Politicians Don’t Pay Taxes!

… In short, government bureaucrats do not pay taxes; they consume the tax proceeds. If a private citizen earning $10,000 income pays $2,000 in taxes, the bureaucrat earning $10,000 does not really pay $2,000 in taxes also; that he supposedly does is simply a bookkeeping fiction. He is actually acquiring an income of $8,000 and paying no taxes at all.

Murray Rothbard, in Man, Economy, and State, with Power and Market

And in better prose from “Making Economic Sense“, chapter 60:

It might be objected that, after all, a politician who urges higher taxes is not only imposing suffering on other people; he himself as a taxpayer will also have to bear the same deprivations as other citizens. Isn’t there, then, a kind of nobility, even if misguided, in his plea for “belt-tightening” common sacrifice?

To meet this question, we must realize a vital truth that has long remained discreetly veiled to the tax-burdened citizenry. And that is: contrary to carefully instilled myth, politicians and bureaucrats pay no taxes. Take, for example, a politician who receives a salary of, say, $80,000; assume he duly files his income tax return, and pays $20,000. We must realize that he does not in reality pay $20,000 in taxes; instead, he is simply a net tax-receiver of $60,000. The notion that he pays taxes is simply an accounting fiction, designed to bamboozle the citizenry into believing that he and the rest of us are on the same moral and financial footing before the law. He pays nothing; he simply is extracting $60,000 per annum from our pockets. The only virtue of United Nations’ employees is that they are frankly and openly exempt from all taxes levied by any nation-state—which simply makes their position the same as other national bureaucrats, except uncamouflaged and unadorned.

The same principle, too, applies to sales or property or any other tax. Bureaucrats and politicians do not pay them; they are simply subtracted from the net transfer to themselves from the body of taxpayers.

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