The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Winning
58 Points
The Contender
beemOr
Con (against)
Losing
22 Points

Taxation is the confiscation of individual life and liberty and should therefore be minimized.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/3/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,907 times Debate No: 5252
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (64)
Votes (12)

 

HandsOff

Pro

Life is represented by time on earth. Money is a representation of the time spent earning it. Liberty, in a popular sense, is one's ability to do with his life (i.e. time and money) what he sees fit, as long as he does not infringe on the rights of others. It follows that confiscating one's money is no different than confiscating his life and liberty.

I do not make this point as an argument against taxation. I believe minimal taxation is necessary to provide for the defense of basic freedoms. It is excessive taxation with which I have a problem. Does anyone really think our founding father intended for most Americans to spend half their working hours slaving for their government?

I want those in favor of high taxes and big government to realize it is not just the money they are taking from their fellow Americans by electing tax-and-spend democrats and republicans, but the life and liberty our founding fathers fought so hard to preserve.
beemOr

Con

My opponent's casae unfortunately rests on the premise that 100% of what a person earns in his or her job is his or hers alone. However, realize that without the government, our nation as a whole would be far less prosperous, and we would be making far less money on average.

We could say, as I think my opponent would, that we should limit what we pay to the government to only paying government salaries and protecting our nation. But that is not fair. That is like paying a person in any job JUST what he needs to get by, nothing more. Has the government not earned the right to some extra cash? If the government, which has defended us for all these years, wants to start a social program, let alone one that it thinks will help the nation, why should we deny it this? My opponent thinks we should - that we should limit taxation to the bare bones.

Realize that many 'unneeded' tax-paid programs help the standard of living in this country. For instance, by investing in the poor with welfare [welfare that you only can get if you have a job], we are doing a few things. First, we are giving the poor more incentive to get jobs - people getting jobs raises GDP. Second, we are investing in them. With more money, they are able to afford a better diet, can live a healthier lifestyle, and can escape poverty. Poverty-stricken individuals are less productive than healthy ones. And healthy families raise more successful children than poverty-stricken families.

For proof that government policies do have an effect on poverty rates:
http://www.census.gov...

As we see, near the beginning of Clinton's presidency, we see a local maximum poverty rate. Then, throughout his presidency, poverty rates fall, eventually reaching a local minimum of 11.3% in 2000, which is very good historically.
Then, during the current Bush administration, it started to rise again, though luckily not very fast. But if we graph it, we notice that the up and down slopes of poverty rates generally coincide with different presidencies, who bring different policies.

So if the government wants to take some of my money, which I could not have made without the government's constant protection, and spend it on reducing the poverty level, what's the problem? Are we too selfish a people now that we will not allow someone to make a profit off the service thye do for us? Do we expect companies like Microsoft to only make as much money as they pay their employees? No - a margin of profit for the company is expected here. Microsoft employees, or employees anywhere else for that matter, don't expect to recieve 100% of the profit the company gets from their work. So why does my opponent think the government should be any different? Minimizing taxes means the government only gets enough to pay employees and pay for necessary programs and defense spending. But haven't they earned the right to spend money on some programs that aren't "necessary?" I think so, especially because these programs are often aimed at raising the overall standard of living in our country. The government spends money it doesn't have to spend on research. It spends money it doesn't have to spend on helping the poor [which also helps our nation as a whole via more productive members]. It spends money it doesn't have to on industries that need help. They spend money on what they think is best for our country - and that's what we elect our officials to do.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

My opponent's case unfortunately rests on the premise that 100% of what a person earns in his or her job is his or hers alone."

Wrong. I only argue that taxes should be minimized. If I believed 100% of one's earnings is his alone, I would be advocating the elimination of all taxes and virtual anarchy.

"That [paying the government only what is required for it to do its job] is like paying a person in any job JUST what he needs to get by, nothing more. Has the government not earned the right to some extra cash?"

Have you tried reading that out loud to yourself? That is the statement that made me think you were kidding. All governments ought to work toward a surplus to save in case of emergencies, but not realize a "profit" as you say-- and certainly not to blow on projects which are not absolutely necessary. Do you honestly want to hand over your hard-earned money to people who make no attempt to be careful about how they spend it? Here you advocate paying the government more than it NEEDS, so it may be wasted on programs we don't need. Do you pay your landlord more than is needed to rent your house? Do you pay the grocery store more than is needed to buy your groceries? Maybe you believe that, since "the rich" pay the majority of taxes, you are not being harmed by wasteful and unnecessary government spending.

