Yes, You Can Have Your Roads and Your Tax Money, Too

by Mike Shaner

For as long as there have been rulers, there have been people who do not want to be ruled. And people who find such comfort in slavery view anyone not wearing those chains as indecent, insane, and dangerous.

The evolution of power in all its dark brutality, if seen from the mountain top, is a sight to behold. Torturous and murderous to be sure, but also a brilliance passed and perfected from generation to generation. The American system of tyranny is perhaps the most eloquently deranged of them all. To make a people so comfortable in servitude that they do not feel the weight of their chains is a feat that must be admired as much for the genius as condemned for the atrocity.

The conquering occurs in far away lands, blinding the public from the horrors of war. The mass imprisonment occurring far from the suburbs, allowing the populace to ignore its existence. But perhaps the most sinister of all is the theft that occurs in plain view—yet almost without notice.

Gone are the tax collectors of old. Imagine what the response might be, today, if everyone had to write a check to the government each week. As much as the system should be admonished, it also has to be admired. A person is less likely to cry out if he does not feel the pain. Death by a trillion tiny cuts. He doesn’t even know he is dying.

Instead of sending strongmen to your door every Friday, they conscripted private individuals—business owners—as agents of the state and tasked them with taking your money before you even see it. It is gone. You’ve lost it, but you don’t mind because you never even knew it was yours.

Anything taken by the threat of force is immoral theft. Taxes are taken, regardless of purpose or consent, by the threat of force. All taxation is theft. The most sinister of thievery is the income tax, because not only are they taking what is yours and making it theirs, but they are explicitly stating they are entitled to the product of your labor. They own your labor. What is the definition of slavery?

Nothing, with the possible exception of Federal elections, arouses the pandemic Stockholm Syndrome so much as pointing out these indisputable facts. And their favorite tantrum? “But who will build our roads?” As if it is morally justified to steal from me to produce something you want. It isn’t, but who would build our roads? I’m glad you asked. The answer is glaringly obvious. It isn’t hidden. It is written in history.

A Brief History Of Roads

The United States has existed without a Federal income tax longer than it has with one. It is an ironic side note that the first income tax was instituted by Abraham Lincoln, ‘The Great Emancipator’, (he also instituted conscription for the first time), but that income tax served only as long as the war and had nothing to do with roads. The first permanent income tax wasn’t enacted until 1913—but we had roads long before 1913. In fact, as long as there has been society, there have been roads to serve the vehicle of that time.

Private industry has always produced roads. Why? Roads are profitable. People have goods to sell and they need to get them to market. Trails were created by explorers. They were expanded by cowboys and ranchers who needed the eastern market to buy their beef. Miners and logging companies modernized them even further as society began to grow and demanded minerals and lumber to construct their towns. As the towns popped up, so too did the roads connecting them. A beautifully organic experience. The rise of a civilization with a standard of living the world had never seen before, born totally of the free market. As society evolved, so did the need for connection.

Consider for a moment what private industry has achieved, literally connecting the world and delivering it light from darkness:

  • In 1846, the first commercial telegraph lines were completed by The Magnetic Telegraph Company.
  • The first commercial telephone exchange was opened in New Haven Connecticut with 21 subscribers on January 28, 1878.
  • The commercial distribution of electricity began in 1882 when electricity was produced for electric lighting.
  • Private industry literally produced the automobile. And made it affordable.

With the new mode of transportation came a new need for conveyance. Modernized roads began to develop from town to town. New markets were emerging and entrepreneurs saw the need to connect them. They invested in new roads. Men with big dreams designed and built the roads that created a new economy. They literally built the infrastructure statists claim cannot exist without government theft.

The automobile became wildly popular and new opportunities emerged. New men with still bigger dreams built bigger roads. Carl Fischer conceived the first transcontinental highway in 1912. It ran 3,389 miles across 13 states from New York City to San Francisco. It was formally dedicated in 1913. One year later. 3,389 miles using 1912 technology. How long has it taken the government, in the cyber age, to fix that pothole down the street?

Not satisfied with the Lincoln Highway, in 1914, Fischer unveiled The Dixie Highway, which ran an astonishing 5,786 miles from Chicago to Miami. Fischer created the roads that connected east to west and north to south. All done without federal tax money.

“But, but, but… the world has changed—there is no way the needs of modern transportation could be met without government oversight!” Well, alright, let us assume that a system that brought us commercialized mass communication, electricity, air travel, television, video games, and (wait for it) roads, couldn’t provide more efficient road construction and maintenance than modern government. Let us assume that unimaginable concept for the sake of argument, we need the government to build our roads. Do we also need them to own our labor and steal from us to do so? The math says no.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

The Federal government raised $3.5 trillion in 2019, of which $1.75 trillion came from federal income tax. For context, in the year 2000, the entire revenue including income tax was $1.88 trillion. Are we really to assume that if they operated on the same revenue raised in the year 2000 the U.S. would descend into a third world hell? That means the federal government raised $1.75 trillion that didn’t come from slave labor. What did they spend it on?

  • $716 billion was spent on the military industrial complex. $24.4 Billion of that to keep troops stationed in 140 countries.
  • $40 billion gifted to foreign countries, allies and enemies like, as foreign aid.
  • $8 billion on the Prison industrial complex.
  • $15 billion to fund the CIA
  • $593 billion to pay INTEREST on the national debt.
  • $282 billion on welfare programs
  • Roughly $200 million to pay the salaries and pensions of current and former members of Congress and their staff. This does not include travel, healthcare, and the untold other perks they receive. Likely, this unfathomable amount is far higher.
  • In total, they spent $1.4 trillion to imprison people like Chelsea Manning for telling us truths we don’t deserve to know, to police the world, and pay (only interest) on the credit card. This doesn’t include funding most of the alphabet agencies like the FTA, FDA, etc…

How much did they spend on the roads? A (comparatively) paltry $50 billion.

Simply bringing the troops home, reducing the prison industrial complex, and ending foreign aid would more than cover the costs of your precious roads while still allowing for:

  • Current levels of entitlement spending.
  • A (ridiculous) $600 billion dollar military budget.
  • Paying the ridiculous debt interest and the prison industrial complex.

Do we need a $600 billion military and a prison industrial complex? Of course not, but the neocons could still have them without stealing from me, while continuing to build your roads.

Taxation is theft. Income taxation is free range slavery. Too many of you are willing to sell yourselves in exchange for a government monopoly on road construction. The saddest part is you don’t have to. You can have your labor and your roads.


Mike Shaner is a liberty activist and writer. You can read this article and more of his writings at Follow him on Twitter @csawordsmith.

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