The Instigator
Fox-McCloud
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
Feelinsofly
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Income Taxation Is Not Theft

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Fox-McCloud
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/3/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,032 times Debate No: 45135
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (20)
Votes (4)

 

Fox-McCloud

Pro

Resolution

Income Taxation Is Not Theft

The one-liner: ‘Taxation is theft’, is a slogan many libertarians espouse.[1] I think however that this statement is fundamentally untrue. In this debate I want to focus especially on the income taxation. I want to emphasize that I do not dispute the fact that taxation can be theft, but it is the claim that taxation is theft I reject. For this debate we will use the USA as country of reference. Please, refrain from semantics in this debate.

Definitions

Income Tax: A tax levied on incomes, especially an annual government tax on personal incomes.[2]

Theft: A criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person's consent.[3]

Burden of proof

The burden of proof will be on me. Pro has to argue that there is more reason to believe that taxation is not theft than that there is equal or more reason to believe that taxation is indeed theft.

Argumentation

R1: Acceptance.

R2: Opening arguments.

R3: Furthering arguments, rebuttals.

R4: Closing statements. No new arguments allowed.

Sources:

[1] http://www.libertarian.co.uk...

[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...

[3] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...

Feelinsofly

Con

I accept this challenge, and look forward to my opponent's arguments. However, I would like to submit an alternative definition of theft [1] because the current definition uses the term "criminal" which is defined as breaking a law or being unlawful [2]. Theft can easily be lawful, as my opponent pointed out in his statement "taxation can be theft,"and therefore that definition should not be used.

Instead, I propose to use Merriam-Webster's definition, in which felonious means very evil [3]:

"the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it"

This easily fits the terms of our debate, and will provide grounds for logical discussion.

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...

2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...

3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Fox-McCloud

Pro

Introduction:

Let me begin by thanking my esteemed opponent for his participation in this debate. I am looking forward to a stimulating and provocative exchange.

It seems that underneath the postulation that income taxation is theft lies an intuitive, nonexplicit presupposition that we earn our money without any help of the government. And that the government, consequently bears the burden of justification. It is this hidden lethal assumption I want to challenge.

Argumentation:

I admit that the intuitive advantage probably lies with my opponent. Taxes, especially income taxes, may be viewed as prima facie unjust. Indeed when we earn money from our work, a contribution or some other kind of effort, we subsequently, almost automatically assume that we deserve and are entitled to that money. This is a widely and often implicitly held view. If then a portion of ‘our’ money is taken away by the government, this might feel unfair, or even like a crime to us. However I submit that this view is completely mistaken.

When it comes to income tax, the government imposes levy on the pretax earnings of citizens. When we carefully examine who owns the pretax dollars, we will discover that our pretax dollars do in fact not belong to us, but instead rightfully belongs to the government. Recall the definition of ‘theft’ my opponent suggested in Round 1. In order for taxation to be theft it must concern that one is the rightful owner of the property being stolen. Since the ownership of pretax income lies with the government it cannot be regarded as theft when one retakes what is originally his. Therefore we can conclude that income taxation fails to qualify as theft. Allow me to further elaborate on why this is the case.

C1: We have no legal property rights to our pretax income

In its very definition ‘theft’ relies on the legal system that defines it. In order for theft to occur, the taking must be unlawful by definition. Legal property only exists by the acknowledgement of the society and enforcement by the law. Legal property right is purely a social construction, in no way reflected in reality. If one lawfully takes, it cannot be theft by definition! Thus my opponent is wrong by claiming that theft can be lawful. The postulation that income taxation is theft further implies that we have a legal property right to pretax income, however this is not the case. Property rights do not precede the law but follow from the law and this law includes income taxation. We do not have the legal right to our pretax dollars, because we are legally obliged by the law to pay tax on our incomes. Under this theory income taxation clearly is not theft, for it leads to a direct contradiction.