"For instance, by investing in the poor with welfare [welfare that you only can get if you have a job], we are doing a few things. First, we are giving the poor more incentive to get jobs - people getting jobs raises GDP"

A welfare program that requires you to have a job? News to me, but okay. Here you imply that humans do not have a natural incentive to earn a living, and that the government must create one. Unfortunately this is true. But it is only true because government, itself, removed what was the most powerful incentive possible. I am speaking of need to survive, which has proved an effective incentive for thousands of years. Now that government has removed the natural incentive to make a living, it fumbles for ways to a replace it with man-made incentives. Once again, government proves to by no match for Mother Nature. Even supplemental government handouts (given to those who work) only encourage the recipient to stay put rather than seek work that will more adequately provide for his survival.

The cornerstone of my argument is that confiscating all or a portion of one's money is no different than confiscating all or a portion of his freedom. Since you have not successfully refuted (or even addressed) that, I will assume you concede it as fact. From here I don't think it will require much work to convince the readers that a government which confiscates a minimal amount of freedom from its subjects is preferable to a government that confiscates more freedom than is necessary. After all, the framers of the Constitution and Bill of Rights set out specifically to strictly limit government and vehemently protect life and liberty for all U.S. citizens.

"So if the government wants to take some of my money, which I could not have made without the government's constant protection, and spend it on reducing the poverty level, what's the problem?"

Here you argue that the government is welcome to "some" of our life and liberty. Is HALF our of our freedom your idea of "SOME?" You also suggest that the requirement for the government taking more of our freedom than is needed is only that it be used to pay for noble causes. If this argument were followed to its logical ends, it would advocate that the government to take as much of our freedom and money as it sees fit in order to provide an endless array of services it currently does not provide, and with the only requirement being that said services are deemed noble. Can you see how that would entitle the government to as much as 100% of our freedom-- since there are an infinite number of noble (yet unnecessary) causes?

"Minimizing taxes means the government only gets enough to pay employees and pay for necessary programs and defense spending."

And the problem is? Isn't that what everyone should do during tough times-- cut back spending to only what is necessary? I would certainly claim that these days (with the country on the verge of bankruptcy and $9 Trillion in debt) qualify as tough times. Had we not allowed the government to confiscate so much of our freedom, borrow even more of it, and then squandered it on unnecessary wars and social programs, I doubt we would be in this mess. Borrowing. And that is "what's the problem" with the government spending money it doesn't have on programs it doesn't need.

"For proof that government policies do have an effect on poverty rates: http://www.census.gov...;

Oh really? If you give money to poor people you will have less poverty among individuals, but unfortunately we borrowed that money and transferred that poverty to the nation as a whole. If the U.S. were a person, she would be 100% insolvent and standing on a corner with a sign, begging for crumbs. So much for spending our way out of poverty.
beemOr

Con

My opponent accuses my position of allowing the government to spend money on unneeded projects. True, indeed. I am advocating that taxation NOT be minimized since there are things the governement spends money on that are not necessary, but still accomplish an important goal. I will explain at least a couple of these later.

My opponent asks some questions: Do we pay a landlord more than he needs us to pay him? Do we pay the grocery store more than it needs us to pay it? The answers here are both "Yes". If we payed a landloard just what he NEEDED us to pay him, he would be unable to afford any luxuries. If we paid a grocery store just what it NEEDED us to pay it, they would not be able to build new locations or pay their employees good wages. The whole concept of any transaction is that both sides are supposed to profit. But here my opponent is arguing that the Government is exempt from this, that it somehow needs special rules so that it fits a conservative viewpoint.

Welfare has for some time required in some sense that the beneficiary have a job, since 1996 - the passing of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org...

My opponent tries to argue that many of us no longer have a natural drive to make money, since we will probably survive regardless. How, then, would welfare requiring a job make people work? If people don't have a drive to make money, why would the draw of a little bit more money make them get a job? In any case, my opponent is admitting that welfare does at least one of the things it is meant to do: to give people an incentive to work. I may get to the other benefits of welfare later on.

