Ayn Rand Institute Press Release
Tax Code Should Not Be Used to Dictate Our Values
April 17, 2008
Irvine, CA--In "Life And Taxes," an opinion piece published today on forbes.com, Dr. Yaron Brook, president and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, argued that the government has no right to use tax policies to influence anyone's behavior.
The government's job, according to Dr. Brook, "is not to dictate your values but to protect them. In a free country, you choose values and then use your own money as a tool to achieve them. But a value-rigged tax policy reverses this cause and effect--it uses your money against you, bribing you with tax breaks that let you keep some of your earnings in exchange for abandoning your preferred values."
Our current tax policy, Dr. Brook explained, "works by attaching financial incentives to a long list of values deemed morally worthy. If you want to maximize your wealth come tax time--and who doesn't?--you must look at the world through tax-colored glasses, 'voluntarily' adjusting your behavior to suit social norms and thereby qualifying for tax breaks. In this way, the social engineers of tax policy preserve the impression that you're exercising free choice, while they're actually dispensing with your reason and your judgment."
If government were restricted to its proper functions of defending individual rights and stopped trying to socially engineer our behavior through the tax code, concluded Dr. Brook, "a great burden would be lifted, not just from the economy, but from our lives."
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