Monday, November 3, 2008

Income tax is not slavery

By Walter Block from this pdf file, via Bryan Caplan,
Then there is this entirely inept, misleading, and even insulting equation of the "American taxpayer's situation today with that a 19th century American slave." Did you ever hear that joke: "Do you know the difference between a bathroom and a living room? No? Well, then don't come to my house." In a similar vein I say that if you cannot tell the difference between outright slavery, as occured to blacks in the US in the 19th century, and being subject to an income tax, then do not come into the parlor where matters of political economy are being discussed...
Indeed it is more than a little ridiculous when modern pundits compare the institution of an income tax with slavery in the antebellum era of the US. "Income tax" and "slavery" yields an incredible 144,000 results on a Google search, compared to only 101,000 results for the more reasonable "income tax" and "unequal." Generally I think people throw around the word slavery with a bit more ease than they ought to.