My opponent claims that I have not even tried to refute his claim that taking a portion of one's money is equivalent to taking a portion of his freedom.
However, there are a few things I have to say here.
First, I pointed out that the government, just like any other entity that performs a job for you, is entitled to make a profit off of you.
Second, why does this matter? My opponent's position itself is that we should still have tax, just a small amount of it. Therefore, he is advocating the government, by his own definition, 'taking a portion of our freedom'. I am simply advocating that we not miinimize that to the bare bones, because many programs are quite worth it, and even sometimes help us more than we pay for them. A government that takes 1 dollar of your freedom is better than one that takes 2 dollars of your freedom IF it is still able to perform the same functions. If I could buy an extremely beat-up, ugly, uncomfortable chair for 10 bucks or a nice, comfortable, good looking chair for 20, I would probably choose the latter. The extra benefits are worth the extra cash. And since cash is freedom, I'm also willing to give up more freedom for that chair.

My opponent claims that I am advocating that the government take half of our earnings as tax. I would gladly advocate that, if I thought that tax that high would be necessary to accomplish all the things that are worth it. However, I will roughly estimate the figure as much lower - perhaps 1/3 or less.

Indeed, I too would be willing to qualify our nation's current ecoomic situation as 'tough times'. This will be a very important fact later.

I will have to disagree that taxation could in any way be the cause of our debt. Taxation GIVES money to the government. Debt can be ELIMINATED with taxation. Taxation has absolutely no part in the creation of debt.

My opponent says this:
"Borrowing. And that is "what's the problem" with the government spending money it doesn't have on programs it doesn't need."
Yes, it is indeed a problem. I am glad my opponent recognizes this. Borrowing is not the same as taxation, it is in fact an alternative to it. Indeed, I will capitalize on this point at the end of this round.

My opponent claims that welfare-type programs act only as a redistribution of wealth. He also claims that the country as a whole has now been given poverty, and that the US is a metaphorical hobo. "So much for spending out way out of poverty."
However, the US is in fact one of the wealthiest nations in the world. We have the highest GDP for any single country by a landslide - 13.8 trillion in comparison with Japan's 4.3 trillion. I'd say that's far from beggar status.
See: http://en.wikipedia.org...(nominal)

Before I go over some of the non-essential spending my opponent's plan would be unable to pay for, let's consider something about borrowing. It would be possible to use borrowing as a supplement for even a minimal budget - helping us to get even lower taxes. My opponent advocates minimizing taxes - taking them as low as they can go. If borrowing can lower taxes, my opponent's position should be that we should do it - however he has already spoken against borrowing. I understand that some of you will not be convinced by this, so here are a few instances of non-essential spending that's worth the tax money:

1. Scientific Research
Research needs funding, and the government should fund it. first, few others will. Second, by funding the research, the Government gains the fruits of that research, which can in many cases be used to protect our nation or make us more valuable to the rest of the world.

2. Welfare [and some other programs that assist the poor]
As my opponent already noted, welfare that requires work, does get more people to work. More people working = more GDP = more prosperous nation.
Second, welfare prevents crime. Many in poverty would be forced to turn to theft to get by - that very 'survival instinct' my opponent was speaking of earlier would make this happen quite often. We cannot let the split between the common people and the poor become too great, or the poor become a threat in many ways. They could turn to crime, as I said. They could rise up in violence. Welfare and other such programs prevents this crime, or any threat of revolt.
Next, welfare makes poor families more fit to raise children. A child raised in poverty is likely to be an unproductive child.
Welfare, and programs like food stamps, allow poor families to get a better diet. People who get a healthy diet are known to be more productive. This raises the likelihood that the person will become productive enough to escape poverty.
Let us not completely neglect the fact that a dollar is much more to a man in poverty than to a man living in luxury. Therefore, assistance programs for the poor also have the positive effect of raising overall happiness. I think we can all agree that that is a very meaningful variable, and that more overall happiness is at least a good thing.

3. Public Education
Being a partial/former libertarian myself, I know that many libertarians think it is a good idea to privatize the public school system. Whether or not my opponent holds this position, it would surely follow that minimizing taxes means privatizing schools. However, there are a few reasons this is a bad idea.

3a> Rather than paying taxes for schooling, people will instead have to pay the schools directly. Therefore, we are really not saving money (or freedom, therefore) by privatizing schools.
3b> Privatized schooling would lead to worse education for the poor [they can only afford to send their kids to one of the worse schools]. This leads to a less productive future generation, which hurts us as a whole.
3c> Public schooling would stop people from being discriminated because they went to 'THAT' school [as in, a really bad one], since public schools are somewhat standardized.