C2: We have no moral property rights to our pretax income

The USA makes use of the dollar as legal tender, authorized by the government. It is a paper currency without inherent worth. This currency is created and distributed by the government and by extension owns it.[4] In the absence of government, we would not have our current money system. And without our money system our income would be nonexistent. Therefore we are not naturally entitled to our pretax income. Our income depends on a government that delivers a system, including public goods and services, infrastructure, security, education and indeed our contemporary currency. This is not the natural state of affairs, the government sustains this system through taxes. The value of the currency is solely dependent on the bigger framework it operates in and relies on. The government, as the creator and thus rightful owner of the fiat currency, sets the terms and conditions, which entails income taxation. It follows logically that pretax income is not our rightful moral property. The initial appropriation would be immoral if we fail to fulfill our duty. Thus when our income is taxed, theft cannot occur, because what is being taken does not belong to us in the first place![5]

By analogy, imagine I have an old bicycle which I can sell for a good price at the local bike shop. Unfortunately I do not have enough time to do it myself, but since you have to go to there anyway, I make you a deal. Of course, since I am the moral owner of the bicycle, I can set the terms and condition of the deal, which you then can take or leave. I ask you to deliver the bicycle for me and as reward I let you keep 60 percent of the profits. You accept the deal and successfully sell the bicycle for 100 bucks. Although you now hold the 100 dollars in your pocket, of 40 dollars you are not the rightful owner. When you decide not to return me my part, you break the arrangement. The original acquisition of the 40 dollars would then be immoral, thus not your rightful moral property and therefore still belongs to me. When I then take back the 40 dollars it cannot qualify as theft, because it is mine to begin with.

To postulate that one has a moral right to one’s pretax income further implies that the market based distribution is presumptively perfectly just. It presupposes that the market exactly yields what one deserves. However, this is highly implausible. Whatever the market happens to throw up by its economic structure is not morally deserved, because the market is not intrinsically just, but rather amoral. We cannot derive our moral property rights by the mechanism of the market. We are thereby unjustified to claim a moral right to pretax income, produced by the whims of the market.[6]

C3: Taxation is not without consent

When one chooses to participate in the system, by using the currency delivered by the government, one implicitly enters into a social contract which includes income taxation as well. Earning one’s money necessary concurs with accepting the income taxation, by making use of the currency and (probably) by using other benefits of the system and public goods. You agreed to the terms and conditions by participating in the system through which you acquired your money.

For example, imagine your bicycle is broken. You go out to a bicycle repair shop and have your bike fixed. Once your bicycle is repaired the bill is presented. You go out on a limb shouting ‘I did not sign no stinking contract’, because you never explicit stated that you were agreeing to pay for the reparation. However by making use of the services the repair shop offered you consented to the social contract, it is implicated by your choice to sit down and make use of its services.

If one does not uphold his side of the contract, his income is immoral acquired property, thus has no moral rights to his pretax earnings. You are not entitled to your pretax income if you fail to bear your burden. Thus when the arrangement is violated by failing to uphold one’s side of the contract, the government is morally justified in taking back what is originally his. This cannot account as theft.

One may also argue that taxation is a form of coercion, because one has no other choice to his disposal other than paying taxes and is forced to do so, against their will. However, this is not true because emigration is not forbidden. It can also be argued that taxation is nonvoluntary and one has no say in the matter. This is not true as well. Taxation is established through democratic consent. Moreover, this does not make it wrongful. Imagine for example that you are raised and live in a rented apartment, paid by your parents. They now decide to stop paying for you. What you can do now is pay the rent or leave the house. The fact that you never explicit signed the contract and was born under these circumstances is not a valid excuse.

Conclusion:

I stand in firm affirmation of the resolution. I eagerly await my opponent’s response.

Sources:

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[5] http://books.google.nl...

[6]http://books.google.nl...

Feelinsofly

Con

First, I would like to thank my opponent for offering this debate challenge. It is often more difficult to take the position of PRO, and I applaud my opponent for putting forth this resolution. That being said, I look forward to an engaging debate. Ex Mutatio Victoria.

Now, I will expose the fallacies presented by my opponent.

C1: We have no legal property rights to our pretax income

My opponent's entire first argument can be summed up with the statement “Property rights do not precede the law but follow from the law and this law includes income taxation.”

My opponent is assuming that all rights, including property rights, which is an idea, came after laws were passed declaring them so. Therefore, applying the principle of “I got here first, therefore it’s mine,” my opponent claims the government owns all property, and by extension our rights, and is merely licensing it/them to us. Not only does this defy the second pargraph of the founding document of the nation, the Declaration of Independence [1], this clearly defies logic.

Laws do not fall out of the sky, or magically appear in a book. They require action by a human to exist. All human actions start with a thought, or idea. Therefore, it is logically impossible for the law expressing and enforcing the idea of property rights to be written before the idea. It is impossible for a government formed to protect our rights to come before those rights.

My opponent argued that because the law came before the idea, the entity that created the law, government, can lay claim to property rights on pretax income. Since the scenario is the opposite, in that the idea, and the people who created it, came before the law, my opponent must accept that people have legal property rights to pretax income. This removes one pillar of their argument.

