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San Francisco’s homeless tax a page out of Atlas Shrugged

San Francisco has passed what they are calling a “homeless tax”. That is a misnomer of course as the homeless aren’t the ones being taxes. Rather businesses are being taxed and the money being taken and used for programs designed to help the homeless. “Proposition C, as it was known to voters, is the largest corporate tax increase in San Francisco history.” Even the name sounds rather sinister in a dystopian way, “Proposition C” like the name given in some fiction novel like “Project F”.

Taxation in and of itself, isn’t robbery or theft, but as I’ve said many times, it most certainly can be thought of as such. What is the difference? It’s in who benefits. If I pay a tax for a road I benefit from that road. Everyone, even those who don’t drive on it still benefit as goods and services move along those roads. It’s not an indirect benefit, it’s a direct one. To me that is the main requirement.

“While everyone involved expressed their support for helping the homeless, Dorsey and other tech titans said they did not believe Proposition C was the right way to do it.

The city’s complex tax code means that Proposition C will hit financial service companies, such as Dorsey’s Square and competitor Stripe, disproportionately to other large San Francisco companies.

Salesforce, the largest employer in San Francisco, would pay around $10 million per year, according to estimates, while Square, which is one-third the size of Salesforce, would pay more.”

What happens when a company can’t thrive anymore?

“We’re happy to pay our taxes. We just want to be treated fairly with respect to our peer companies, many of whom are 2-10x larger than us,” Dorsey wrote on Oct. 19. “Otherwise we don’t know how to practically grow in the city. That’s heartbreaking for us as we love SF and want to continue to help build it.”

In other words, they will leave. That’s what happens. A business will leave. In some cases they will be forced out of business if they do not have the means to leave. It’s better to sell off assets and quit than slowly fade away.

Socialism, one murder away from utopia

When I read stories like this one I can’t help but reflect on Atlas Shrugged the book by Ayn Rand.

Of course I want the homeless not to be homeless. Of course I want people suffering to find succor. Still I cannot say that I want that at the expense of giving suffering to others. Some will argue that the businesses can handle the suffering, some will even falsely say they deserve it.

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To take by force what was created by one in the name of “good” to give it to another is a contradiction in terms and the robber is no less a robber. At least the robber knows they are doing something wrong and tries to hide their crime. That seems almost more honorable than proudly declaring what you are doing is right and just and that those being robbed deserve it.

To say that this tax is wrong isn’t the same as saying the homeless shouldn’t be helped.

They should be helped where they want that help. Some don’t, and we need to accept that. It is a trick of those who would rob that they try to paint those against their plans as not wanting to help, as hating the homeless. That isn’t true of course, they don’t, they just hate being forced to so something. It is not okay to take from one man against his will to give to another because a third-party thinks it is. Until we accept that as reality, as a righteous way of thinking, we will continue to suffer a spiraling loss of liberty in America.

Until we refuse to accept that not wanting to be robbed is not the same as not caring or having a hard heart those who want to use that force will continue to use it until there is nothing left to take and the entire system collapses.

That scenario has played itself out time and time again in the real world. That is the lesson of Atlas Shrugged. Some say Ayn Rand was prophetic but really she was just explaining history, not predicting the future so much as illuminating the past. She was well aware that socialism and communism are unrighteous systems that destroy in the name of a good they can never produce.

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