4. Paying off debt
A surplus would be nice, so we can pay off our debt faster. Minimizing taxes reduces the abilty to spend money on correcting the debt.

Back to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

"I am advocating that taxation NOT be minimized since there are things the government spends money on that are not necessary, but still accomplish an important goal."

This only reiterates your previous argument that government is entitled to spend whatever it wants as long as it accomplishes a noble deed. You have still not come up with a good argument to defend such nobility at the cost bankrupting our country and its citizens.

"The whole concept of any transaction is that both sides are supposed to profit."

Although government is a non-profit operation, you suggest it ought to make one. To accomplish this goal, you suggest it spend money on unneeded programs. Hmm? How's that working out so far? $9 trillion in debt is the current profit your strategy has racked up. Far from a profit. Do you not believe government should cut back on wasteful spending to solve the problem, or do believe taking EVEN MORE than half of each American's earnings is the solution? The current tax rate, outrageous as it might be, is obviously not enough to provide or all the government goodies you defend.

"My opponent tries to argue that many of us no longer have a natural drive to make money, since we will probably survive regardless."

Close, but I only argue that we no longer have the natural life-or-death incentive to work. Many good people still have the drive to work, and do so voluntarily. They're the ones you want to penalize, remember? But if the natural incentive were still around, they would not need self-discipline to get working-- they would simply have no choice.

"A government that takes 1 dollar of your freedom is better than one that takes 2 dollars of your freedom IF it is still able to perform the same functions."

So if a government that takes 50% of my income is not able to produce services equivalent to a government that takes 100% of my income, the former is no better than the latter-- not even for having the decency to leave me with at least some of my earnings? Would you not agree there should at least be some arbitrary limit as to how much freedom a government can take from its citizens before it can no longer be considered moral? Do you have a percentage in mind as to how much of one's freedom he ought to be willing to forfeit for the benefit of another? Do you agree that individual freedoms hold any value at all worth protecting? You seem to be debate Marxism, while my argument is meant to pertain to the U.S. -- where a high value placed on individual liberty is already assumed.

"US is in fact one of the wealthiest nations in the world. We have the highest GDP for any single country by a landslide"

GDP has nothing to do with wealth. Wealth is the difference between one's assets and liabilities. We are the largest earners in the world, but since our earning pale in comparison to our spending, the net result is debt to the tune of $9 Trillion. If you had a neighbor who earned $500K per year, but spent twice that and was in debt $50 million, you would not consider him wealthy. So again, you can't spend your way to wealth.

"It would be possible to use borrowing as a supplement for even a minimal budget - helping us to get even lower taxes. It would be possible to use borrowing as a supplement for even a minimal budget - helping us to get even lower taxes. "

Borrowing is taxation on future earnings, nothing less. It is a way for the government to make citizens believe it is found money that they themselves will not have to repay. Borrowing is nothing more than taxation plus interest. Apparently you bought the fairytale too.

You closed by once again listing a bunch of government services while pointing to their nobility as sole justification for their implementation. Your argument loses sight of two important considerations: can we afford such expenses, and at what cost to our personal liberty? Up to now our country has proved that we cannot afford current spending levels, even while our citizens are forced to hand over 50% of their earnings to the government. So I ask you, which solution respects the rights to freedom our forefathers set out to protect? Do we implement even higher taxes on our citizens or bring unnecessary spending down to a level we can afford?
beemOr

Con

My opponent insists on comparing the Unites States to a poverty-stricken individual. As I said last round, the US is probably the furthest we can get from that. Let's take a look at the merits of my opponent's analogy.

First, let's consider the two senses in which he could have meant this. Either he meant the US as an entity, or he meant the collective of people who live in the US.
It's obvious that the people of the US are not poverty-stricken. We have one of the highest GDP per capita values of the world. GDP per capita is average income.
But let's remember, a portion of that income is taken as taxes. And we have a really high tax rate, which would make the actual income per person much lower... right? Wrong.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
Of the 39 countries listed, 64% of them have over 33% average tax. 1/4 of them have over 40% tax, and a few even have 50% tax.
Our great nation is listed third from the bottom, with the low average tax of 27.3%. The only countries listed below us are Mexico, South Korea, and Chile. Perhaps my esteemed opponent should move to one of these three listed countries that will not 'rob him of his freedom' quite as much as the US does. Oh wait, money is freedom, and there's comparatively very little of it in either of those three countries. Darn.

