When young people join the ranks of American taxpayers annually soaked by Uncle Sam, they encounter the harsh reality that they will never receive their full salary because the government confiscates a portion through income tax withholdings, Social Security and Medicare taxes.
George Mason University economics professor Dr. Walter E. Williams discussed taxation, tyranny and liberty during a speech at the Young America’s Foundation 41st National Conservative Student Conference. He noted that “as time goes by, you and I own less and less of our most valuable property, namely, the fruits of our labor. Another way of looking at this process is that the average taxpayer works from January 1st until May 8th to pay federal, state and local taxes,” he said. The professor pointed out “that a working definition of slavery is that you work all year and it is someone else that decides how the fruits of your labor will be used.”
Dr. Williams explained that if he pointed a gun at someone and demanded cash so he could spend it on a woman in need his action would constitute “illegal theft.” But he said that when government compels someone to surrender money for the very same reason that activity constitutes “legal theft.” He noted that while many immoral acts in history have been legal, the legality of an activity does not determine its morality.
“That is, the moral question that we can ask: Can we make a moral case for forcibly using one person to serve the purposes of somebody else? And in my many years of life, I have not come up with a moral case for doing so.”
He highlighted the tyrannical nature of the government compelling individuals to fork over their money for Social Security, noting that people would correctly view other varieties of forced savings as tyrannical.
“Here are some people telling me, telling you, how much you should set aside each week for your retirement. Suppose they told you how much you should set aside for entertainment, for housing, for food, for clothing. You’d view it as tyranny. It’s the same thing with Social Security,” he explained.
Dr. Williams warned that while he is “not saying that we are a totalitarian nation yet” the country is clearly moving in the direction of “more government control over our lives,” and he noted that “if you take tiny steps towards any goal, it’s just a matter of when you get there.”
Watch his full speech below: