Monday, March 18, 2013

Whose Money is it, Anyway?

This letter appeared in the NJ Star-Ledger on 12/7/12:

Close the loopholes
Every year, America loses up to $150 billion to offshore tax havens — enough revenue to provide Pell grants to 10 million students for four years of college, to more than cover the Sandy reconstruction effort, even to build a manned outpost on the moon.
A large part of this revenue is lost due to corporate tax loopholes that allow many of America’s largest companies to stash money earned in the United States in overseas tax havens to avoid paying taxes. It’s time for the public to stop picking up the tab left by corporate tax dodgers. These big companies benefit from our educated workforce, infrastructure and security, yet get away scot-free. New Jerseyans should not have to make up for this lost revenue through cuts to public services, more debt or higher taxes.
Gianina Cattaneo, New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, Trenton

Note the term "loophole" to denote a perfectly moral effort to manage one's own money wisely by legally avoiding unnecessary taxes. Objective Standard Editor Craig Biddle had this to say about the use of the term "loophole": 

To what facts of reality does the word “loophole” refer as used by the media in this context? It denotes various means by which people are still free to act on their own judgment; it specifies aspects of life in which individual rights are not yet being thoroughly violated by the government. In other words, it names a wonderful yet rapidly diminishing thing called freedom—which users of the term “loophole” seek to smear as corrupt.

I've left the following comments:
RE: Close Those Loopholes
America doesn't "lose up to $150 billion," because it doesn't own that wealth to begin with. That money--and all money--rightfully belongs to the people who earned it. America is not a tribal society that owns all wealth. America is an enlightened country founded on the rights of the individual, which includes the right to keep, invest, and spend one's own money as one sees fit. Therefor, it is not a "loophole" when people can keep more of the money they earn.
The real loophole is the one that empowers government to confiscate and redistribute so much of our earnings, which is contrary to American principles of inalienable individual rights, which includes each individual's right to his own property. The government's only proper purpose is to secure those rights--which people should properly pay for--not to run other "public services" like social welfare, education, or infrastructure.
It is through the inverted morality of altruism that anyone can justify the first paragraph of this letter. Altruism holds that keeping what one earns is immoral, but seizing and/or receiving the unearned is moral. The glorification of the unearned is what leads to such a statement that calls for seizing $150 billion more of Americans' earnings to fund other people's schemes like Pell grants, disaster reconstruction, and moon outposts. Rather than force other taxpayers to "make up for this lost revenue," anyone truly interested in the "public interest"--which rationally means respecting the rights of the individual--should call for those programs to be privatized and funded through voluntary giving and investments, thus restoring to all taxpayers more freedom to control their own money through lower taxes without having to resort to offshore tax havens. 

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