Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rothbard tackles the insidious VAT

In this essay criticizing the possible implementation of a Value Added Tax back in the 1970’s by the Nixon administration, Murray Rothbard once again exhibits the sharp insight and the scalpel like perspicuity that he would readily wield into a cogent libertarian argument. In the case of the VAT, the argument raised by Rothbard against it still remains strong and very convincing. Here is an abstract:

The American public will pay a high price indeed for the clandestine nature of the VAT. We will be mulcted of a large and increasing amount of funds, extracted in a hidden but no less burdensome manner, just at a time when the government seemed to have reached the limit of the tax burden that the people will allow. It will be funds that will aggravate the burdens on the already long-suffering average middle-class American. And to top it off, the VAT will cripple profits; injure competition, small business, and new creative firms; raise prices; and greatly aggravate unemployment. It will pit consumers against business, and intensify conflicts within society.

I urge you, dear reader, to read this essay. It is as relevant today as when it was written thirty-eight years ago.


Jeff Perren said...

Thanks for the link! Interesting and useful.

Even though some taxes have been reduced (and by substantial percentages) since 1972, it's appalling to realize that intellectually the country is no closer than it was 40 years ago to realizing the pernicious nature of all taxes, especially the income tax.

When will people begin to explore other ways to finance government?

Worse still, when are they going to insist governments spend less money, so they require less revenue?

Worst of all, when oh when will the general voter realize the absolutely HUGE impact irrational regulation has on the cost and price of EVERYTHING.

A basic Econ class - which requires reading of Henry Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson at minimum - should be required to get a college degree in every university.

VH said...


The two competing economic schools that currently hold sway in the halls of power, Keynesianism and Monetarism, are still very popular; they are, sadly, both economic philosophies of state power: they do nothing to insist governments spend less money.

Henry Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson is a favorite.

Harrison said...

The VAT can serve only one purpose: to provide the fuel for a larger government.