Legitimate Taxation or Theft by Government?

“Thou shalt not steal” is the 8th Commandment. To steal is to take the property of another against his will. If theft by an individual is wrong can theft by government be condoned? Yes, but only under certain specific circumstances:

The government must be established by the consent of the governed.
The tax must be for a purpose authorized by the governed.

Our national and state governments have been established and maintained by the consent of the governed, but we must establish the purposes authorized by the Constitutional rule of law and only those purposes warrant taxation.

For the national government of the United States, the standard is the U.S. Constitution as amended and those laws that are allowed by the Constitution. In Georgia the standard is the Georgia State Constitution and those state laws that are allowed by the State Constitution. When there is a conflict between the national law and the state law, state law is superior except in those enumerated powers specified in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution with the sole exception being the delegation in the U.S. Constitution (principally in the Bill of Rights) of some rights directly to the citizens which preclude government at any level from infringing on those rights. Local governments only exist at the will of the state and as such may do nothing that is not delegated to them by the state.

The funding of government actions which meet all of the above criteria are legitimate and are not theft as they are authorized by the governed. Any government actions not consistent with any part of the above criteria are theft, wrong, immoral and legally unenforceable. Every citizen and every state has the moral right to refuse to pay any tax that is not properly authorized.

How much should we be taxed?

Taxation should only be in the amount necessary to accomplish the properly authorized actions. Those actions can be accomplished by:

3.3% local
3.3% state
3.3% national
9.9% total tax

The 9.9% being slightly less than the tithe is no mistake. We must individually and as a nation have proper priorities. Government at every level must be restrained so that only legitimate functions of government are performed. When that is done 9.9% will be plenty. If we limit taxation to this amount our individual and family budgets and our economy as a whole will benefit greatly.

How should we be taxed?

There are only two things that can be taxed: production (income) and consumption (spending). To tax something is to put a penalty on it. When a behavior is penalized there is a reduction in that behavior. Wealth for a nation, a state or an individual is what is produced minus what is consumed:


A decrease in production causes a decrease in wealth. Therefore, production should not be taxed. A decrease in consumption causes an increase in wealth. Therefore, consumption is the better source of tax revenue.

But the Biblical tithe was based on production and not consumption. Doesn’t God know best?

The Biblical tithe was based on the blessings of God. By tithing on production/income/blessings the individual is reminded of the grace of God that is the root of all love, truth and individual salvation. God does know best. His choice of asking for a portion of our increase is not a model for the collection of taxes by civil government. It is a reminder that all we have comes by God’s grace. Balance is provided by the tithe on production and the tax on consumption; grace balanced by force.

Any payments to any government (other than gifts) are taxes. Taxes may be specific or general. Specific taxes are in direct proportion to benefit received. An example is the stamp purchased from the post office. The post office should be eliminated (by Constitutional Amendment) but until then it is a properly authorized government function. General taxes are those collected from a broad base of taxpayers for a variety of uses.

General taxation, being the bulk of taxation, is what is at issue here. Having established that taxes should be on consumption all that remains is to determine which forms of consumption should be taxed. The ideal characteristics of taxed consumption are:

Broad base so everyone pays
If one person pays another’s share this redistribution of wealth becomes government-sponsored theft.
On the minimum basket of goods and services for efficiency sake
Waste is a form of theft.
On end users only as intermediate users are actually producers
No VAT (value added tax) and no tax on businesses.

Taxing corporations is especially destructive of individual and national wealth. Corporations do not really pay taxes; they simply pass the corporate taxation on to the consumer of their products or services. This transfer is inefficient and counterproductive. If the goods and/or services are consumed in this country/state the citizenry pays the tax as surely as if they were taxed more directly and efficiently. If foreigners consume the good and/or services it is even more important that we do not reduce that consumption by raising the price. When our local production is sold abroad we profit as individuals (through job creation), as corporations (through profits for owners/stockholders) and as a nation through a favorable balance of trade with other nations. The danger of a deficit trade balance is beyond the scope of this article.

Therefore we are left with taxing individuals on their purchases of goods and/or services. To tax both goods and services would be good in that it is more broad based but bad in that it is an inefficient taxing of a larger number of transactions. Since all citizens purchase both goods and services we need only tax one. Since purchases of tangible goods are more easily monitored and accounted for they are the preferred source of tax.

Therefore, a sales tax on tangible goods is the best tax. For simplicity, efficiency and protection from governmental limitations on our liberties the tax should be at the same rate and on all purchases of non-investment tangible finished goods. There is a temptation to set varying tax rates to encourage or discourage some expenditures. Social engineering is not the proper or Constitutional role of government and no class of expenditure should be preferred or penalized to accomplish such an end.

What about poor people? Surely we shouldn’t tax the poor!

