goods must be distributed equally. If there is an unequal distribution of these goods, it must ultimately benefit everyone. This way all citizens have an advantage. Through Rawls’ understanding of society, taxation is elemental in distributing the unequal hierarchy of income. Perhaps someone can claim their share of a social good without making anyone worse off; this would still be an injustice to society because markets are not immune to bias and ancient avalanches of misdeeds. The actual distribution of income is not representative of what each person has a moral claim upon. Under this theory, any income withheld that is derived from a past injustice or fraud is unjustly claimed and therefore must be distributed fairly for society’s benefit. Because our markets are percolated with a tangled web of past slights, taxation is less of a theft than it is an equalizing force.

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This page was last edited on Friday, 3 Jul 2020 at 14:59 UTC

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