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Article posted Mar 20 2014, 12:39 PM Category: Commentary Source: Print

Pay Taxes or Go Directly to Jail

Christiaan Elderhorst

It's been more than a month since Toine Manders, tax consultant and former leader of the Dutch Libertarian Party, was arrested and jailed for protecting his clients from theft.  Less than a week away from his son's first birthday Toine is still held prisoner and his custody has been extended for an additional 90 days. It seems impossible that someone would be arrested for avoiding theft. However, arrest is the natural consequence when you are up against government thieves who disguise their theft as taxation.

Toine Manders works at the Haags Juristen College (Hague Lawyers Board) and specializes in tax avoidance. Manders refers to tax avoidance as a moral duty. Tax revenue is used by the state to pay for war, prisons, the militarization of the police force and the regulatory agencies which constantly privilege big business. This moral duty is connected the Haags Juristen College's former business practice which was to help individuals avoid the military draft. Avoiding the draft and avoiding taxes are both ways by which personal contribution to state oppression and war is reduced. Calling this a moral duty is not a far-fetched idea.

Tax reduction is a promise often made by conservative and neo-liberal politicians. Acknowledging taxation as theft might very well place this editorial on that side of the political spectrum. However, opposing taxation altogether is not a right-wing sentiment. Through taxation big business uses the power of government to socialize the costs of running the state's operations. Additionally the state grants economic privilege to those very same corporations. When neo-liberal politicians argue for tax reduction they are merely saying that the current tax percentage is too high in relation to the economic privilege their corporate campaign contributors receive. Grant them more privilege and you won't hear them complain.

Those on the left claim that taxation is necessary to achieve economic justice and that taxation counterbalances the enormous wealth that is held by the rich and powerful. However it is the state that grants economic privilege to corporations and it is the state that insulates them from competition. At best taxation is a secondary intervention meant to rectify the economic privilege of corporations. The road to economic justice is not to increase the taxing power of the state but to strike at the root of the problem. Economic privilege should be abolished and taxation will falter and fall soon after.

Opposing taxation is not an excuse for big business. By opposing taxation we root for the entrepreneurs, small business owners, worker cooperatives and the self-employed. However "Taxation is theft" must be followed by, "and economic privilege is bribery" otherwise it is rendered meaningless to those who truly seek liberty.

Economic privilege should be dismantled. In the meantime tax avoidance and even tax evasion are tools by which we can lessen our personal contribution to the state's murder machine. Taxation is theft and if you don't pay up you go directly to  jail – do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Free Toine Manders!

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