20A042 The Poll Tax Idea by Jim Davies, 10/20/2020    


During the Thatcher Era of the 1980s, I once had occasion to visit England and meandered around a pedestrian area of one of its smaller cities. I came upon a street demonstration by members of the local Labour Party. They sat to the Left of our Democrats, but were protesting the new "Poll Tax" of £1 per year per person. Yes; a Leftist outfit, protesting a tax! Something new under the sun.

So I chatted for a few minutes; this summarizes how it went. "Government here takes about half of all you earn, in taxes, isn't that right?" - "Yes."

"So why the fuss about £1 per year?"

"It's a tax on being alive. That's wrong. You shouldn't be taxed for existing."

"But you're taxed for earning enough to live on, and you're taxed for spending what you earn on clothing and housing and transport, and indirectly even on food and drink, and you couldn't remain alive without those things, so what's the difference?"

"Excuse me, I think that man over there has a question."

Thatcher's clever idea was eventually to replace all other taxes by the poll tax (larger than £1, no doubt) so as to equalize the burden. That just might drive home the absurdity of the whole scheme, for it would no longer be possible to vote for some goodie at someone else's expense - "the rich". That might in turn lead to a drastic reduction in the size and scope of government. Thatcher was never an anarchist, but I think she was a bit of a minarchist, as a disciple of Milton Friedman. Her idea could have improved things, Over There.

But Labour saw it coming, and the protests prevailed. No more poll tax.

Could such an idea work to terminate the State, as an alternative to TOLFA?

Let's see; fast-forward to the day when each person alive is paying for all three levels of government at the present rate, with only a poll tax. That total is $9.6 trillion a year, or (9.6 / 3.3 = ) $29,200 a year, or $116K per family of 4. Hey, that's what they cost today, it's just that the taxes are hidden as corporate tax, sales tax, property tax, inflation, etc etc ad naus. - but ultimately, it all does and must come from real people. When made clearly visible by a single poll tax that replaces all of those, might not those 330 million folk say Wait a bit, we could spend half that, pick just the goodies we want, and get better value on our own? - and so give government a one-way ticket outta here?

A big part of government's deception program is to fool people into supposing they are gaining benefits from it at someone else's expense, so this does have promise; when that fiction becomes impossible to sell any longer and everyone sees he is getting only what he pays for himself, its raison d'être will shrink, and that is good.

Now, to replace all those others by a single poll tax would mean a huge upheaval. Nonetheless, if it were done, after all the dust has settled, the central lesson for all would be that John Q is no longer getting a benefit at someone else's expense but is having to pay for it all himself, via an expensive middleman called "government". It's then a short step to cut out the middleman.

Is it likely to happen? - no. The above reasoning is not beyond the mental skills of our rulers, so they will do their best to keep taxation complicated, in order that John Q never reaches that correct conclusion. That's what the UK Labour Party did, and it prevailed. Thatcher was a rare exception. In addition, the above reasoning may be beyond a big segment of the population, which has been trained relentlessly for eight generations to mistake government for a benevolent provider of goodies; so the demand for such a change is uncertain. The vital and missing ingredient is re-education.

So TOLFA, or an equivalent, is indispensible. The population must learn that government is inherently evil and totally needless. Then everyone will walk off their government jobs, and the reason government will then evaporate is not the size or type of the tax burden it was imposing but the absence of anyone to work for it.

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