"Taxation is voluntary because you signed a contract with your employer agreeing to tax withholding"

published Dec 19, 2011, last modified Jun 26, 2013

A common example of a retarded argument that pro-organized-crime statists make.

YouShallKnow from Reddit illuminates us with his "knowledge":

Before you participated in our economy, before you drew benefits from it in the form of wages, you understood that you'd be taxed. But you choose to take a job and earn wages despite the foreknowledge that you'd be taxed.


And to answer your subtly misguided sock-store analogy, yes, if the person understood that they'd be robbed if they chose to go into a particular store, and made that decision anyway, yes, they'd be consenting to being robbed. Particularly if they were not forced to enter the store in the first place

Here, he is making the argument that, because Person X got a job, he implicitly or explicitly agreed to be taxed on his wages.  That, supposedly, makes "taxation voluntary".

Of course, if YouShallKnow was consistent with his beliefs, he'd be going around the world, spreading the gospel that rape victims "consented" to being raped by going into the clubs where they were raped.

But that's not what I want to focus on right now.  What I want to focus on, is this: "your job contract specifies tax withholding" is a retarded argument to make in favor of the false conclusion "taxation is voluntary".  I am going to disprove it by pointing out a single, observable fact.

This "argument" falsely frames the job contract as if the tax withholding clause was voluntary -- in other words, as if the employer had a choice whether to withhold taxes or not.  Of course, the employer doesn't have a choice -- if he resists the order to withhold taxes on his employees, he is put in a cage. He is forced to withhold taxes because of a violent threat against him.

So, contrary to YouShallKnow's claims, there is a violent, aggressive threat used to enforce taxation.  Only it's directed at the employer rather than at the employee.  This fact completely disproves the erroneous conclusion "taxation is voluntary".  Which (at the risk of sounding pedantic) leaves us with the only other alternative: taxes are, indeed, collected through threats of aggressive violence, thus taxation is not voluntary. 

Now, I'll say this in "defense" of withholding tax: it is one of the great "innovations" in the "business" of tax farming.

See, by threatening business owners with violence to get them to withhold taxes:

  • People doing business as "government" don't have to spend so much money threatening every person.
  • Furthermore, since business owners have much more to lose, and they are already threatened to disclose way more information than employees are, this organized robbery tactic is far more effective than going after each person.  Why threaten a hundred million people to get a thousand bucks from each, when you can threaten a thousand people to get a hundred million from each?
  • And, of course, withholding tax hides the threats used to collect it.  To me, that's the single most important effect of withholding tax vis a vis collecting taxes directly.  When the violence is focused on a small group of people rather than on everyone at large, people perceive it less, which makes people complain less.  Thus, withholding tax makes it easier to convince useful idiots like YouShallKnow of the lie "taxation is voluntary"; after all, since they are not the direct targets of the threat, and their limited intellects only consider their most immediate relationships, it's a given that their interactions will erroneously appear "voluntary" and "peaceful" to them.

Of course, threatening business owners to get them to make their employees sign self-incriminating papers, does not change the moral nature of the threat.

To recap: when it comes to interactions with the state, there's always a gun in the room; for every interaction being exposed for what it truly is -- violent, aggressive and immoral -- there's always a statist who is willing to pretend the gun is a banana, at the cost of their very own sanity.