C2: We have no moral property rights to our pretax income

The U.S. dollar is not created or distributed by the government, and it does not own the currency [2].

Since the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 [3], the U.S. government has borrowed from a private bank, the Federal Reserve, and promising to pay that money back with interest. Though this is an aside, it demonstrates that my opponent does not understand the American monetary system on which this debate rests. This will be evident as their arguments continue.

My opponent claims that without our current monetary system, American incomes would be nonexistent. This is incorrect. Income is anything, whether currency, coin, barter, or other compensation for services provided, not just currency. [4] In fact, all of these are taxed as income by the Internal Revenue Service. [5] Many of these would still be in existence long after the failure or removal of the U.S. dollar and the U.S. government (you don't need the government to trade a Xbox for a TV).

My opponent further claims that our income depends on government services. As I alluded to above, were government services to disappear it would not prevent people from gaining income. Even if one were to argue that our government assists us in gaining income, morally we could only pay for the exact amount of services offered, and if we did not use a service, we would not be obligated to pay for it.

Imagine you are taking a taxi to downtown NYC. When you get into the taxi, you agree to pay a certain amount per mile for the service of the taxi driver. When you reach your destination, you pay the driver. However, in the building you enter as a result of that taxi ride, you strike a deal worth $1 million. The next day, you get a call from that cab driver claiming you owe him half of that money for the service of taking you there. You refuse, and he takes you to court to get “his share” of the profits. He is followed up by the man who delivered your pizza that afternoon, arguing that the food helped you achieve the deal, your doctor, dentist, grandmother, former job trainer, and college professor all arguing that since they helped you in some way, you are legally obligated to pay each of them a cut. You are very grateful to them for their help, and note that you have already paid them for their services to you, but you need this money to pay for your sister’s leukemia treatment. You are then thrown in prison as a tax resister.

Absurd, right?

It’s just as absurd as the government demanding some of your income they may have helped you in some way achieve, instead of for the services they render to you. My opponent is arguing that the above scenario is morally okay, just replace the individuals with individuals in government.

But even still, the government has no right to your income, since it did not create it.

National money flow goes as such:

The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States (FED) creates and distributes money to several regional FED banks and loans money to the Federal government with stipulations.

These regional FED banks distribute this money to other, non-FED, private banks with stipulations.

These private banks loan money to private individuals with stipulations.

[6]

The bicycle example my opponent stated applies to all of the above steps in the American money creation system. However, because the government did not create the currency, it has absolutely zero right to any of the currency or income.

My opponent then states "To postulate that one has a moral right to one’s pretax income further implies that the market based distribution is presumptively perfectly just." Since my opponent's argument by extension is a person does indeed have a moral right to after tax income, this would mean my opponent believes government is presumptively perfectly just. Since neither myself nor my opponent, I presume, believe government is wholly just, this argument should be entirely discarded.

The flaws highlighted above take care of pillar number two.

C3: Taxation is not without consent

In order to see the flaw in my opponent’s first assertion, we will rephrase their statement:

Slavery is not without consent.

When one is born into a human slavery system, by using the food, clothing and housing delivered by the slave master, one implicitly enters into a social contract which includes slavery.You agreed to the terms and conditions by participating in the system by being born into it.

If it seems extreme that I would put this in such a position, know it is necessary to follow the logic of their argument in order to expose the flaws in it. If implied consent can mean taxation, it can mean any kind of taxation. If implied consent means whenever the government, or a large group of people, puts forth a stipulation, your consent is automatically assumed, it would lead to extreme oppression, abuse, and, eventually, slavery.

To put it in perspective, what if implied consent were applied to sexual assault?

You cannot morally be forced to honor a contract you never entered into, whether verbally or written.

Thus, the government is stealing, immorally, the property of another and forcing its citizens to honor a contract they never entered into.

Finally, my opponent makes a haphazard, confused, argument that taxation is not coercion based on two points.

1. Taxation is not coercion because you can always leave.

Coercion is defined as making someone do something using force or threats. It has nothing to do with whether or not you can leave. If a woman is coerced into sex by her boyfriend, she has the possibility of leaving that relationship, but no sane person would say that because she stayed he had justification to rape her.

2. Taxation is not coercion because society has a say in the matter.

If 51% of people agree with massacre, does that mean massacre is now somehow moral?

Does it mean that those massacre victims should accept their social contract of death, as it has been democratically selected?

Of course not. Simply because others disagree you have rights, does not eliminate their existence.

