Rep. King: Taxation Is a Moral Issue Like Abortion, Capital Punishment, and War and Peace

The news is filled with stories of Republicans who are agreeing to a tax increase if the conditions are right. The Democrats, once again, are laughing at them. The Democrats will get what they want (higher taxes), some spending cuts that won’t make a difference, and the credit. The Republicans will then try to explain to their shrinking base what went wrong.

The once-steadfast anti-tax Republicans are getting angry at Grover Norquist because he is calling them out on the anti-tax pledge they took, the pledge that got them elected. Some of these guys are going to pull a George H. W. Bush. You may recall that it was President Bush 41 who proclaimed during his campaign, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” As I’ve mentioned before, politicians are like lawyers. How do you know when a lawyer is lying? His lips are moving. Pres. Bush’s lips moved.

New York Congressman Peter King and Grover Norquist are having a war of words over the tax pledge. It was so long ago, Rep. King said, that it’s inconsequential. This is a new day with new problems. No, they’re the same problems. You guys spend too much, and when you get in trouble, you raise taxes. Here’s what King said about the pledge:

“[Grover Norquist] means nothing to me. I did sign the pledge thing . . . But to say that a pledge on an issue like taxes lasts for a lifetime is absolutely ridiculous. We’re not talking about a moral issue like capital punishment or abortion or war and peace. We’re talking about an issue where obviously I am opposed to tax increases as a general rule.”

 Technically the government doesn’t have any money. It can either tax people to get money or print it. If the government prints money, it is involved in theft. It’s economic alchemy, turning stones into bread, paper into money. Governments can do it because they’ve given themselves the power to do it.

Another way the State gets its money is by taking it from people. This is called taxation. Taxation involves force. If you don’t pay up, you will be fined, have your assets levied, or imprisoned.

So taxation is like abortion, war and peace, and capital punishment. If taxation means taking someone’s property, if government officials can levy a tax by a majority vote, how is this not a moral issue? If one day I pay one percentage rate, and the next day a higher rate, how is this not a moral issue? The Eighth Commandment is quite clear: “You shall not steal” (Ex. 20:15). Here’s the truth of it. Deep down, this is what most elected officials believe (my words):

“We have the right to levy a tax at a certain percentage rate, up or down, on this amount or that amount because more than 50 percent of the people put us in office, therefore we can take 1 percent or 100 percent. The fact that we (remember that word — we) except a certain amount of income is proof of this fact. An exemption is what we allow you to keep.”

I suspect that Rep. King will refer to his statement that “taxation is not like abortion.” True, taking money in taxes does not kill people like abortions do. But I bet if thieves broke into Rep. King’s house and took the family silver, cleaned out his safe, and raided his bank accounts, that he would scream bloody murder and call the police. His fallback position most likely would be: “They didn’t have the authority.” Neither do Rep. King and his fellow-congressmen have the moral right to decide how much of money they’re going to take from me and millions of other Americans.

“I’ll say this plainly, I’ve said it before Taxation is theft. It presumes the government has a higher claim on our property than we do,” says Judge Andrew Napolitano.