LETTERS: We Need a Detour from The Road to Serfdom
Work hard, live long, pay your mortgage, and welcome to the status of eternal indentured servant. Ever increasingly, big government is demoting our status from citizen to serf. We work the land and perform the upkeep on property we only think we own. In reality, government owns our property and we simply rent.
Perhaps everything we own may be paid in full—no car payment, no mortgage. Perhaps we have made sound financial decisions and will have achieved full debt free ownership status by retirement age. Our diligence has paid off. Let's enjoy our...stuff. We've earned it. But if anyone were to remain unconvinced of our serf citizenship, I challenge you to stop paying rent to big government. Quit paying property taxes on your home for a few years. Stop paying the yearly auto registration fees. The swift broadsword of the state will soon be unleashed, and the government shall soon be delivering your eviction notice... However, the eviction isn't what reduces us to serfdom. Not paying our rent simply makes us deadbeats and damages our credit record. It is the threat of fine and imprisonment ransomed by the state that relegates us to full serfdom.
The power of taxation over our property steals the fruit of our labor, thus robbing our future. But government isn't satisfied with only owning our future, the state must also own us in the present. Again under peril of fine and imprisonment, we pay a fee to the state on our labor through payroll taxes, occupational taxes, and other sorts of tribute such as occupational licenses.
Even the most pertinacious Libertarians among us admit government is permitted to raise revenue and is required to provide some services. We can debate the nature, scope, and size of government, but we know at the very least the Constitution provides governmental power to tax and must provide for a national defense.
Regardless the revenue and spending debates, it's time to push for tax reform that rewards ownership and productivity. Although governance comes with a price tag, we could have a more fair and voluntary means of taxation such as a consumption tax. In a system favorable to free market principles, national, state, and local sales taxes could provide more than enough revenue needed to operate government.
Our country was founded on a vision that valued property rights and knew that individual liberty serves as an enduring check upon those who would be tyrannical. Denying the right to property and punishing self-determination sets us further down the superhighway to serfdom and closer to tyranny.