Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Tax-Debate Serfdom


While serfs on the plantation debate the income-tax bill that is being proposed in Congress, it is incumbent on us libertarians to continue reminding people that there is nothing about this debate that has anything to do with the restoration of a free society in America. The bill might or might not make life on the plantation better for people but it won’t make them free.

A free society necessarily entails an income-tax free society. People have the natural and God-given right to keep everything they earn and, further, to decide what to do with what rightly belongs to them. That’s why we libertarians favor the elimination of the income tax (and the IRS) as well as the things that income-tax revenues are used for: mandatory welfare-state charity programs and warfare-state programs.

Proponents say that repealing the income tax and welfare-warfare state programs is impossible — pie in the sky.

Really? If that’s true, then how is it that the American people lived without the income tax and the welfare-warfare state for more than a hundred years? They obviously proved that it is entirely possible.

It all turns on the power of ideas. The United States was founded by people who believed that freedom necessarily entailed no income tax, no Social Security, Medicare, and other welfare-state programs, and no warfare, national-security-state, deep-state governmental structure. They favored a way of life in which people are free to live their lives the way they want (so long as their conduct is peaceful), a free- market economic system, and a constitutionally limited-government republic.

Later generations of Americans came to subscribe to different ideas, socialist ideas, ideas revolving around the notion that government should take care of people, including those who didn’t want the government to take care of them. That’s how we ended up with an income tax, a welfare state, and a warfare state. It’s also why we ended up living in a society based on conflict, chaos, crisis, violence, envy.

Where do we go from here? It depends on what people want. If their goal is a better life on the plantation and continued chaos and crises, they should endorse the income tax, the welfare state, and the warfare state.

On the other hand, if their goal is a life of genuine freedom and economic prosperity, they should stand for a repeal of the income tax and an abolition of the IRS and the immoral and destructive things they fund.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.