This eliminates pillar number three.

I strongly urge a vote in the negative.

Sources: http://pastebin.com...

Debate Round No. 2
Fox-McCloud

Pro


Introduction:


I want to thank my esteemed opponent for offering such an interesting case. However, I think it is flawed nonetheless, as I am about to show you. I will now systematically go through my opponent’s case and refute his argument in a clear and concise manner.


Argumentation:


C1: We have no legal property rights to our pretax income


It seems my opponent has happily misunderstood my entire argument. My opponent argues that we have a legal property right to our pretax income. This cannot be true. We are legally obliged by the law to pay taxes.[7][8][9] Therefore, we have no legal property right to our pretax income.[9] This is a simple analytic truth. To argue otherwise is logically absurd!


C2: We have no moral property rights to our pretax income


My opponent claims that the government does not create nor distribute, and by extension owns, the currency. However, after careful examination, it soon becomes clear that even his own sources do not support his assertions.[10] The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States (FED) does not create the U.S. currency. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and the U.S. Mint produces our nation’s paper currency and mints. Both the BEP and the U.S. Mint are part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which in turn is a department of the U.S. Federal Government.[11][12] They then put the bank notes and coins into the distribution circulation, of which the FED is a part of. My opponent further backs up his mistaken account of the monetary system by using a conspiracy theory video called ‘The Biggest Scam in the History’, I do not find this source particularly reliable.


My opponent further argues that one is not obliged to pay for the services that one does not use. I think this is simply wrong. By delivering the public goods and services, the government is justified in setting the conditions. Taxation is a part of these conditions and by your participation in the system you agree to its conditions. The government is like a casino here, hosting a poker tournament. The house sets the conditions and charges the players at a fixed percentage of their chips. Participating in the tournament means agreeing to its conditions. Until and unless one pays the casino’s charge, one is not entitled to his chips.[13]


Furthermore, because of the cohesive nature of the system, you will benefit from the public goods even if you do not use them directly. Take for example the road network. You might not drive a car yourself, but it reduces transportation costs and hence the prices of products you buy. Or take police services, one will always benefit from reduced crime. Another point is that some services do not allow for the possibility to opt out; once the national defense is provided, all people are defended. Not paying for these benefits would qualify as theft.[14] Let me draw a parallel, imagine you are member of a bicycle club. To make use of the benefits and facilities of the club you have to pay a members fee. You accept and join the club, but after a while you discover that you like some services better than others. You make use of the race bikes and mountain bikes, however you do not use the BMX bikes and Tandems. You want to pay tuition only for the services you use, however for practical reasons the club does not offer the option that you only pay for the services that you use. Because the club owns the bicycles they set the conditions, not you.


My opponent further commits the argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy. I never made a claim about the posttax income. I left open what the best structure of the tax scheme is, because it is irrelevant to this debate. But whatever the answer may be, it does not validate the thesis that the pretax distribution of the market is just. I have argued that the distribution of the market is morally arbitrary and therefore has no moral significance. Thus the claim that there are moral property rights antecedent to pretax income is left unsupported.[15]


C3: Taxation is not without consent


My opponent compares taxation with slavery. This is merely a rhetorical trick, as no rights are violated under taxation. However, I would like to point out a rather essential difference: you can choose terminate the contract whenever you like, as a slave you cannot choose to opt out. A slave is someone who is legally owned by another person and is forced to work for that person without pay.[16] The government does not own you, you are not forced to work, you get paid and you are allowed to leave. I think it is more appropriate to refer to participants in the current monetary system as customers. If you think you have no choices, you have enslaved yourself.


My opponent’s analogies do not correspondent with the situation of taxation — his analogies are nonparallel to the question at hand. Ultimately you decide whether you participate and thereby agree to the conditions, since your participation in the system is not forced; you are offered the alternative to relocate, again emigration is not forbidden. My opponent speaks as though he has a moral entitlement to the advantages of this society, e.g. public goods and services, built on taxation. This is not true, just like the rapist has no entitlement to the woman. The government however ís entitled to your pretax income. Again, imagine yourself in the bicycle repair shop. Like before you want to have your bike fixed. However you find the price absurd high and he even wants to make profit by charging more than the exact amount of service offered! It would be ridiculous if you then accuse the repairman of coercion or demand from him the choice of another shop, equally in quality.


