The Cost of Everything

One thing most people overlook in the course of day to day life is the degree to which governments make everything we purchase far more expensive than it would otherwise be. Consider that every company that manufactures a product needs to first procure raw materials, shape those materials to their specific needs and combine those parts into the finished product, then distribute (transport) them to buyers/vendors who will then sell them to consumers.

At every step in this process, massive taxation is present – varying based upon the type of company, and/or product(s) being produced: corporate and personal income taxes, FICA taxes on employees, property taxes, licensing fees (taxes), fuel taxes, various excise taxes (even telephone bills are brimming with several different “fees” and taxes). And of course, any outside businesses the initial company contracts with to provide various essential goods or services (such as trucking companies, IT firms, etc.) are subject to much the same array of taxation, and hence, must pass these artificially imposed costs along to their clients – who then must build these further costs into their own already escalated bottom line.

Once the finished product reaches consumers for retail sale, all of these government-imposed expenses have already been factored in to its offered price – but of course, things don’t end there. Most governments in America will still then place a sales tax upon the item which the retailer must collect under threat of force.

Finally, the currency being used to pay for all of this is nothing more than paper representing entries in a computer database. Government mandates we accept it as “legal tender,” and whatever “value” it has is simply based on public perception in response to that threat of state coercion. In order to finance their own operations and ever-ballooning debt (with interest), those in government authorize the Federal Reserve (which is neither federal, nor a reserve of much except paper and ink) to simply print more and more of these notes as if they were Parker Brothers churning out Monopoly sets. This then invariably lowers the perceived “value” of the currency overall, which then leads to the ongoing phenomenon known as inflation – thus even further elevating the cost of everything, all and sundry, right across the board. Until, ultimately, of course, the currency itself is thereby reduced to its actual value…which is, at day’s end, nothing at all.

I know I’m a dreamer. But imagine how much more productive and prosperous virtually everyone’s life would be without taxes – indeed, without government.

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Alex R. Knight III is originally from Groveland, Massachusetts, where he grew up listening to rock and roll, reading J.R.R. Tolkien, and the comic books of the 1970s.  He today lives in rural southern Vermont where he welds, plays guitar, paints abstracts, reads avidly, and writes.  He is the author of the short fiction collection, Tales From Dark 7in addition to the novels The Morris Roomand Empty World.  And, he is a Voluntaryist. Visit his MeWe group here.

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