I came across this brief news article in the Salt Lake Tribune the other day, which made me literally laugh out loud:
The head of a Utah County marketing business has been ordered to pay $241,000 in restitution for stealing his employees’ payroll taxes.
Between 2005 and 2009, Stephen Zimmerman, 58, did not pay the state taxes his family and employees owed, and he covered up the crime by submitting false tax forms, according to the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
Zimmerman, who was the owner of Professional Marketing Data Services Inc., was sentenced earlier this month to up to five years in prison on charges of unlawful dealing with property by a fiduciary and filing false tax documents.
But 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy suspended that prison term, providing Zimmerman completes probation and pays back the $241,000 he owes.
Allow me to explain why I laughed at this.
Volumes have been written on the morality of taxation. Murray N. Rothbard wrote extensively on taxation and what it truly is. Here is a blurb:
Take, for example, the institution of taxation, which statists have claimed is in some sense really “voluntary.” Anyone who truly believes in the “voluntary” nature of taxation is invited to refuse to pay taxes and to see what then happens to him. If we analyze taxation, we find that, among all the persons and institutions in society, only the government acquires its revenues through coercive violence. Everyone else in society acquires income either through voluntary gift (lodge, charitable society, chess club) or through the sale of goods or services voluntarily purchased by consumers. If anyone but the government proceeded to “tax,” this would clearly be considered coercion and thinly disguised banditry. Yet the mystical trappings of “sovereignty” have so veiled the process that only libertarians are prepared to call taxation what it is: legalized and organized theft on a grand scale.
Rothbard also went into detail about the concept of “withholding”:
The withholding feature of the income tax is a still more clear-cut instance of involuntary servitude. For as the intrepid Connecticut industrialist Vivien Kellems argued years ago, the employer is forced to expend time, labor, and money in the business of deducting and transmitting his employees’ taxes to the federal and state governments — yet the employer is not recompensed for this expenditure. What moral principle justifies the government’s forcing employers to act as its unpaid tax collectors?
The withholding principle, of course, is the linchpin of the whole federal income tax system. Without the steady and relatively painless process of deducting the tax from the worker’s paycheck, the government could never hope to raise the high levels of tax from the workers in one lump sum. Few people remember that the withholding system was only instituted during World War II and was supposed to be a wartime expedient. Like so many other features of State despotism, however, the wartime emergency measure soon became a hallowed part of the American system.
As the Tribune article clearly shows, the government collects taxes under the threat of violence – or actual violence. If you do not pay taxes – and in this case, act as its tax collector – the State eventually confiscates your property and may imprison you. And we all know what happens if you attempt to defend yourself against State aggression in the form of “peace officers” (law enforcement): you are met with escalating violence until you either submit to its will, or are killed.
Taxation is a form of theft. It is no different than your neighbor coming over to your house and demanding – at gunpoint – that you give him money. Many people believe that if your neighbor is wearing a badge that indicates he has been granted “authority” from the State, his actions are morally justified.
Liberty-minded people boldly declare that initiation of aggression is immoral, no matter who is doing it.
Taxation is like a restaurant sending armed thugs to your house every day, kidnapping you and taking you to the restaurant, forcing you to eat its food whether you like it or not, and then forcing you to pay for it!
So, you can see why I would laugh at the absurdity illustrated in this article. The State is punishing this man for stealing money the State had intended to steal using its own systemized aggression, plunder and theft.
Leave a comment
Utah Liberty Alliance seeks to bring about a free society through journalism and activism, starting right here at home.
Recent Forum Posts
In development: Utah Copwatch (utahcopwatch.org)
posted in forum Incubator by Dallin Crump on August 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm
In development: Utahns for Privatized Education (u4pe.org)
posted in forum Incubator by Dallin Crump on April 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm
Utah juror information
posted in forum Incubator by Nicholas Hooton on April 30, 2012 at 8:56 am