Unequal taxation is slavery. This statement is not self-evident, and thus the terms in it need to be defined in order to prevent misunderstandings. Taxation is the government requiring its citizens to pay it a portion of the money they earn. Inequality is the government treating two citizens differently. Slavery is one person or entity forcibly taking another person’s time away from them. Unequal taxation is the government requiring one citizen to pay a higher percentage of their income than another.
A person’s income is representative of their time. They earn money when they use their time to provide either a product or a service for someone else. That other person gives them money because he or she values that product or service. In other words, a person trades their time for money, and money in turn represents the time they have spent.
When the government taxes a person, they are taxing his or her time. When a citizen’s income tax is 15%, the government is taking 15% of his or her time. This is a perfectly legitimate role of the government, as the government provides services for its citizens and in return the citizens must fund the government. As long as the taxation is equal for everyone, the government has not committed an immoral act. However, if taxation is made unequal, it is no different than slavery.
Here is an example of this. Person A made $10,000 in a year and person B made $11,000 in a year. The government taxed person A $1,000 and person B $2,000. Both had the same amount of money after taxes, $9,000, but person A was taxed at 10% and person B was taxed at 18.18%. The government required 8.18% more money from person B, and thus required 8.18% more of their time. This works in reverse as well. If person A and B were both taxed $1,000, person A would be paying an extra 0.91%, or be required to spend that much more of their time working for the government. In both scenarios, the person paying the higher percentage is being taxed unfairly. When the government asks a taxpayer to devote more time to the government, it takes away from that taxpayer’s time without necessarily offering proportional remuneration. One person’s time is being forcibly taken and used for another.
This unequal taxation is akin to slavery. A citizen’s time is being forcibly taken from them not for services they use, but rather for someone else. Additionally, taxes are mandatory. The IRS is a powerful force and if a person refuses to pay, they will be arrested and thrown into jail. The government, through unequal taxation, forcibly takes people’s time away from them and uses it for someone else. This would be slavery if perpetrated by a private individual.
If unequal taxation is slavery, then the only way for the government not to violate the fourteenth amendment is to equally tax its populous. The way this is done is through a flat tax. A flat tax is a when the government taxes everyone at the same percentage. Each citizen is then required to give the same proportion of their time to the government. This is the only fair way to tax; otherwise, the government is continuing slavery.