$My opponent has also complained that our debt is so big due to the fact that our spending is so high. I'm not sure why he makes this point, since I am not advocating extremely high spending. I am simply advocating keeping SOME non-essential spending that is worth the money. Much of our spending [war on terror, etc] could probably be cut very easily. Indeed, just as high spending can be blamed for the large debt, so can low taxes. We have very low taxes right now, as noted above. Higher taxes and a more streamlined budget would mean surpluses, like we had in the 90's. We'd be able to pay off some of our debt. We would not be able to pay off very much of our debt if we minimized taxes, since taxes are where we'd get the EXTRA money to pay off the debt.

Comparing the government with an entity that takes 100% of our income makes for a very poor analogy. It is not a categorical fact that a country that gives us slightly more benefits is always better even with wildly higher taxes. However, as I have argued throughout this whole debate, there are certain things that it is WORTH spending money on. That is to say, the return is higher than what we payed for it.

My opponent asks when a government should not be able to take more money from its people in taxes. The answer to that is simple. When the money taken does less good for the people than it is worth. This would mean that a country would never be able to take 100% tax, since this would always be harmful to people. However, taking 27.3% tax instead of 15% tax in order to use it for things that are worth the investment is very acceptable, considering that even with a 'high' 27.3% tax rate Americans enjoy extremely good lives. And the wealthy, especially those in the highest tax bracket with taxes nearing 50%, are certainly still living quite well.

Let's look at one more measure of our freedom in monetary terms. My opponent has equated money to freedom and to time. Therefore, we should see how much money we get per time, after taxes.
http://en.wikipedia.org...(PPP)_per_hour_worked
On average, people in the US make $35.87 per hour.
The only country with higher income per hour is Norway, with $37.93.
However, Norway has a relatively high tax rate: 44.3%. [See the link from earlier]
After taxes, its people make an average of $21.13. (100%-44.3%)*$37.93
We make $26.08 per hour after taxes, the highest in the world.

Even with the amount of our money the government 'steals from us', we still get more of it here than anywhere else in the world.

My opponent says GDP has nothing to do with wealth. It has almost everything to do with wealth, though I do agree that debt should play a part. GDP is directly attached to our nation's income, and for a long term entity (one that's not going to die in a few years, such as an old man), income is a very important indicator of wealth. My opponent attaches values of $500,000 income and $50,000,000 debt to the US, but this is completely dishonest. Our debt is a mere 60% of GDP. With an average tax rate of 35%, which seems to be the world median, that's payed off in 2 years of dedicated taxes. It's insignificant in the long run. However, I agree that a man with 50 million in debt and only 500k income is in serious trouble.

Also, 'spending your way to wealth' is a natural thing. Ever heard of the saying 'it takes money to make money?' Think of all the people who have made fortunes by investing fortunes. That is what the US is doing - it is making investments. Investments in its people's education [the public school system], investments in our health, investments in research.

Also, consider that when the government SPENDS its tax money, that money ends up in someone elses pocket. The money doesn't just disappear. The US has to pay people to do Government jobs, it has to hire defense contractors, it has to buy materials.

Borrowing is not taxation, by definition. Taxation is the taking of a certain percentage of our income. Borrowing is the act of one country/institution/person lending another country/person/institution money. Borrowing is not always even a bad idea. In fact, if we look at the countries that haven't borrowed very much, we see it got them nowhere. Just as a company gets people to invest in it, we as a country get other entities to invest in us, and it is a mutually beneficial situation. In any case, one thing is clear. Borrowing, by definition, is NOT taxation.

Of the four examples I gave, my opponent only has two questions, no other objections.
"Can we afford them?"
Obviously, considering we are extremely wealthy. Americans make more per hour after taxes than people of any other nation.
"To what cost to our personal liberty?"
To a cost lower than almost any other country - we pay a meager 27.3% in taxes while most of the world is paying upwards of a third of their wages, which are smaller to begin with, in taxes. Very few countries have lower taxes than we do, and they are not exactly countries full of liberty, especially if we want to say that money equals freedom.
To a cost that is acceptable.
To a cost that puts no one in an uncomfortable economic situation.
To a cost that ensures that our country's wealth continues to grow, giving us a better future. Remember, I showed that each of the 4 examples would raise productivity.

