Do You Think You Are Free?

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

Do You Think You Are Free?

by Sandra Davies Johnson, April 1999

Taxes Versus Freedom

Are you free? To be free means not to be under the control or power of another.

Who controls how you spend and save your money? If you were free, YOU would make your own decisions about how to spend your earnings. Why should others decide how to spend what you earn?

Slaves work for their masters. Free people work for themselves. If the master told a slave he could have Sundays off, would that make him free? Suppose the master said he could have Saturdays AND Sundays off -- would that make him free? What about three days a week off? At what point are you a slave?

In this supposedly "free country," we are forced, at gunpoint if necessary, to pay the State half of our income. Someone else decides what to do with half our earnings. We spend half of our time working as slaves for our masters. The average American works 20 years of his life just to pay for government.

The power of government comes from money -- YOUR money. The more money government agents take, the more power they have over your life and the less freedom you have. The higher the tax burden, the more you are a slave.

In Colorado, after we pay all our federal taxes, we pay $5.5 BILLION dollars more in state income taxes; state, local, and special district sales taxes; property taxes; taxes on vehicles; license fees to drive; fees to be permitted to work; fees on businesses; and taxes on alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, propane, telephones, pagers, ad nauseam.

We pay more in taxes than we do for
food, shelter, and clothing combined.

Taxes Versus Prosperity

Do You Want Economic Prosperity? People stop producing when they know they will not benefit from their labor. The higher the tax burden climbs, the less prosperity we enjoy. Would you work at all if the State took 100% of what you earn? What if they took 90%, 75%, 50%? At what point would you refuse to work? Socialism's confiscatory taxes destroy incentive, morality, prosperity, and productivity, resulting in human misery. More and more individuals have decided that they would rather enjoy more free time instead of working harder and keeping less.

The result is less prosperity for all.

Taxes Versus Customer Satisfaction

Are You Getting Your Money's Worth? Are you getting the services you want and would voluntarily pay for? If you had a choice, would you select:

  • A private education for your children? Or a government education?
  • A private retirement plan? Or a piece of the bankrupt Social Security system?
  • A private company (such as UPS) to mail a letter? Or the government postal service?
  • Private health insurance? Or government-run Medicare?

What can I do if I'm not satisfied with the quality, quantity, or choice of services forced on me by governments? If I am displeased with a government service can I withhold my money and take my business elsewhere? Private companies eventually go out of business if they do not please enough customers. But full funding for bad government schools continues, regardless of customer dissatisfaction. Spending for government schools has increased four times over what it was in 1950 (adjusted for inflation). Yet the quality, by almost any measurement, has eroded.

The Colorado budget has more than doubled in the last 10 years from under $5 billion in 1989 to over $10 billion in 1999. Have your services doubled in the last 10 years? Has your satisfaction with state government doubled in the last 10 years? Would you pay double for the services you get today versus what you got from government 10 years ago?

Spending on the state and Federal levels is out of control. Would you willingly spend your money to buy:

  • A national database with your driver's license information?
  • Pay raises for Washington politicians (now $136,672 per year)?
  • An increase in the IRS budget by $600 million?
  • Subsidies for the New York Metropolitan Opera?
  • The services of US troops in 100 countries to claim for "defense?"
  • Forfeiture procedures to confiscate the assets of innocent people without filing charges or holding trials?
  • Radiation and syphilis experiments performed on unsuspecting victims?
  • Bombs with which to shower Iraq and make the world a more dangerous place?
  • An assault on the non-violent Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas?
  • An assault to kill Randy Weaver's wife and child?

What Can Be Done?

If we desire freedom, prosperity, and customer satisfaction, we must reduce government to its proper functions. We must vote for smaller government and allow people to create prosperity by giving them back their individual freedom. When people realize that their freedom is in jeopardy from the high tax burden, when they realize that taxes reduce prosperity, and when they realize they are not getting their money's worth from the taxes they pay, then they should vote for more freedom.

People will do whatever they can to avoid pernicious tax burdens. Taxes change the ways people invest and earn their livings. Some work less to pay lower taxes. Some join the booming underground market -- estimated to be nearly 25% of the economy!

The tired old parties continue to reduce your freedoms through ever-increasing tax burdens and more forced services and regulations. The Libertarian Party is the only party to consistently stand up for your liberty by fighting for smaller government.

Sandra Johnson was the Libertarian Party candidate for governor in 1998. The Colorado Freedom Report is not affiliated with the Libertarian Party, though it publishes opinions from its members and reports on its activities

The Colorado Freedom