Recall the definition of theft; for theft to occur it has to be wrongful. The government works in peoples best interests, determined through elections. Ultimately, the legitimacy is based on democratic decision-making. This is justified with a moral theory like Utilitarian Consequentialism. If my opponent claims this is immoral, it seems to me that this puts the burden on him to proof that some kind of objective moral theory is true. Considering it is moral for the government to set the conditions, the government is morally justified to enforce these conditions. For example, when one does not pay his rent, the owner is morally justified in enforcing his property right.


Conclusion:


Recall from earlier that in order for taxation to be theft, it must concern that one is the rightful owner of the property being stolen. Firstly, I have argued that we do not have legal as well as moral property rights to our pretax income. The government creates the US fiat currency and by extension owns it and may set the conditions and terms. Therefore, theft cannot occur in the case of taxation, because what is being taken does not belong to us in the first place. Under moral acquisition theory, what is immorally acquired is not rightfully owned by one. In order to negate the resolution, my opponent has to show that we, in fact, do have a property right to our pretax income — he failed to do so. Secondly, I have argued that if one willfully participates in the system, he agrees to the conditions set forth by the system. If one claims not to consent, one cannot justify his participation in the system.


Income taxation is not theft.


Affirmed


Sources:


[7] http://www.ourdocuments.gov...


[8] http://www.sba.gov...


[9] http://www.law.cornell.edu...


[10] http://www.richmondfed.org...


[11] http://moneyfactory.gov...


[12] http://www.usmint.gov...


[13] http://www.wenar.info...


[14]http://archipielagolibertad.org...(coment).pdf


[15] http://www.law.nyu.edu...


[16] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Feelinsofly

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for providing a sincerely challenging debate as well. I wish my opponent luck in the final rounds.

C1: We have no legal property rights to our pretax income.

So often, it seems, debaters will resort to adjectives to decribe an opponent's actions, such as "happily misunderstod," which we will see many times in my opponent's rebuttal. I ask the voters to discard these assertions, as my opponent provides no specific evicence to back them up.

Firstly, it is important to expose some rhetorical tricks here. My opponent titles his argument that we do not have "legal" property rights to our pretax income. Their 2nd argument focuses on two angles. 1. For something not to be rightful, it has to break a law. 2. We have no property rights to our pretax income.

1. Merriam Webster's Dictionary, one I have been continually sourcing without challenge from my opponent, defines rightful as "proper or appropriate" [1]. This has much more to do with morality than breaking a law. Therefore, my opponent must prove that taxation is not only legal, but also moral.

2. My opponent argues that we have no property rights to our income. They argue: If we have laws allowing for taxation, we have no right to pretax income. Therefore, since laws came before the right, the government owns our pretax income. This argument requires that the idea come after the law. This is not only impossible, as I pointed out above, but according the Founding documents of the United States, our rights come before the law.

The Founders of the United States created a government which would exist primarily to defend the rights, including property rights, as I outlined earlier, of the people within its jurisdiction. Further, were the government to become abusive to these ends, it was the right of the people to alter or abolish it. This clearly asserts that the rights of the people are above government. If they were not, it would be government that could abolish its people.

Now that it is established that the number one purpose of government, and the purpose of U.S. law, is to secure our rights, including the right to property, it is clear that the government has no right to our pretax income. Instead, it was formed to protect our right to keep that income.

The idea always come before the law. That idea, in America, is that you have property rights to your pretax income.

Since their only argument that taxes are immoral is incorrect, as it requires the logical impossibility that ideas come before law, they fail to assert that income tax is not theft. If my opponent successfully argues that we have nolegal property rights to our pretax income, they still fail to prove income taxation is not theft. My opponent recognized this, and thus tried to argue that property rights themselves were theft, of which they were unsuccessful.

On this point alone, CON is successful. I urge a vote in the negative.

C2: We have no moral property rights to our pretax income

M opponent again argues that the U.S.government creates, distributes, and by extension owns the currency. Contrary to thei assertion that I agreed the government "owns" the currency, I argued the opposite.

My opponent claims that my own sources invalidate my claim that the Federal Reserve creates and distributes the currency. However, if one looks past the introductory paragraph, they will find that my opponent has confused U.S. notes, printed by the Department of the Treasury until 1913, and today's currency [2]"

The Federal reserve pays the BEP to print the money, but just as we consider a Nikon camera "created" by the camera company, regardless of who put their hands to the raw material, the Federal reserve creates the currency. The only job of the BEP is to print the paper.

Even if one might argue that the BEP does more than print the paper, it is impossible to accurately argue that the Federal reserve does not own the currency.

