The thing about 100% voluntary taxation is, where does a contribution end and a bribe begin? (And where does “patronage” begin and end, if you want to avoid a dichotomy?)
Or would it be a good thing to formalize the disenfranchisement of the plebs (do away with elections while you’re at it, since money’s what really matters), since they’re too stupid to deserve more than a token say in policymaking anyway?
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The thing about 100% voluntary taxation is, where does a contribution end and a bribe begin? (And where does “patronage” begin and end, if you want to avoid a dichotomy?)[/quote]
You could say exactly the same thing about taxation in general. The tax system in the Twilight Zone is in fact formalized bribery and extortion. However, in real countries, where taxes are paid into a big government pot and not into individual pockets or little provincial tax offices with a lot of leeway for … creative accounting, it’s a lot harder to level that sort of accusation.
I think transparency would be a lot easier if people were able to contribute specific amounts to specific projects. The accounts could be placed online for all to see. It would create a real sense of involvement in policy decisions: one could contribute ‘taxes’ to whatever aspect of the country one feels most valuable. Some people will want to put a lot of cash into the police or army because they’re scared of them muslims. Some people will want to contribute towards public education because the children are the future. Etc etc.
What does that have to do with anything? The system I’m proposing would allow the plebs to enfranchise (is that a word?) themselves in all sorts of ways. If the tax system allows non-monetary contributions, people with time on their hands could contribute manpower, perhaps from home, and receive appropriate ‘thank you for your service’ perks in return. People on a low income could contribute 100% of their (small) tax contribution to education, ensuring low-income kids won’t be as low income as they themselves are now.
What I mean is, the super-rich already blackmail governments that talk about raising taxes. They threaten to move abroad, taking their taxability (and sometimes jobs) with them.
If you don’t like what the government is doing, and all taxation is voluntary, you can just blackmail/bribe the government by threatening to decrease your contributions (even to zero) and/or offering to increase them, as long as the government does what you want.
Would that not legitimize bribery and make elections basically irrelevant because political power would flow from the wallet (more so than it already does)? How would you exercise political power beyond what your liquid assets allow?
One person one vote has its flaws, for sure. But how does one dollar one vote bring unicorns back from extinction?
I’m having a hard time wondering how this would work. We talk about the complaint against taxation without representation – if we weren’t taxed, does it mean we don’t have stakes in the representation part? Ha, I don’t know, but it just seems like you’d be hard put to get voluntary support, it would mostly be from the rich class, who mostly contribute to charities anyhow.
On the other hand, the tax burden usually comes out about 84% of the tax coming from the top 20% contributing. Not sure you can get that many contributors from that class though.
You run into special trouble when dealing with socialism, retirement, medical, etc, because those funds are really fungible. They don’t divvy it up so neatly as the labels appear. They receive all their tax monies from all the sources, then they pay for everything.
So you might get distressed if you lay up money for your social-security retirement in 30 or whatever years and find out it’s actually being used for military action somewhere right now.