Is the Government’s Budget Equal to GDP?

by | Aug 8, 2016

Is the Government’s Budget Equal to GDP?

by | Aug 8, 2016

Memo to news people: tax cuts don’t have to be paid for. The money is ours; the government takes it from us by threat of force, i.e., taxation. It’s government programs that have to be paid for. Tax cuts are not government programs. So if you want to ask how government programs will be paid for if taxes are cut, fine. I will answer that the programs should be abolished.

The more you think about the notion that tax cuts must be paid for, the more ridiculous it sounds. One might say tax cuts have have to be made up for (by cutting spending), because the government would have less revenue, but not paid for. Moreover, since taxpayers pay for everything government does (sooner or later), the conventional wisdom about paying for tax cuts translates to: How should the taxpayers pay for their tax cuts? To which the only proper answer is: Huh? Say what?

From the taxpayers’ vantage, tax cuts cost nothing. We might say they cost the politicians, bureaucrats, and government contractors something–but it’s something they had no right to anyway. Securing my wallet “costs” a would-be thief my money. But who cares?

Final point: a hidden premise of this belief is that the government properly owns all wealth and income. In budget-talk when the government gives you a chance to recover or hold onto some of your money, say, via a tax deduction or credit, that is known as a “tax expenditure”; in other words, it’s just another way for government to spend (its) money. But under that way of thinking it follows that not taking the money in the first place is also a tax expenditure. What’s the difference between, on the one hand, taking money and giving some back and, on the other, not taking the full amount to begin with? Thus the whole GDP must be the government’s budget because the politicians, as they see things, “spend” all of it one way or another.
This is pretty absurd. So let’s just acknowledge that what you honestly earn is yours and that the government is a thief because taxation is theft.

About Sheldon Richman

Sheldon Richman is the executive editor of The Libertarian Institute, senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society, and a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He is the former senior editor at the Cato Institute and Institute for Humane Studies, former editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education, and former vice president at the Future of Freedom Foundation. His latest book is Coming to Palestine.

Our Books

5 Libooks072420lg

Read My Books

Our Books

5 Libooks072420lg

Related Articles

Related

Who Helped Timothy McVeigh Blow Up Oklahoma City?

Who Helped Timothy McVeigh Blow Up Oklahoma City?

Cassville is located in the extreme southwest of Missouri, sitting adjacent to the northeastern Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas state borders. It’s about an hour away from the nearby cities of Joplin and Carthage and about two and a half hours, 130 miles, from Elohim...

read more
Why I Write

Why I Write

I was born in Iowa, raised in the mountains of Virginia, and attended Virginia Tech sporadically from 1974 to 1976 before dropping out to try my luck writing. At some point in the late 1970s, individual liberty became my highest political value and I resolved to do...

read more
Hey Uncle Sam, Hands Off Our Social Media!

Hey Uncle Sam, Hands Off Our Social Media!

Rep. Matt Gaetz made a pair of bizarre tweets recently calling for the Department of Justice to issue injunctions against Facebook and Twitter for “trying to silence the President.” This is a strange demand from anyone claiming to be a proponent of small government....

read more
Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

by Scott Horton

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1 (3)

What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

by Sheldon Richman

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1 (2)

Coming to Palestine

by Sheldon Richman

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1 (4)

No Quarter: The Ravings of William Norman Grigg

by Will Grigg

Minimalistic Mockup Of A Paperback Book With A Customizable Background 3438 El1 (1)

The Great Ron Paul

by Scott Horton

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This