Federal reserve notes comprise more than 99% of all currency in circulation today. The notes are distributed by the Federal Reserve [3].The notes are called "Federal Reserve Notes," specifying ownership. Further, if any of the notes need to be returned, destroyed, and verified, they are not sent to the BEP, but the Federal Reserve, again showing ownership [4].

Conclusion: the Federal Reserve Bank, a private bank, owns the currency and therefore the U.S. Government has no right to it. Further, everything in the video described by my opponent as "conspiracy theory" (a completely subjective term, and designed to damaga an opponent's argument without providing a factual counter) is further proven by the website of the FED Board of Governors [5].

My opponent further argues that one is obliged to pay for services one does not use. Even though one does not use the services, my opponent argues, the government can set terms and conditions on persons it has not contracted with.

My opponent uses the example of a poker tournament hosted by a casino. The house sets the conditions. The players must oblige. If they do not, they lose chips.

I assert that A. The casino is providing a direct service to you, the opportunity to use casino chips, table, equipment and resources. B. You stand to benefit from it. and C. If you decide not to pay, the casino will only take what you have voluntarily agreed to play with. The government fits none of these conditions. A. My opponent just argued that the government can charge for a service you do will not use. B. You do not stand to benefit from services you do not use. C. If you decide not to pay income taxes, and use no services, the government will take things you did not willingly offer to gamble.

My opponent's further arguments in this section related to the cohesive nature of the system are already addressed by my example of a taxi-driver in Round #2.

I urge a vote in the Negative.

C3: Taxation is not without consent

Since I am running out of characters, my next countarguments will be shorter.

My opponent's final arguments are also incorrect.

1. Slavery does not require that you cannot physically leave [6]. Slavery merely requires legal ownership, work without pay, and force.

a. Legal ownership = We are legally obligated taxes in the United States, or we can be taken from our homes and thrown in a cage. We cannot leave the United State to avoid paying taxes. This is legal ownership.

b. Work without pay = The government does not compensate us directly for our taxation.

c. Force = We are required to work, and give our income recieved from that work, to the government.

Slavery is an accurate analogy.

Finally, my opponent asserts that government must work in the best interest of its people since it is democratically run. Thus, taxes s in the best interest of all and therefore consensual. The best interest of each person does not correspond to the best interest of each individual. The definition of "interest" relies on a singular person's opinion [7]. A government good for all cannot be in the best interest of each. That would be like assuming that since 51% of people agree that people should be jailed for having sex under the age of 21, it is in every person's best interest.

It is nonsensical.

To recap:

1. My opponent has not successfully proven that theft must only be illegal. Merriam-webster's dictionary proves that theory incorrect.

2. My opponent has not successfully proven that we do not have a moral right to pretax income. The founding documents of this country, with the definition of theft, disprove that.

3. My opponent, through their misunderstanding of the American monetary system, has unsucessfully tried to claim that the government owns U.S. currency.

4. Since the government does not own U.S. currency, my opponent has failed to assert they can morally take it back.

5. Income tax fulfills the three tenets of slavery.

6. The government has no moral, or "rightful," right to our pretax income.

Income tax is theft.

I urge a vote in the Negative.

Sources: http://pastebin.com...;.
Debate Round No. 3
Fox-McCloud

Pro

Introduction

I would like to thank Feelinsofly for this interesting debate! I have really enjoyed this stimulating and provocative interaction. To potential voters I ask discretion when evaluating this debate, considering the highly biased nature of the topic. In this last round, let me try to draw together some of the threads of this debate to see if we can come to any conclusions.

Closing Statements

C1: We have no legal property rights to our pretax income

My first contention that I said I would defend has gone unrefuted. Here my opponent confuses moral property rights (which I deal with in my second contention) with legal property rights. I argued that legal property rights do not precede the law but follow from the law and that ‘theft’ relies on the legal system that defines it.

Instead of arguing against these propositions, my opponent decides to focus on mostly straw mans.

“Since their only argument that taxes are immoral is incorrect, as it requires the logical impossibility that ideas come before law, they fail to assert that income tax is not theft.” and My opponent […] tried to argue that property rights themselves were theft”. These are propositions I have never put forth in this debate. But this can also be one of the examples of my opponents grammatical errors, which distort his intended meaning.

Furthermore, by asserting that the Declaration of Independence (DoI) is inherently opposed to taxation my opponent assumes that he has the right interpretation of DoI which make his point moot. The government begs to differ:

“The signers of the Declaration of Independence set out to establish a new form of government for the "protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". To this end, the framers of our constitution enumerated the proper fiscal functions of government as "to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States". Taxes are simply the preferred method for paying for these governmental functions.” [17]

Moreover, the DoI is a secondary authority, which legal position is much less certain than that of the Constitution. The Supreme Court has not considered it a part of the organic law of the country. [18] As I have proved earlier, the constitution fully acknowledges the government’s power to enforce taxation.

