Sunday, March 07, 2010


In March of 2004, the members of the Libertarian Party of Virginia voted to endorse a national retail sales tax. Here is the language adopted in 2004:
WHEREAS taxing wages, earnings, investment, savings and, death destroys individual freedom and initiative; and
WHEREAS eliminating the Internal Revenue Service is a positive step in the right direction to restoring individual liberty; and
WHEREAS the 16th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States should be repealed; and
WHEREAS passage of H.R. 25 would change the direction of government confiscation of private property in the favor of the citizenry; and
WHEREAS the complexity of the current tax system causes arbitrary government enforcement and denies equal protection under the law; therefore be it:
RESOLVED that the Libertarian Party of Virginia (LPVA) endorses the passage of H.R. 25 as a step, and only a step, in the right direction; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED that the LPVA encourages all members to contact the Virginia delegation for their support; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED that the LPVA encourages all members to attend the first national rally to eliminate the Income Tax on May 1st in the Hampton Roads area of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
HR 25 was the "FairTax" legislation that was in congress in 2004 (I do not know if it's been reintroduced under that same number).
I have offered resolutions to overturn this endorsement at every state convention ever since. This year, 2010, was no different. At our March 6, 2010 state convention, I introduced the following resolution:
Whereas, the Libertarian Party has historically held the position that all involuntary taxation, regardless of form, function, or method of collection, is forceful and coercive in nature; and therefore represents legalized theft, and,
Whereas, the state and national governments are collecting revenue even in these depressed economic times that are double or triple what was collected just a few years before, in most cases just 7 to 8 years, and,
Whereas, this 'revenue' represents property stolen from individuals in mass quantities,
Now, therefore, be it resolved that the Libertarian Party of Virginia hereby calls on all governments, to repeal the income taxes to serve as a real 'economic stimulus' for these tough economic times; and,
Further, be it resolved that at no time should repealed taxes be replaced with new taxes, regardless of source, such as "sin", corporate, trade, licensure, or sales taxes; and,
Further, be it resolved that governments should operate under balanced budgets at all times, without incurring any debt, and should reduce expenditures to reflect current real revenue.
During debate, I outlined just a bit of the many reasons I believe advocating any new tax, particularly the FairTax, is simply bad business for the LP. Fortunately, there is a great library of excellent articles about the FairTax. Here are a few:
There are of course many more.
Surprisingly, at the convention this year, the question went further than it had at both of the two prior conventions -- it was only two votes shy of success in a (very) slightly amended form.
Here are a few relevant facts.
The individual income tax typically brings in about 40% of federal revenue. Last I heard, 2009 federal revenue was on-track to be about $3.2 trillion. The Individual Income Tax brought in $915 billion. Federal spending just TWO years earlier was almost that much (spending increased $500 billion in FY 2009 over 2008; $250 billion 2008 over 2007.
I don't want the tax system to be revenue-neutral. I want it to be coercion-free. When you have a $915 billion theft going on, it is simply wrong to allow that theft to continue.
I intend to keep trying, until my colleagues learn that we cannot play the FairTax game. We're not Republicans. Nor are we Democrats. We must be eternally vigilant against any stew they cook up -- and the FairTax is a thoroughly Republican stew.
I never thought I'd witness LP candidates openly advocating new taxes (some promote the FairTax, others promote carbon taxes). Yet here we are. How's that working for us? Seems like the promised land hasn't gotten any closer -- the LP is still exactly where it was a few years ago, before we started hearing Libertarians proposing any new taxes.
I do not believe promoting the FairTax gets us any closer to a free society. If I'm going to spin wheels, I'd rather spin them with a clean conscience. Advocating a new tax does not leave me with a clean conscience. The sound-good idea of the FairTax should be recognized for what it is: never-ending federal tax enslavement.
If Libertarians are afraid to walk the libertarian talk, there's not much point in working via a third party.