Taxation may be a power granted to the federal government under the first clause of the Constitution, but according to Judge Andrew Napolitano, that doesn’t mean it’s not theft.
Continue Reading Below
“This is a case made by your countryman John Locke, who argued that taxation is theft, because it’s a taking without consent,” he told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney during an interview on Tuesday. “And Thomas Jefferson said the only moral commercial transactions are those as to which there is consent.”
Though challenged in an 1881 Supreme Court case, the justices ultimately upheld the tax laws in place at the time, determining that income taxes did not constitute a “direct tax.”
But Napolitano insisted that instead of issuing taxes for every U.S. citizen, the government should implement a fee-for-service system, a payment model in which individuals pay separately for services, as needed.
“I would prefer fee for service, because then I could consent to what I want,” Napolitano said. He compared it to someone giving you a book that you don’t want in exchange for $20. “It’s what the government does: ‘Give us your money, and we’ll give you a service whether you want it or not,’” he said.
Critics of the fee-for-service model warn that it can exponentially raise the cost of the service while reducing the quality.