C2: We have no moral property rights to our pretax income

Firstly, I argued that the government creates and distributes the US fiat currency and by extension owns it. In Round 3 my opponent concedes that the government indeed creates and distributes the currency, however he still disputes my argument by making up his own definition of ‘creation’, backed up by a fallacious analogy. The USD is without inherent worth. The value of the fiat currency depends on the government by declaring it legal tender and is deriving from taxation. Thus, in his analogy Nikon would be parallel to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, not the FED.

My opponent further commits another straw man fallacy by claiming I confused the U.S. notes with the Federal Reserve Note, however I did not. As I have argued earlier, the FED is merely a link in the distribution chain. They are not able to set the conditions, nor change them. Thereafter, his objections are simply irrelevant. After the government creates the currency, they are legally and morally entitled to it. They then distribute the currency under some conditions, which entails income taxation. Everybody participating in de monetary system, including the FED, must accept these conditions, because unless this burden is met, the property is immorally acquired. Therefore one has no moral entitlement to his pretax income. As I have shown taxation to be morally justified, the government is justified in protecting this right. Thus income taxation is not theft.

Additionally, my opponent again creates a straw man. “The government can set terms and conditions on persons it has not contracted with.” I never made such a claim. By willfully participating in the system, you entered a social contract, which I have explained further in my bicycle analogies. My opponent then puts forth a self-defeating argument. He states that if he benefits from a service, taxation is justified. However as I argued, one benefits from the system as a whole, directly or indirectly, thus my opponent implicitly concedes taxation is justified. My opponent’s objections to my casino analogy are thus invalid, and have no impact on my argument whatsoever. His taxi analogy is invalid because the taxi driver’s condition was set after you consented, which is the opposite in the case of taxation. The source I referred to as being a ‘conspiracy theory’ is full of factual errors, contradicting my ‘.gov’ sources and is essentially nothing more than an advertisement, which totally undermines its reliability. [19]

Secondly, I argued that the distribution of the market is morally arbitrary and therefore has no moral significance. My opponent completely dropped this argument. Thus he concedes that there are no moral property rights antecedent to pretax income.

C3: Taxation is not without consent

On slavery, notice he commits the argumentum ad passiones fallacy by appealing to emotion trough semantic trickery, rather than valid logic. My opponent insists to equate taxation with slavery by simply restating his assertions from Round 2, which I refuted in Round 3. I have argued that one’s participation in the system is completely voluntary. My opponent claims that his participation is coerced, because he cannot avoid taxes by leaving the US, however this is simply untrue. Throughout the whole debate I have repeatedly argued that one can emigrate anytime he wants, thus one is not coerced to participate. Furthermore, one is not forced to work; he is offered the choice to live his life à la ‘Into the Wild’. Nobody would stop him if he chose to do so. I argued, nobody has a natural entitlement to the advantages of this society. I will not spend any more time on it. My opponent sure likes extreme examples, but he forgets his examples also have to apply to real life scenarios.

As to democracy, I argued that ultimately, the legitimacy is based on democratic decision-making. My opponent again knocks down a straw man by claiming I said every decision must benefit each individual. I never argued such a proposition. Instead, what I argued was that the government works in peoples best interests, determined through elections. Every citizen has an equal say in this process of determining which interest are most prevalent. My opponent argues that if the majority decides something he does not like it is therefore immoral, however he failed to meet the burden that I outlined in Round 3. Instead, my opponent simply insists it is ‘nonsense’. I submit this does not count as valid argumentation.

Conclusion

To recapitulate, I think I have successfully defended the proposition that there are no good reasons to think income taxation is theft, because we have no property rights to our pretax income, legally nor morally. My opponent was not able to refute my arguments. Furthermore, to successfully negate the resolution he had to show that one is indeed entitled to his pretax income. But my opponent did not establish any sound foundation to affirm this. He never actually offered us a clear argument why he thinks he is entitled to his pretax income. Lastly I argued that taxation is not without consent, because by willful participation in the system, one has to agree to its conditions, because one is not entitled to the benefits of the system. If one claims not to consent, one cannot justify his participation in the system.

I conclude that income taxation is not theft.

I urge a vote for Pro.