I hope I have not left any questions unanswered.

Remember - my opponents position requires that we eliminate government spending on Research that is not absolutely necessary, causing us to fall behind technologically. It requires that we privatize schools, which leads to worse overall education, and therefore worse overall productivity. It leads to an inability to pay off our current debt, which leads to a higher debt. It leads to an unproductive poor, a poor likely to commit crime, a poor likely to raise unproductive children, which lowers our productivity and damages us as a nation.

I believe I have shown there is quite a bit of unnecessary spending is worth the money [which is also liberty]. And since my opponent agrees that we should not borrow the money, we must have higher than minimum taxes. Our tax rate is already fairly low, we need not be fanatically conservative and lower it further. My opponent's position is that we should only tax as much as we spend, and we should only spend as much as is absolutely necessary. His position is that non-essential spending is NEVER worth an increase in taxes, and he fails to back this up besides just stating it. I have at least given more meaningful criteria for spending being worth it.
Debate Round No. 3
64 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"We are not born with any freedom."

True. That is why government was formed-- to establish and protect freedom. Our founding fathers seemed very close to libertarians. Government (the majority) was the main threat the founding documents tried to ward off. High taxes, big government, and a nanny state were not what the founding fathers had in mind. My ideas seem rare or bold because they are. But they ought not, since they are the ideas upon which our country was founded. If the framers of our constitution were here today they'd seem like libertarian wackos as well. Think about it: No federal income tax, no socialized medicine, no welfare. You don't have to guess what they would have wanted; they lived out their lives without lobbying for any of it.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"Equating time with freedom is arbitrary and a little non-sensical."

Not so much. Confiscating one's money is confiscation of his time if he traded his time to earn it. The confiscation of money taxes one's freedom in that if one wishes to replace the confiscated money he must spend the time to replace. That is time he otherwise would have had the freedom to spend elswhere. "Freedom" is not intangible. It pertain to one's ability to spend his life (ie. time) the way he sees fit. I imagine most do not want to spend it slaving for their goverment.
Posted by Masochist 8 years ago
Masochist
Hands off says:
"Unfortunately you failed to mention that in the case of taxation each individual is FORCED to split his pizza with the rest. Can immoral action generate positive outcomes? Absolutely. Liberal always point to the ends as a way to justify the means when it comes to stripping individuals of their liberty so that rest of society will somehow benefit. Yes, both sides have their merits, but one side acheives its merits honestly, and not by theft.

I say:
See, this is what gets me about libertarians. The moral arrogance. Not moral disagreement, but refusing to acknwledge moral disagreement. Instead of you actually addressing the moral issues you simply assert that you have the one and only way and that everyone else is willfully evil. It's very reminiscent of fundamentalism.

You forgot though the socialist argument. THe socialist would say that your capitalist system is exploitative and that all the money you made was dones so immorally. Yet isntead of laying out a case for your ideas from the bottom up you start from the middle. This is why I have never seen an argument of yours that was anythign other than preaching to the converted.

You should really work on that and you would win arguments on merit instead of popularity.
Posted by Masochist 8 years ago
Masochist
Hands off said:
"We are all born with an adequate amount of freedom (or at least we were at one time). Money is generated by trading one's time (freedom). If one person has more money than the next, it is likely he has traded more of his freedom for it...Those whose wealth is INVOLUNTARILY confiscated are the only victims of lost freedom. Those who choose not to pursue wealth are VOLUNTARILY limiting their own to only that which their time will buy them, by exchanging hours for income."

I say:
We are not born with any freedom. That's obvious because a baby is prevented from following his desires and making his own choices and a baby is also not facilitated in fulfilling his desires and making his own choices. A child lakcs both positive and negative freedoms.

You are asserting that modern american capitalism is an exact approximation of hard work to money. I would laugh but I think you're being serious.

Save for your money=freedom fallacy I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that redistributed wealth is a lose of freedom. Especially considering societal debt, how wealth is created by a society and that all money created is owned in part by others. You yourself didn't make that wrench. It was you and other factory workers, and the makers of the machines, and the owners of capital, the miners who dug up the iron, the smelters, the truckers, the retailers who sell the wrench, the government who created the roads and regulated the currency, the person who buys the wrench and creates a market, the people who originally gave up or had their land taken to build the above, and finally your parents and teachers for giving you the language and congitive ability to work.

