Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Yesterday, I blogged Tax Foundation's declaration of April 30 as Tax Freedom Day. Thad Williamson (University of Richmond, Jepson School of Leadership Studies) criticizes the premise of Tax Freedom Day in No Taxes Would Mean No Prosperity:
The fundamental idea underlying Tax Freedom Day is the libertarian notion that we have a strong moral claim to enjoy as much of our pre-tax income as possible, and that government is trampling on our freedom by taking away such a substantial share of "our money." This notion in turn rests on a mental image of the economy in which the market produces society's wealth, while government merely consumes it.
Both of those ideas are mistaken, for the same reason. The reason we have no moral claim to our pre-tax income is that that very income is made possible not simply by our personal efforts, but by our participation in a broader system of social cooperation ("the economy") that is itself made possible in part by taxes and the public action they facilitate.
Simply put, the vast size of our economy -- and the rewards it offers to us as individuals -- are in very large measure made possible by the fact of government and various government activities, past and present.
(Hat Tip: Shari Motro.)