Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850) was a French economist, statesman, and author. In 1850, he published a pamphlet called “The Law.”
The website which contains the translation of “The Law” includes the following statement:
As a Deputy to the Legislative Assembly, Mr. Bastiat was studying and explaining each socialist fallacy as it appeared. And he explained how socialism must inevitably degenerate into communism. But most of his countrymen chose to ignore his logic. The Law is here presented again because the same situation exists in America today as in the France of 1848. The same socialist-communist ideas and plans that were then adopted in France are now sweeping America. The explanations and arguments then advanced against socialism by Mr. Bastiat are — word for word — equally valid today.
“The Law” includes the following definition of ‘legal plunder‘:
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.
Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.
The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.
Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.
This statement pretty much describes the current tax system in America.
An article posted in The New York Post yesterday further illustrates this point.
The article in The New York Post states:
Americans spent more money on taxes than they did on food and clothing last year, according to data released earlier this week.
In an assessment of “Consumer Expenditures” for 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the average bill for federal, state and local taxes was $10,489.
By comparison, Americans spent $9,006 on food and clothes, with most of that going toward food.
CNSNews.com first pointed out the findings. While it may not come as a surprise that American households are shelling out to Uncle Sam, the data showed that bill has risen sharply in recent years — the average tax bill rose 41 percent overall since 2013.
According to the BLS, federal income taxes rose from $5,743 to $8,367 in that period. State and local income taxes rose from $1,629 to $2,046.
The stats come as President Trump prepares to pressure Congress to pass tax reform. In a Missouri speech on Wednesday, he called for simplifying the system and lowering rates.
More importantly, what are our taxes being used for? Are they being used for purposes outlined in the U.S. Constitution? Are they being used strictly for national defense, or are they being used to prop up a political system in Washington that will never be satisfied with the amount of money it controls and will always want more money from the people who earn it?
The article in The New York Post states that the largest expense for Americans in 2016 was housing. It is time to let Americans who work keep the money they earn. Washington needs to learn to do with less.