What if there was a Tax Fair, like a Science Fair, where kids would be asked to find creative alternatives to taxation?
We all know about science fairs, and many of us participated in some form of science fair or experiment as kids in school. What was the purpose? Ideally, to inspire the creativity in kids to find new solutions to world problems.
I remember when I was in school, some of the big topics in the science fairs were mostly green - reducing pollution, finding alternative energy, etc. It wasn't that we were expected to find complete, fully functional solutions. You could say it has multiple purposes, but it seems like one major purpose is to find new ideas that could change society for the better.
Some major developments have even come out of these projects. Once in a while you see a kid who invented a new way to detect or cure a disease. Again, it might not fully functional or ready for commercialization, but the ideas alone could help larger groups of scientists look into alternatives that they may have never thought of.
So what does this have to do with taxation?
I meet a lot of people, and when I tell them that taxation is theft, they used to reply "no it isn't". But times are changing, and now the common reply is more along the lines of "but how will we fund public services?". To many in the anti-tax community, this is frustrating, but it should be seen as progress. We have now moved from the question of whether or not it is theft, to whether or not it is necessary.
Necessity is a completely different question, but might not be the right question. Let's assume first that all public services are necessities, although that could be disputed. Determining whether taxation is necessary to fund those programs relies on first determining if there are any other solutions for funding them. To say that taxation is necessary is to say that there are no other alternatives. But how many alternatives have been tested?
It's easy to assume that any current system that works well, is the only system that works, or the system that works best. That's because there is nothing to compare it to. For example, we can't compare the amount of revenue raised to pay for a judicial system by taxes, to a system that funds itself in other methods, if we are completely unaware of those other methods. It's possible that those methods have never been discovered, or it's possible the person who does not consider them has just not encountered them.
To say that taxation is necessary, implies that it is the only way to raise revenue to fund public services. Of course, I am always asked "well tell me how we do it". I can't claim to know all the answers. There are so many public services in so many different communities, that there are probably a million different ways fund them. Some of those funding methods might work better in one geographic region than another, or might be more acceptable than others to the providers and recipients of those services.
Consider this analogy in the automobile industry. Saying "Gasoline powered cars make too much pollution" is like saying "Taxation is theft!". 50 years ago, it would have been acceptable to say "Deal with it!", but because a few people challenged that, we now have gas cars that pollute less, hybrid cars that pollute even less, and zero emission electric cars.
Advocates against these technologies will tell you all of the problems with electric cars, like the fact that the power still comes from coal fueled power plants. That might be true, but it's progress. And while that progress has been made, progress is being made to transition from coal power to other cleaner power.
None of this would be possible if we all just accepted the fact that cars make pollution, and that was the only way to fuel them. The same is true of government. There are solutions, we just have to start looking.
Back to the question, what if we created a Tax Fair, like a Science Fair, where kids would be asked to find creative alternatives to taxation? What if we presented these ideas to eachother, and gave awards to the best ideas? What if advocates in government started trying some of these ideas on a small scale, and the ones that worked were expanded to be used in more programs on a larger scale?
The only way to find solutions is to start asking questions.
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