Laws and Taxes, defined
A tax is a payment which is mandatory for participation in society. Under my theory of economics, the consumer-citizen makes no functional distinction between private or public taxes – the landlord and the government are both mandatory bills to pay, it matters not that one considers itself a private or public entity.
A tax is a tax is a tax.
Wikipedia defines a tax as a payment to a government body, or its functional equivalent, where failure to pay is punishable by law.
Functional equivalent, as I (and I’m assuming Wikipedia) mean it, requires a conception of some kind of goal structure for the actor who is paying. The goal structure itself makes no distinction between the two types of recipients that require payment in order to continue living (in this continuing example, landlord and IRS agent), because they both require only money. Sign the check. Deliver the cash. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. The taxman is the bill collector.
Laws, however, can be defined broadly. There are laws of government, but also laws of physics.
Definition: A law is a rule which governs human action.
This broader definition of law encompasses things beyond the United States Code. Social rules become laws when certain action is punishable by real consequences.
Participation in society is assumed to be a requirement for survival. It doesn’t have to be. Try it. Go out and live off the land. Go hunt for survival. See how long you last before you come crawling back to “society” for french fries and a soda.
To be a member of society, you either need to be a child, or you need a job. There are many requirements for a job. For example, we must clean ourselves regularly. This is a good rule, but it’s important to note. Taking a regular shower is, thus, the law. If you don’t, you’ll be fired, ejected from society, and you’ll become a lonely hermit who can’t get the ladies.
This may seem like a silly distinction to make, but it’s important. For example, Americans demand transparency from the government. We want to know what “they” are doing with “our” tax dollars. However, when banks take our money (in the form of private student loans, for example), we don’t mind that they guard their “profit figures” in their deepest, most secure safe. Most people (rightfully) flip out at government waste, but are totally passive when private companies (often monopolies) overcharge, and give the profit to executives. From a functional standpoint, “government waste” is synonymous with “private waste.” They’re equally bad – a dollar wasted is a dollar wasted. A king who steals tax money is no different from a CEO who does it.
A simple distinction, but if all Americans internalized this, we’d live in a radically different country.