WE ALL know the moral arguments for taxation: it pays for police, roads, hospitals and other vital services. But there is a moral case against taxation too – and a surprisingly strong one.
First, while most of us would happily make some voluntary contribution to essential services, it is only the threat of prison that makes us stump up taxes at today’s eye-watering levels. Tax is extracted by force – and the use of force is an evil we want to minimise. That puts an awesome responsibility on governments to ensure that every penny they extract through coercion is spent wisely. Waste and bureaucracy are not just a drain on the economy – they are a moral outrage.