You would be insulted, wouldn't you, to be asked if you are in love with taxes. Everybody knows that nobody loves taxes, that everyone hates them; even those who levy them would prefer not to do it, but they feel they are obliged to.
It is a fact that if almost everyone abhors taxes, almost everyone too accepts them. They accept them as a necessary evil. Like a cold snap in winter or a heatwave in summer: something one does not like, but that cannot be avoided.
Let us suppose you hear someone complain about taxes, and then say to him: "You are right, and if you agree, we will call for the elimination of all taxes, because there is no tax that is likable for those who pay them." If this person is not a Social Crediter, he or she will reply: "Oh no, we need taxes!"
There are even people who ask governments to increase taxes... for other people, but not for them! For example, workers inspired by socialist slogans will ask to make the rich pay, and increase taxes on the profits of companies. Tenants will want landlords to pay more taxes, and similarly, landlords will want tenants to pay more taxes, etc.
If governments grant the prayers of each and everyone, it is everybody who will be included and targeted by tax increases. For example, when the poor ask governments to tax big companies, they forget that these companies can easily switch these tax increases to the poor by including them in the prices of the goods they make.
As a matter of fact, the rise in the cost of living is due in large part to taxes paid during the various stages of production, from raw material to the delivery of the finished good to the consumer. If the cost of living is higher, it is certainly not because it is more difficult to produce: on the contrary, if prices were in keeping with the degree of easiness or difficulty to produce, prices would always fall instead of going up.
One can read in Gorham Munson's Aladdin's Lamp:
"An American economist, V. E. Ayres, reminds us that in the past, the tax collector was regarded as a close relative of the devil. And we are not talking here about primitive tribes. For most of the past centuries, among civilized peoples, the function of collecting taxes was too much held in contempt to be confided to public officials. This task was entrusted to men who had combined characters, of a secret police officer and a racketeer. During the Roman Empire, these people were the 'publicans', with all the contempt attached to this word by honest people.
"How is it that taxation, which was so badly, regarded in the past, has become something, if not liked, at least respected?
"According to Mr. Ayres, this change is linked to the growth of indirect taxation, which took place at the same rate as the growth of commerce. The progress of trade hid the progress of indirect taxation.
"Our retailers, Mr. Ayres justly points out, have become unofficial and unpaid tax collectors.
"Modern use of accounting allows governments to follow the retailers' business figures. Moreover, the retailer can easily, through the price system, make the customers pay these taxes, while believing they are paying only the price of the good itself.
"Taxes, which were formerly held as a dreadful oppression, have thus become the most respectable form of oppression, absolved by the very victims it bleeds." (Aladdin's Lamp, p. 300.)
Objects of loathing yesterday, taxes have become today accepted companions. However, it is precisely today, because of progress, that taxes should diminish gradually and rapidly, until they completely disappear. The very existence of taxes in today's world is a real anachronism.
Nobody will deny that in our advanced countries, the productive capacity keeps growing. This growth is a form of enrichment. It is not taxes, but dividends, that correspond to enrichment. Taxes and progress existing at the same time are nothing but the indication and the result of a false financial system. There is a basic contradiction between taxes and progress.
That is why the Social Crediters, who call for a financial system that reflects economic realities, say: "It is no longer the time of taxes, but of dividends." Hence their slogan: Against taxes! For dividends! This is exactly the opposite of the socialists who complain about dividends collected by the capitalists. The socialists want to eliminate dividends completely, whereas the Social Crediters want to distribute them to everyone.
Socialism, just like taxes, is out of date, is an anachronism.
There are some intellectuals who wrote that socialism is in the course of history. These intellectuals are also an anachronism. They have not even reached the steam age; how will they look when they enter the computer age?
The course of history, although altered by some powerful influences, leads towards a civilization of economic security for all, of dividends for all; a civilization of free activities, and no longer of the obligation of being hired in order to have the right to live; a civilization of associationism, and not only of salaried people; a civilization of freedom and blossoming of the human person, and no longer of collectivism; a Social Credit civilization, and not a socialist ant's nest.
But let us go back to taxes.
A few years ago, a Social Credit group of Eastbourne, England, was listening to a lecture of Mr. Feather, of Southend. This Mr. Feather is a member of the Chartered Accountants Institute of England, so he knows quite a lot about accounting. Besides, let us not forget that the money system is basically an accounting system.
The title of Mr. Feather's lecture was: "Are taxes really necessary?" To which he replied: Although taxation could have been necessary and inevitable in a primitive society, the case is very different in modern conditions of production, where it is erroneous to accept the tax system as inevitable and universally necessary.
In a primitive society, when all production came from human labor, total production was barely enough to escape famine. So it could have been necessary to deprive producers of a part of the goods they had earned through their work, in order to give something to live for those who where kept busy with the administration or defense of the nation, or who could not produce goods themselves. It was necessary then to levy taxes on a part of the producers' personal earnings.
However, it is quite another story with today's production. The largest part of today's production is no longer due to human labor, but to the use of machines that can produce with less and less human labor. This production cannot be totally consumed by those who work with these machines, and even less be consumed by the machines themselves.
So a large part of today's production is available for those who are taken by the administration of the nation and other tasks that do not directly produce goods.
The point is simply to establish a method of distribution that corresponds to this fact, and that guarantees everyone with a purchasing power that obviously takes into account the various occupations of the people, but leaves nobody penniless, since production can easily be plentiful when people have sufficient purchasing power to express their needs.
In other words, this is having progress replace taxes. Taxation is no longer necessary. The point is to adapt to present conditions of production financial regulations that were established for primitive conditions of production.
What is the logic of taking from Peter's plate, who helps machines to produce, to put a share in Paul's plate, who works in the administration, when there are enough products to supply Paul with what he needs without taking anything away from Peter.