Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome to the Slaughterhouse!: Property Taxes!

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter." George Washington
Welcome to the Slaughterhouse, America!!

By Nicholas Meyeres 

North Dakota is considering a measure that abolishes property taxes entirely as of this week. Good for you, North Dakota! I never understood property taxation anyway. It comes off as unconstitutional on just about every level to me, and is really nothing short of a tyrannical feudal system for all intents and purposes. 


Well, okay, we obviously don’t live under a feudal regime, however property taxation seems to presuppose a type of feudal hierarchy no matter how you slice it anyway. Sure, if it were a true feudal regime it would be a more distributive state-run system, and we obviously do not live in one of those, but because of exactly that this renders property taxes even more patently absurd to my mind. 

The bottom line is this: I loathe the very idea property taxes. In fact, the more I consider it, I probably abhor the idea even more than mere income or sales taxes. There is simply something much more sinister about them than meets the eye. After all, income tax, no matter how intrusive and redundant they seem, intimates that only a certain percentage of one's income is owed to the government for the “maintenance of public goods”. Property taxation, however, says something vastly more insidious. 

Property taxes by definition, regardless of its use or where it’s directed, is a claim by the state of COMPLETE ownership of your land. And if you are found to be in default of paying property tax at all, the state can then seize that property even if you have already bought and paid for that land in full. 

What you really have is a system where we pay a fee to a type of tyrannical landlord while we, the lowly voters, are permitted to live on that land only if we pay them to do so. Hmmmmmm…. maybe it is more like a feudal system than even I care to believe! 
Either way, make no mistake about it, if the state can confiscate your already paid-for property when you become tax delinquent, then you truly do not own that land in the first place. The state does. How every property owner in America cannot be up in arms because of this is beyond me. 

Not to mention, property taxes seem unconstitutional because it does not allow us to live in a truly free land where we are secure in the liberty to own said personal property. I am no constitutional scholar, but I do realize that the government is treading on hallowed ground both figuratively and perhaps even literally, if they are allowed to infringe on our property rights as designated by the United States Constitution. 

The Fifth Amendment says in part that we are not to be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. Yet, how many of us have at least heard instances where American citizens have lost their property, home or land because they have failed to pay property taxes? It occurs throughout the entire country on a near daily basis. This seems not only immoral and unethical in my mind, but nothing shy of criminal and in violation of one’s own civil rights. 

Consider this: nearly every sale of property occurs without any due process at all. That is to say, there has been no court hearing, no judgment, nor adjudication of facts and no consideration given for the actual laws regarding any taxation in the first place. But doesn’t the Fifth Amendment say that we are not to “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”? 

This simply shouldn’t be allowed to stand, and North Dakota is right to consider abolishing this tax altogether. Still, having said all of that I do realize that cutting property taxes will not only be difficult there (let alone in virtually every other state), but almost impossible because it is the dominant tax assessed by cities, counties and school districts. But, for that very reason, we should endeavor to eliminate this tax let alone any and every other department and agency that have outlived their usefulness, and create a smaller, fiscally less demanding government that will permit its citizens to function more freely in a market more conducive to growth and prosperity. 

On a more personal level, if a good chunk of my property taxes go to the local school district I live in, why should I have to pay when I have no children who attend unless I choose to pay? For that matter, why should I have to support any public paid-for entity through my taxes in which I may not agree? Abortion funding, the military industrial complex, the death penalty, public school systems, and so on. The list could be endless in regard to what we as American individuals consider morally repugnant. 

Yet, at its core, Penn Jillette put it best in regard to that very thing, “People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we’re compassionate we’ll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint.”
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