Monday, December 10, 2012

McMaken and Ostrowski on "Libertarians" for Tax Increases

Ryan McMaken writes:
Rothbard famously asked "Do you hate the state?" when attempting to come up with a standard which might be used to determine whether or not one has the proper philosophical starting point in approaching the state. If one's "libertarianism" is about making states more efficient, or "better" (if by "better" one means something other than "smaller" or "weaker") then one is likely not a libertarian. At least philosophically.
So now let's come up with a practical policy-based standard for determining is one is or is not a libertarian. I would submit that anyone who is in favor of raising taxes or increasing government revenue in any way is not a libertarian. Justin Amash's recent comment that raising taxes or increasing government revenues is all something he could be convinced to support, is absolutely un-libertarian. Raising taxes is not "Fabianism in reverse" or libertarian incrementalism at all. It is, purely and simply, making the government larger and stronger. Giving more resources to the government, even without actually raising tax rates themselves, is making government bigger. This is not a complicated argument.
"Starve the Beast" used to a position of mainline conservatives who didn't even pretend to be libertarian. Justin Amash can't even live up the professed standards of 1980s Republicans. I'm not sure if Amash has ever actually claimed to be a libertarian, but he's not even a "conservative" by the standards of that movement as used in the 1960s and 1970s.Nevertheless, many insist on calling Amash a libertarian, and now, for this "libertarian," tax increases are "on the table." This is "Fabianism in reverse" in reverse.
 Jim Ostrowski backs him up:
I agree with Ryan's post and I cringe whenever I hear one of our alleged allies talk of increasing government revenue. Looking at it strategically, as I did in my LRC bestseller Direct Citizen Action, it is critical to shrink government revenue, not only to maximize liberty but to starve the beast of the funds they need to continue to dominate us. Increased government revenue means increased enforcement of imaginary crime laws, more illegal foreign wars, more killing of strangers in strange lands with whom we have no grievances. Increased revenue means the government can create more clients dependent on various forms of welfare and thus whose votes are purchased fair and square. Finally, a certain percentage of government revenue is recycled and used by the political class directly to maintain power. These funds include political donations kicked back from contractors and employees and the employment of patronage workers whose only real "job" is to spew propaganda and work on campaigns during their generous leave and vacation time. Libertarians must oppose each and every measure that increases government revenue.

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