All over the world, governments have spent huge amounts of money on stimulus packages to rescue their economies from the financial crisis. As a consequence, many are now facing humongous budget deficits. They are looking for efficient ways to increase taxes to pay off some of the debt.

An efficient tax is one that raises large amounts of money, but does not cause taxpayers to shift their efforts and resources into unproductive activities. If a tax becomes too onerous, taxpayers will find ways to avoid paying the tax by investing in activities that are not taxed, but are less beneficial to the nation.

Economists put a lot of effort into identifying efficient taxes. Unfortunately, they are missing the point. Taxation is not an issue of efficiency. Taxation is a moral issue.

The basic moral questions are quite simple.

Putting this another way, stealing is taking things that belong to others without their permission. Stealing is morally wrong. Is stealing morally right, if the thief is stealing for a good cause? Is stealing justified, if the thief gives the proceeds to someone who is poor?

From the scriptures, I cannot see any justification for income or wealth to be taken from one person by force and given to another.

If these moral issues are not resolved, discussing efficient taxation is irrelevant. Developing efficient taxation is no different from Robin Hood replacing his bow and arrow with a machine gun.

Taxation is a moral issue.

Return to Voluntary Taxation.