Poor people are already getting an unavoidable and huge advantage in that they are taxed much less because they purchase much less. A good argument could be made that each person should pay the same number of dollars in taxes. It is imperative that we avoid the situation in which the poorest 51% of the electorate votes for whoever will steal from the most productive 49% to provide booty to those who are less productive. Aid to the poor is a moral responsibility of individuals, families and churches. It is not the role of government and government is not in a position to help the poor the way individuals, families and churches can. Government too often only enables the continuation of bad habits and choices without the accountability provided my local involvement.

What about real estate property taxes?

Real Estate should not be taxed. Property taxes make homeowners tenants of the government, subject to eviction for non-payment and thus not full owners.

What better way to recover from the Real Estate Depression than to eliminate real estate property taxes? Values would go up immediately as people would have all the advantages of ownership without the biggest disadvantage of ownership.

It would also create a greater incentive to own outright. Now you really can’t own outright because even if you pay off the mortgage you’ll still have an annual payment for taxes. As we become less leveraged in real estate ownership we are all less vulnerable to a market crash like we’ve had recently as a result of too much debt. That makes all of our society more secure, owners and renters alike, as our economy is more stable and jobs are less at risk due to drastic adjustments in the housing market.

To afford the elimination of property taxes we will obviously have to reduce the size and scope of government or find other sources of income for the government. The first choice is best but even if we have to increase the consumption tax what could be worse than taxing our homes and land?

Is this politically achievable?

In politics the best policy is often the enemy of good policy. We are in a situation today that is very destructive. If the best policy is not politically viable today we should attempt to move to something better than what we have now. The best politically expedient alternative on the horizon is the FairTax.


America is going to Hell. What do we do now?

1.  Pray humbly to the God of the Bible.

2.  Learn God’s truth directly from the Bible.

3.  Be and make disciples of Jesus Christ.

4.  Educate ourselves and the electorate.

5.  Don’t waste resources fighting every individual symptom.

6.  Fix the root problems.

7.  Elect constitutionalists who understand the proper (limited) role of government.

8.  Jury nullification of unconstitutional and immoral laws.

9.  State nullification of unconstitutional laws — backed by interposition.

10.  Secession, but only as a last resort — as it was in 1776!


Is anybody’s marriage better because government at any level is involved? My marriage is between me & Pam & most importantly, God. Government has no legitimate role in the institution. It’s a religious covenant or a civil contract or both. Covenants should be outside the reach of governments. Contracts may be enforceable in government courts but government is not a party to to the contract.

The damage done to our society by government’s intervention with “no fault divorce” and with increased transfers of wealth to those who are not married are just two examples of disastrous government policy.

Marriage hasn’t failed. Individuals have failed. Society has failed. Government has failed. Marriage works whenever done properly.

God’s Will

I see God’s will in 3 categories:

The moral will of God — what’s right and wrong

The revealed will of God — prophetically revealed future

The secret will of God — what will happen because what God wants God gets

Violations of the moral will of God may indeed be within the revealed will of God or the secret will of God. This does not excuse those violations from judgment.

Ultimately: God is God and he does as he pleases.

Salvation vs. the Christian life

The “Christian life” is not easy and does involve much work along with resistance from the world.

Salvation is different. If you’re working for God’s love and acceptance and salvation from the punishment we’re all rightly due, then you still haven’t accepted (or received) God’s grace.

All we need to do, all we can do is to accept God’s terms:

Admit we’re not God. Admit God owes us nothing but punishment. Reject sin as your desire and ask for the mercy and grace that we do not deserve. Trust in God’s work on our behalf — that God himself came to earth in human form (Jesus Christ) and was punished by death on the cross which was taking the punishment that was due us, then rose from the dead proving his power over Sin. Humility is the key. If we claim to have done anything that in any way entitles us to God’s grace and mercy we are rejected for our pride and our rejection of God’s free gift. It is a free gift of God, but it must be accepted on God’s terms.

Once we truly rely on God and not on ourselves we realize how much God loves us and we have a new heart that desires to attempt to live in a way that is pleasing to God. But it is not that lifestyle that is pleasing to God that gets us to heaven. That is only by God’s grace. Even the faith to trust in God’s grace is a gift of God’s grace.  

Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

Reformation Academy

We are a not-for-profit para-church entity designed to compliment the local church by offering something ‘between Sunday School and seminary.’

God has revealed Himself through nature, conscience & especially in Scripture so that we may know God as He would have us to know Him and that we may know who we are relative to God. This wholistic understanding of systematic theology from logic, philosophy and especially from Scripture is sadly lacking in much of the visible church of today in America. We hope to provide resources that will allow those of us who may choose to humbly seek the true God of creation and redemption to gain knowledge of God and peace with God.

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