Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Libertarian" Gary Johnson Wants to Eliminate the Income Tax and Replace It With a More Aggressive Tax

"If I could wave a magic wand, we would eliminate income tax; we would eliminate corporate tax; we would abolish the IRS; and we could replace all of it with one federal consumption tax,” Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson said in an interview with The Hill.

This is a completely evil proposal from a libertarian perspective.

As Murray Rothbard observed:
The consumption tax...can only be regarded as a payment for permission-to-live. It implies that a man will not be allowed to advance or even sustain his own life unless he pays, off the top, a fee to the State for permission to do so. The consumption tax does not strike me, in its philosophical implications, as one whit more noble, or less presumptuous, than the income tax.

Further, Johnson likely means the horrific VAT when he talks  "consumption" tax.

Johnson is simply an opportunist. Rothbard wrote many years ago when discussing libertarian strategy:
In the name of practicality, the opportunist not only loses any
chance of advancing others toward the ultimate goal, but he himself
gradually loses sight of that goal—as happens with any “sellout” of
principle. Thus, suppose that one is writing about taxation. It is not
incumbent on the libertarian to always proclaim his full “anarchist”
position in whatever he writes; but it is incumbent upon him in no
way to praise taxation or condone it; he should simply leave this
perhaps glaring vacuum, and wait for the eager reader to begin to
question and perhaps come to you for further enlightenment. But
if the libertarian says, “Of course, some taxes must be levied,” or
something of the sort, he has betrayed the cause.
Bottom line: No self-respecting  true libertarian would ever advocate any form of consumption tax.


(ht Heath)


  1. I agree, but I think if I was forced to pick one or the other, I'd rather have a flat sales tax than an income tax. It's harder to avoid, harder to scam, doesn't require mountains of administrative overhead, eliminates the tax code, eliminates capital gains and taxes on investments, it's just a better all around way to steal from people.

    1. Good points, and even better, the tyranny of a consumption tax is much more naked than that of an income tax: permission-to-live rather than permission-to-get-richer. But that alone makes a consumption tax politically awkward as a replacement for income tax.

    2. The income tax places a claim on what every person produces. It is ownership of a portion or all of a person's productivity. A consumption tax doesn't do that. A consumption tax is just a tax, a tribute, something collected with threat of violence but it is no way an ownership claim on a person the way an income tax is. I believe this to be one of the reasons income taxes are desirable despite their faults wrt efficient theft.

    3. To take a Walter Block-like argument, eliminating income tax and keeping sales tax is like eliminating the baseball bat, but keeping the cane for a beating.

  2. The VAT tax would be highly regressive and very aggressive indeed. However, it has at least the less-evil effect of not punishing savers and investors, IF one trusts that Congress will eliminate the income tax and the corporate tax, something I seriously doubt.

    But let's not beat around the bush and argue fairly here. Is Johnson's proposal really more onerous than endless wars and endless deficits (from HillRod) or economic 'nationalism' which easily translates to Fascism (from El Trumpo)? Because El Trumpo seems fickle on taxes, just like the winds of May.

    I don't agree with many of Johnson's policy positions because they seem to be tailored to look less 'radical' in the eyes of moderates who think libertarians are Republicans who want to smoke pot, but right now he sounds rational compared to the criminally insane HillRod or the power-lusting El Trumpo - who is also insane.

  3. What libertarian in his right mind would want any funding for the federal government? I don't get why anyone is compelled to offer fixes for the government's revenue problems.

    Ron Paul is the only one with a serious solution: Abolish the income tax and replace the income tax with nothing.

    An interesting read: Franklin Sanders' fight over the income tax: http://the-moneychanger.com/answers/the_most_dangerous_man_in_the_mid_south

  4. By what mechanism does the true libertarian fund government?p

    1. Probably won't be a big deal how because government would be so small that no one would care much. Also, there'll be a lot more wealth because government will be tiny.

  5. It's clear that Johnson is not even close to being a libertarian. Ron Paul was so much better:

    "I want to abolish the income tax, but I don’t want to replace it with anything."

  6. I highly doubt he's talking about the Vat tax... I am sure he is referring to something like the "Fairtax" www.fairtax.org system that would replace our current tax system.

    Also, as someone who pays the income tax.. IT sucks. I'd accept a federal sales tax any day of the week because it's 100X better. At last I could choose when I got screwed, as opposed to getting screwed by government everytime I work harder. I've been paying more attention to all my Overtime.. the more overtime I get, the more I get taxed.. it's crazy.

    You get everyone in the same boat, paying Consumption taxes, where its' transparent and easy to see the cost of government, like some suggested above, and I guarantee change for the better will happen a lot sooner, rather than later.