Wealth is not created in a vaccuum.
Posted by Masochist 8 years ago
Masochist
Hands off said:
"No, I just equate money with one's time and therefore his freedom. Since preserving freedom is supposedly of the utmost importance in a "free" society, one's freedoms (money) should be left in tact as much as possible, but not completely."

I say:
Equating time with freedom is arbitrary and a little non-sensical. The word freedom addresses constraints from doing something and ability to do something. So time as freedom requires a great deal of abstraction.

You don't really address the problem that money is social construct and not a natural reflection of anything. THe amount of money one has is by no means an accurate refelction fo time spent working or training. So money does not equal time.

Money and time are not the same as freedom, they are not even exact proximations of effort. Not to mention that money is produced communally not solely. The lone man in the desert can produce a hut but he can't become a millionaire without a whole society.

Your assertion might make for a good campaign slogan but it's not really a solid argument.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"Both sides have their merits, it really depends on your value system."

Unfortunately you failed to mention that in the case of taxation each individual is FORCED to split his pizza with the rest. Can immoral action generate positive outcomes? Absolutely. Liberal always point to the ends as a way to justify the means when it comes to stripping individuals of their liberty so that rest of society will somehow benefit. Yes, both sides have their merits, but one side acheives its merits honestly, and not by theft.

When the left engage in arguments that favor giving up individual liberty for the safety of the majority, they are just as bad as republicans who want to tell you who you can sleep with and what you can smoke. Afterall, wouldn't the rest of the society be better off if they weren't forced to coexist with drug users and prostitutes? It could be argued (and often is) that restricting victimless lifestyle freedoms has its merits as well. But it does not make it right.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
"Redistributing money via welfare seems to not violate this law of maximizing freedom [since while one person may have lost an amount of freedom[money], someone else gained."

We are all born with an adequate amount of freedom (or at least we were at one time). Money is generated by trading one's time (freedom). If one person has more money than the next, it is likely he has traded more of his freedom for it. If he invests properly, he can expand his freedom (money) beyond that with which he started. But the only way to lose freedom is to sqander it by trading it for things that do not generate a surplus of it (breaking the law and ending up in jail, wasting money on liabilities versus investing in assets, choosing to work for a new car versus a college education, etc.). Those whose wealth is INVOLUNTARILY confiscated are the only victims of lost freedom. Those who choose not to pursue wealth are VOLUNTARILY limiting their own to only that which their time will buy them, by exchanging hours for income.
Posted by sadolite 8 years ago
sadolite
Bravo HandsOff, A most excellent and concise comment that needs no further debate. To argue your last comment would be to argue that the sky is not blue.
Posted by beemOr 8 years ago
beemOr
Redistributing money via welfare seems to not violate this law of maximizing freedom [since while one person may have lost an amount of freedom[money], someone else gained it, which is actually the case for ALL spending]. Neither does paying back the debt quickly by having a considerable surplus, which actually saves us money in the long run.

Though I do notice that your argument revolves around each person keeping a maximum amount of their own money rather than maximizing the money [freedom] for the country as a whole, which is what my plan preferred [increase in GDP = more money for the country = more freedom for the country].

We can compare this by 5 people buying a small pizza and splitting it vs. a large pizza. With the small, they get the amount that they 'deserve', so some people get very small portions of the pizza and some get huge slices.

With the large, people still get different sized-slices, but the people who had extremely small slices will now get slightly more than they deserve, and the few people who had huge slices will now get a bit less than they deserve, though still quite sizable slices. Still, this pizza is bigger than the other one, so on average, people get more.

Both sides have their merits, it really depends on your value system.
Posted by HandsOff 8 years ago
HandsOff
No, I just equate money with one's time and therefore his freedom. Since preserving freedom is supposedly of the utmost importance in a "free" society, one's freedoms (money) should be left in tact as much as possible, but not completely. We do need to pitch in for the infrastructure and services that will allow us to defend out nation, move about freely and protect our property. The efficacy of confiscation of freedom beyond that required to accomplish these basic protections should be very carefully scrutinized. In our free society, superflous taxation (or borrowing, which is just taxation plus interest) demonstrates that our government sees no connection between one's money and his freedom.
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