quarta-feira, junho 23, 2010

# 56

«(...) since taxes are compulsory and not voluntary, we can conclude nothing about the alleged benefits that are paid for with them. Suppose, in analogy, that I am forced at gunpoint to contribute 25 cents for a newspaper and that that newspaper is the n forcibly hurled at my door. We would be able to conclude nothing about my alleged benefit from the newspaper. Not only might I be willing to pay no more than 5 cents for the paper, or even nothing on some days, I might positively detest the newspaper and would demand payment to accept it. From the fact of coercion there is no way of telling. Except that we can conclude that many people are not getting 25 cents' worth from the paper or indeed are positively suffering from this coerced "exchange." Otherwise, why the need to exercise coercion? Which is all that we can conclude about the "benefits" of taxation. 

To Adam Smith, the benefit principle dictated proportional income taxation: "The subjects of every state ought to contribute toward the support of government, as nearly as possible .. . in proportion to the revenue whic h they respectively enjoy under protection of the state."

Other writers have even used the benefit principle to justify progressive taxation. Yet there is no warrant whatever for assuming equi-, or even more than, proportional benefit from government. In one model the alleged benefit from government is to be simply deduced from one's income, and it is claimed that this indicates a proportionately greater "benefit from society. " But there are many flaws with this approach. For first, since everyone benefits from participating in society, the fact that A earns more than B must be attributed to individual differences in ability or productivity rather than to the benefits of society. And second, "society"—the pattern of voluntary exchanges of goods and services—is most emphatically not identical to the State, the coercive extractor of taxation.

If, indeed, we are to tax people in accordance with their benefit from government, we would ha ve to tax all the net taxconsumers to the amount of their subsidies. We would have to tax 100 percent of the salaries of bureaucrats, of the incomes of welfare recipients and of defense contractors, and so on. We would then have our ideal model of the neutral tax where all recipients of government funds would systematically repay them to the taxpayers—an absurd if rather charming state of affairs.» (p. 103-104)

Murray N. Rothbard, The Logic of Action Two (1997)

Outro clássico.