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Microbusiness: What Property Tax and Slavery have in Common - July 7th 2014

"Slavery isn't a race issue. Slavery is a State and power issue."
Stefan Molyneux

Progress in society is made from voluntary transaction between free individuals. When government takes money out of the taxpayer's pocket we have less money for voluntary transactions, saving and investment.

GO BOX Storage has just got it's property tax increase for 2014. In the eight years we have been in Kamloops our property taxes have gone in one direction -- up. The new property tax bill is $16,500. That is $1,375 each month. GO BOX Storage has 280 goboxes. This means each gobox -- full or empty -- has to come up with $4.91 each month just to pay the property tax. The City of Kamloops is taking a monstrous portion of our productivity -- which in the end means customers will have to pay more.

Every other business expense can be controlled. We can choose to buy, or not to buy, or put off a purchase for a later date. In contrast, the amount we pay for property tax -- or any tax -- is out of our control. Come hell or high water, we have to pay the property tax regardless of how monstrous the levy. Property tax is not voluntary. We cannot economize on property tax by choosing some but not all services offered by the City of Kamloops. No other business can force us to buy their product or service. Only governments -- and government protectorates (crony capitalists) with government granted monopolies -- can do this.

There is a common myth out there that government runs "just like a business". This is far from the truth. For example, when I purchase from a mechanic, my vehicle is fixed. When I purchase from a farmer, I get food. If I don't like the work my mechanic or farmer does, I go purchase somewhere else. When I go somewhere else to repair my vehicle or buy my food, the mechanic and farmer gets feedback from me that I wasn't happy with their service or product. For theĀ  business (mechanic or farmer),profit and loss is feedback from the market (me). Freedom means voluntary transactions. Freedom means being able to say "No!".

In contrast, when I pay property tax to the City of Kamloops, what exactly am I buying? I really couldn't tell you. Nor can I say "No!" to buying these mysterious products and services. Nor can I agree to only buy some of the products or services that I actually value. How can government change if it never gets any feedback from the market? The simple answer is, it can't. Government is not run "just like a business".

My relationship with government is very different than my relationship with any other business. Just to summarize:

  1. I don't know what I am buying from government.
  2. I can't say "No!" to buying from government.
  3. I can't choose to buy some services or products but not others.
  4. I can't go somewhere else to buy.

This means my relationship with government is fundamentally different than any other business relationship I have. I put the word buy in italics because I'm really not buying anything voluntarily, but compelled by law to support a system that is not voluntary. Many libertarian thinkers call this legal plunder or a protection racket.

Maybe I'm being overly dramatic, but paying property tax makes me feel like a slave. Slavery is owning a person. The reason someone would want to own a person is so they can possess the slave's lifelong productivity. Granted, government owns only a portion of my productivity but unlike the slave masters of old, government doesn't provide for all my needs. I'm more like a free-range slave, able to move around, choose my work, but still required to pay tribute to the master. When I pay property tax, government is my master and I'm a slave paying tribute to the government to keep myself free. Heaven help me if I don't pay! I will be quickly taught my place if I refuse to pay tribute!

In the past, people had the legal right to own slaves. This might outrage a modern person because it is generally believed that slavery is wrong. For the modern person, even if slavery is legal, there is some higher moral or ethical reasoning to reject slavery. It's from this higher moral or ethical reasoning that I have come to see property tax as legal plunder. It's legal, but it's still wrong. Property tax steals my productivity and my ability to make voluntary transactions that will directly better my life. My productivity is then used for government's consumption and goals. I can assure you, my goals and government's goals are definitely not the same!

Humanity will always have slavery in one form or another. There will always be a group of people that prefer to live off the productivity of others, rather than producing themselves. One day we may stop the legal plunder that allows a dominant group to steal the productivity from the many. Until that day, we will not be free from oppression.

"Capitalism is the system in which people are free to use their private property without outside interference. That's why it's also known as free enterprise (or free market) system, because it allows people freedom to choose: freedom to choose their own jobs, freedom to sell their products at whatever prices they like, and freedom to choose among products for the best value."
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert Murphy

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert Murphy is a simply written book about how capitalism is the source of all the progress in your life. He will debunk the myth that government is the source of all good things. This book is so simply written that youth can understand it. This book is a good antidote to the state-run "education" about capitalism.

Robert Murphy destroys the common myths surrounding capitalism.

As Stefan Molyneux stated in his lecture about slavery, William Wiberforce peacefully ended the slave trade in the British Empire. Amazing Grace (2006) is a movie about his struggle to abolish slavery. There is no mention of white slavery in the movie.