Global Taxes Threaten More Than Just the Economy

Writing in today’s Washington Times, Richard Rahn addressed the issue of global taxation. As recently described in a CF&P Libertas, the ongoing efforts of international bureaucrats to impose global taxes threatens not just economic prosperity, but also the very core of self-government. Rahn elaborates:

The modern concept of the nation-state goes back to the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Among other things, it limited the power of the sovereign to the territory of the state, including the power to tax. The American Revolution was, in part, fought over the demand for “no taxation without representation.” Despite the success of the Revolution, the principle of no taxation without representation was violated from the very beginning, for both good and bad reasons. Once government divides people into classes and allows some classes to tax other classes, people can be taxed without their consent. The original voting franchise was limited to male property owners; hence, the “classes” of women and non-property-owners were taxed without their consent, along with blacks in the slaveholding states.

People are no longer classified by sex or race in most countries when it comes to voting rights, but it is fashionable to classify people by income or occupation and then tax them differently – thus denying a fundamental human right of equal treatment. Now this concept of unequal treatment and nonrepresentation is being promoted across countries, whereby people (even the non-rich) in rich countries should pay more taxes to support people in poor countries – in practice, all too often the corrupt ruling class.

The American founders understood that people would have more say over their government the closer it was to them, which is why the United States was set up as a federal republic. Under the Constitution, the federal government has few powers, and state and local governments have many powers if the people so choose. The power to tax is one of the most coercive powers governments have, so it is extremely dangerous to both liberty and prosperity.

Rahn goes on to mention some specific examples, including this one from the World Health Organization:

The World Health Organization, in the name of boosting expenditures for health research for diseases that “disproportionally affect the developing world,” has just proposed in a new report a “Financial Transactions Tax and a Solidarity Tobacco Contribution – that in addition to the airline taxes implemented in some other countries could be used to generate funds to be channeled through an international mechanism to supplement national resources” (global-bureaucrat-speak for taking your liberty and money and giving it to others).

I highly suggest reading the rest of the column here.

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