“Nothing is certain but death and taxes” – this idiomatic expression attributed to Benjamin Franklin has long been synonymous with certainty in a constantly changing world. Not long after the beginning of civilization as we know it, people began to pay taxes in support of the things we now take for granted: food, housing, infrastructure, defense and much more. A history of taxation, therefore, reads almost like a history of society and culture in general.
What exactly are taxes?
The word tax comes from the Latin word taxare which means “to asses”. It was used to determine the amount of punishment or penalty that would be applied on someone.
The first records of taxes are from Egypt, around 5000 years ago, and they are mentioned in several historical documents, including the bible. Although back then they were very different, as the Pharaoh would ask that 1/5 of the grain harvest got send to him as tax.
So, one can see clearly that taxes have always been a percentage of ones income that is paid to the government authorities to finance the public services. Even Jesus said “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”.
Why nobody likes them?
Several studies have shown that people don’t like to pay taxes because A) the tax filing systems are overly complicated and B) they don’t see where the money goes. In the western world, the tax systems are in general confusing to the public, requiring you to hire an accountant to help you with them, or face penalties and overcharges. People don’t understand all the different taxes that they are required to pay, but yet they are expected to pay them anyways. This leads to stress, hassle, and disaffection for the system, and therefor the taxes.
And let’s not forget about the twisted budget that the governments assign for projects like half a million euros to paint the pavement of a street or the 750 billion dollars used in Defense Budget in the US in 2021 alone. Makes you wonder if you really need to pay so much to maintain the society, right?
Do we need taxes?
Taxes allow the civilisation to supply itself with army, medical assistance, roads, education, among others. Without taxes, none of this could work and we would live on a “everyone provides for themselves” type of society, or at least that’s what we are taught.
But is this really true?
There are countries with little to no taxes, like the United Arab Emirates or Switzerland, where people are actually happier and have better quality of life. True, there is no government provided education or health system, but people can choose their own health insurance at affordable rates (yes US, I’m looking at you) and send their kids to the best schools. This type of governments have shown that taxes are not a necessity, and in many instances are a burden for business owners and entrepreneurs, who are the ones actually moving our economy and creating employment.
We believe that a system with no taxes is not only possible but ideal. Come discover it with us.
The Beacon team