Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Ludwig von Mises's 9 Best Tax Quotes


Since the Panama Papers everyone is an expert on tax. Or are they?

Here are the nine best quotes from Ludwig von Mises on taxation that suggest ‘maybe not’:

1. "Some experts have declared that it is necessary to tax the people until it hurts. I disagree with these sadists."

               Source: Defense, Controls, and Inflation

2. "If the present tax rates had been in effect from the beginning of [the last] century, many who are millionaires today would live under more modest circumstances. But all those new branches of industry which supply the masses with articles unheard of before would operate, if at all, on a much smaller scale, and their products would be beyond the reach of the common man."

                Source: Planning for Freedom

3. "Taxing profits is tantamount to taxing success.

               Source: Planning for Freedom

4. "Estate taxes of the height they have already attained for the upper brackets are no longer to be qualified as taxes. They are measures of expropriation."

               Source: Defense, Controls, and Inflation

5. "Progressive taxation of income and profits means that precisely those parts of the income that people would have saved and invested are taxed away."

               Source: Economic Policy

6. "The metamorphosis of taxes into weapons of destruction is the mark of present-day public finance."

               Source: Human Action

7. "Taxes are paid because the taxpayers are afraid of offering resistance to the tax gatherers. They know that any disobedience or resistance is hopeless. As long as this is the state of affairs, the government is able to collect the money that it wants to spend."

               Source: Human Action

8. "[T]he system of discriminatory taxation universally accepted under the misleading name of progressive taxation of income and inheritance is not a mode of taxation. It is rather a mode of disguised expropriation of the successful capitalists and entrepreneurs."

               Source: Human Action

9. "Nothing is more calculated to make a demagogue popular than a constantly reiterated demand for heavy taxes on the rich. Capital levies and high income taxes on the larger incomes are extraordinarily popular with the masses, who do not have to pay them."

               Source: Human Action

[Originally posted at the Mises Wire]


  1. All good although with number 6 I'd have to say that even a shed full of overpriced stuff that goes bang is better than an empty vault with no idea where the money went.

    It never ceases to amaze me that the masses whine about an effectively voluntary tax on petrol while having no problem with the hand in their pocket ravaging their wages.


  2. "Taxing profits is tantamount to taxing success" Paying welfare is rewarding indolence and failure.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.