I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine. – John Galt from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
A question to Objectivists everywhere. I’ve seen many of you post this oath, thereby identifying with it. But do you really?
US Government Budgets
Let’s take a look at the US budget to see what I am referring to:
Estimated receipts for fiscal year 2009 are $2.7 trillion (+7.1%).
- $1.21 trillion – Individual income tax
- $949.4 billion – Social Security and other payroll taxes
- $339.2 billion – Corporate income tax
- $68.9 billion – Excise taxes
- $29.1 billion – Customs duties
- $26.3 billion – Estate and gift taxes
- $47.9 billion – Other
By those figures (and not counting the excise, customs, estate and gift taxes that are hard for us individually to avoid), that means that 80% of total federal receipts (revenues) come from individual income taxes and payroll withholding (including FICA/social security withholding).
[ 1.21 (income tax) + 0.9494 (FICA) ] / 2.7 = .799777... or 79.98%
Now let’s look at expenditures:
The budget for 2009 totals $3.1 trillion.
- Mandatory spending: $1.89 trillion (+6.2%)
Not even counting for ‘social’ influences and direct social-welfare type spending in the ‘Discretionary spending’ budget*, let’s just look at the social spending on social security, medicare, medicaid and welfare. Keeping mind that federal spending on unemployment entails ‘extensions to benefits‘ via the various stimulus plans, this works out to close to 53%* of Federal US expenditures going directly to one or another form of ‘social program’ or social welfare system:
[ 0.644 (Social Security) + 0.408 (Medicare) + 0.224 (Medicaid/SCHIP) 0.360 (UI/Welfare/etc) ] / 3.1 = 0.527741 or 52.77%
Withholding is ‘voluntary’
Many people are not aware that the existing payroll withholding is a voluntary system. (although some employers may require it as part of your agreement to work with the company)
… We Mutually Pledge …
If words are to mean anything, then are the words of our forefathers in the Declaration of Independence meaningless?
….we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.
You may have figured out by now what I am suggesting or at least implying. If payroll taxes are voluntary, and if the majority of the US Federal Budget comes from you and goes to social welfare and redistribution programs, you have NO RIGHT to utter Rand’s famous oath!
YOU ARE VOLUNTARILY LIVING FOR THE SAKE OF OTHER MEN!
Yes, the alternative is Tax evasion – breaking the law. Is wealth distribution in any form a fair, moral and just law? Are you going to continue to obey unfair, immoral and unjust laws for convenience sake? Is your freedom so negotiable to you that you are willing to continually allow it to be infringed for expedience sake?
Implicit (and complicit) support of such a system requires that the products of your abilities and efforts and therefore your very life is on loan, your property is at the discretion of such a government and your entire existence and the freedoms you assume to have as a result of it are subject to the whims of such a moral system.
* In addition to excluding ‘social’ mechanisms in discretionary spending, this number also excludes the cost of bureaucracy in general including redundancies and waste, the cost of federally funded pensions and other costs associated with the size of big government.
(If you agree with any of my perspectives in this post, please forward this on to like minded folks. Also please leave a comment or send me an email to express your support at email@example.com. If there is enough support for these ideas, I will help pick up the ball and suggest further action. If all I get is apathy, I will not)