Affirmed

Sources

[17] http://www.treasury.gov...
[18] http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com...
[19] http://pragcap.com...

Feelinsofly

Con

Feelinsofly forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by GWL-CPA 3 years ago
GWL-CPA
I meant to check spelling and grammar a tie, but gave it to con in error. Not sure how do change that. Not sure it matters.
Posted by GWL-CPA 3 years ago
GWL-CPA
This is my pre RFD - Reasons for Voting Decision:

The whole idea that Federal taxation is a form of thievery is nonsense.

Benjamin Franklin wrote this letter to Robert Morris on December 25, 1783.

"The Remissness (negligent, careless, or slow in performing one"s duty) of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blamable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so....

All Property, indeed, except the Savage's temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents (inheritance), and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous (being more than is sufficient or required; excessive; possessing or spending more than enough or necessary; extravagant) to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it."

Anyway, the progressive tax system is the only fair system, and it is not stealing.
Posted by Feelinsofly 3 years ago
Feelinsofly
Fox:

My apologies. It appears that DDO added a space to the URL, for some reason. If you remove the space at the end, the paste will appear.

However, here is the paste of all sources for easy reference.

http://pastebin.com...
Posted by Fox-McCloud 3 years ago
Fox-McCloud
Feelinsofly, your sources are removed, would you please reupload them?
Posted by GWL-CPA 3 years ago
GWL-CPA
I have reported this moron WallStreetAtheist at least 5 times for having the "F_uck" word in is avatar, and "f_ucking" in his profile address.

I wonder when they are going to kick him off the site, what an immature punk!
Posted by Fox-McCloud 3 years ago
Fox-McCloud
Actually, no-knock raids are admittedly 'breaking and entering', because well... officers will enter a property by, most of the time, indeed breaking a door.

Military conscription surely can be slavery, however it is not. You are not owned, your children are not owned, you get paid and yes, you can opt out.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 3 years ago
Wallstreetatheist
In other news the draft is not military slavery and no-knock raids are not breaking and entering.
Posted by Fox-McCloud 3 years ago
Fox-McCloud
This should do. Again, sorry for the inconvenience, Feelinsofly.
Posted by Fox-McCloud 3 years ago
Fox-McCloud
I do not understand why the link still shows up broken. Let me try again: www.archipielagolibertad.org/upload/files/005%20Expolio%20fiscal/0028%20Edwards%20-%20Taxation,%20Forced%20Labor,%20and%20Theft%20(coment).pdf
Posted by Fox-McCloud 3 years ago
Fox-McCloud
I just noticed that the link of source 14 is broken. I will post it here:

http://archipielagolibertad.org...(coment).pdf

I apologize for the inconvenience
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by noprisu 3 years ago
noprisu
Fox-McCloudFeelinsoflyTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD: Pro: Successfully argued C1 and C3, however it still seems rocky on C2. It might be a form of conflicting moral values between you and I, but it was argued well. The organization was clean and visually good to view. I take this as a sub theme to S&G. I would suggest including direct quotes so your viewers can better find where your opponent stated what, but i can see b/c of character limits. Overall a stellar debate and i hope to see more of your argumentation around here. Con: I would advise against a forfeit. Your argumentation was good; I could understand it very well. Arguments were okay at best; work to better articulate your assertions with contrast to your evidence.
Vote Placed by GWL-CPA 3 years ago
GWL-CPA
Fox-McCloudFeelinsoflyTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro' arguments were more convincing and his sources more reliable. Conduct goes to Pro because Con forfeited the last round. Spelling and Grammar were a tie.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
Fox-McCloudFeelinsoflyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I felt this debate looked a lot like 2 ships passing in the night, with each debater arguing at the fringes of each others' arguments and often avoiding the central theses of their opponent. As the debate went on, there was more clash, but even by the last round, I felt as though more of the debate summation by Pro was about misunderstood or ignored argumentation by Con than about who was winning each argument. Strangely, by the 3rd round, I found myself being won over by Con, despite my personal disagreements with his arguments. Pro does enough in R4 to mitigate or erase my doubts, but I can easily see several routes by which Con could have won in the final round. The forfeit, sadly, makes that impossible. Thus, both arguments and conduct go to Pro.
Vote Placed by Seeginomikata 3 years ago
Seeginomikata
Fox-McCloudFeelinsoflyTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made clear and logical arguments. Con arguments were just not convincing and failed to defuse pro logic. Con forfeit goes to pro, and pro used more trustworthy sources. Con also barely sourced assertions.