Guest Post: Italy And The Great Tax Revolt

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by James Miller of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada

Italy And The Great Tax Revolt

Taxation is theft.

There is no denying this.  If I and a few brutes appeared at the door of an unsuspecting individual and demanded monetary compensation less we drag him off to jail, this would be a clear cut case of robbery.  It is a common tactic used by mobs or street gangs to offer protection with the barrel of a gun.  The only difference between shakedowns by private thugs and those employed by the state is the badge.  The badge legalizes extortion and imprisonment.

With that being said, it has been three years since the financial crisis and governments around the world are still reeling in the lesser Depression.  Tax collections are down while public expenditures have skyrocketed in a vain effort to stabilize the economy.  Much of this mass orgy in spending has been financed by central banks printing money and the suppression of interest rates down to artificially low levels.  This is the Keynesian remedy to recession.  Spend what you don’t have via the printing press.  Have central bankers create paradise on Earth through counterfeiting.

So far it hasn’t worked.

Like the Great Depression before, regime uncertainty and an emphasis on consumption over private investment have prevented a sustainable recovery from taking hold.  Public debts continue their upward trend with no conceivable end in sight.  The bond vigilantes have started their attack on the Eurozone; namely Greece, Portugal, Italy, and Spain.  Greece is all but finished as even the most dimwitted of commentators is conceding than an exit from the euro is likely.  Meanwhile in Italy, the lack of tax collection has forced the hand of Prime Minister Mario Monti to crack down on tax evasion.  This hasn’t gone over well with the Italian public.  From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Equitalia, the state tax-collection agency, has been targeted in a wave of attacks as Italians chafe under stepped-up efforts to recover an estimated 120 billion euros ($153 billion) in lost revenue from evasion. On May 12, a Molotov cocktail exploded outside Equitalia’s Livorno office, one day after a parcel bomb was delivered to the Rome headquarters, site of a December explosion that tore off part of the general manager’s hand.

“I have never seen such a tense atmosphere” said Ballico, who has been employed by Equitalia since 1998 and is now on temporary leave to work for the UGL labor union. “They call us loan sharks, bloodsuckers; my colleagues have to deal with anxiety and stomach aches every day and they are scared.”

News to Ms. Ballico: you and your coworkers are “bloodsuckers.”  Your profession is based on pure violence and robbing your countrymen.  Why should they not identify you for what you truly are?

The reactionary attacks are the result of the austerity measures being imposed in Italy and other highly indebted countries of the Eurozone periphery.  These measures are often described as savage cuts in spending when in actuality the public is being squeezed more to fund the government’s operations.  The political class remains unwilling to significantly scale back its operation and profligacy.  The money was supposed to be cheap.  The good times were never supposed to end.

And now the slaves are revolting.

Earlier this month, a 54-year-old small businessman facing financial difficulties and tax debts of around 2,400 euros, took 15 hostages at an Equitalia office near Bergamo for several hours before surrendering to police.

When the chains of oppression are being tightened, some react in not-so-kind manners.

And yet this is the trend happening all around the world.  In light of Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin renouncing his U.S. citizenship to live in Singapore and avoid filling the coffers of the IRS from the billions he stands to gain on the popular website’s initial public offering, New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey have introduced legislation to mandate a 30% capital gains tax on those who follow in Saverin’s footsteps.  In France, many entrepreneurs are gearing up to leave as newly-elected President Francois Hollande has promised to raise the highest marginal tax rate to 75%.  Greece is being pressured to clamp down on tax evasion.  The same goes with Spain.  Even Swiss banks are being targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice for acting as tax safe havens.

Politicians and their bureaucratic foils think only in the short term.  They see less tax money flowing into their hands and instantly attempt to confiscate more.  This reaction is an inner glimpse into their true motive of reestablishing supremacy.  Why people would be reluctant to hand over even more of the sweat of their brow is never a consideration.  In the politician’s mind, it is the populous that serves the state, not vice versa.  Centuries of compulsory democracy haven’t altered the relationship between the aristocracy and the serfs who plow the field.  Today, serfdom is disguised with the existence of the ballot box.

Like a drug addict, the state must be sustained by increasing amounts of revenue to satisfy its craving of paying off voters.  It must continually buy legitimacy to hold up the veil which masks its thieving tendencies.  As the tax fund dwindles, governments in the West are becoming desperate.  Like the producers in Ayn Rand’s uncannily predictive novel Atlas Shrugged, many of the more productive members of society have grown tired of being soaked to pay for political handouts and unending wars of aggression.  The resistance isn’t limited to the rich as the Chronicle article points out, “much of the anger directed at Equitalia is from people with more modest means.”

Italian Interior Ministry Anna Maria has declared that attacking tax collectors “is the equivalent of attacking the state.”  What she won’t admit is that the state carries out a perpetual war on those who it feeds off of to function.  In perhaps the greatest and most precise description of the state ever written, individual anarchist Lysander Spooner explains difference between a highway robber and a government tax collector:

The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the roadside, and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is nonetheless a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful.

The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber. He has not acquired impudence enough to profess to be merely a “protector,” and that he takes men’s money against their will, merely to enable him to “protect” those infatuated travellers, who feel perfectly able to protect themselves, or do not appreciate his peculiar system of protection. He is too sensible a man to make such professions as these. Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you, as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will, assuming to be your rightful “sovereign”; on account of the “protection” he affords you. He does not keep “protecting” you, by commanding you to bow down and serve him; by requiring you to do this, and forbidding you to do that; by robbing you of more money as often as he finds it for his interest or pleasure to do so; and by branding you as a rebel, a traitor, and an enemy to your country, and shooting you down without mercy, if you dispute his authority, or resist his demands. He is too much of a gentleman to be guilty of such impostures, and insults, and villainies as these. In short, he does not, in addition to robbing you attempt to make you either his dupe or his slave.

The only difference between a thief and the taxman is the thief recognizes his crime is wrong.  The taxman not only feels entitled to the labor of others but routinely pilfers under the pretenses of serving its victims.

Decades ago in the depths of the Great Depression, Western governments took advantage of the crisis and consolidated power and enlarged the scope of their authority.  Voters barely put up a fight.  They gave up personal and economic liberty for entitlement programs.  It seemed like the right choice at the time.

It was the great swindle orchestrated by a ruling class looking only to expand its control.

Now that the money for the savior state is running out, the choice is clearer than ever.  The leeches living off the state apparatus are prepared to do whatever is necessary to preserve their well being.  From political protest to tax evasion, trampling the citizenry into compliance is their goal.  It is ultimately up to the public at large to decide how much they are individually willing to take.

The small businessmen of Italy have made their choice and have said no to more of their income being squandered away on the perks of government employees.  Let’s us hope they won’t be the only ones.

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Oh regional Indian's picture

The greatest truth is that taxation is not based in LAW but in TREATY.

That is the problem.

And treaties have been signed in perpetuity, to all heirs and whatever other inbreds...

this revolt will have to rewire first.



ajax's picture


Not a word about the latest UBS scandal? This time UBS Geneve, this time Portugal, this time 1 billion euros:


Akoya Asset Management


Harlequin001's picture

'There is no denying this.  If I and a few brutes appeared at the door of an unsuspecting individual and demanded monetary compensation less we drag him off to jail, this would be a clear cut case of robbery.  It is a common tactic used by mobs or street gangs to offer protection with the barrel of a gun.  The only difference between shakedowns by private thugs and those employed by the state is the badge.  The badge legalizes extortion and imprisonment.' -

What a load of bollocks. This piece was written specifically for, and to pander ZH conspiracy theorists. Without taxes, how would we be defended? Without taxes, how would I be able to keep the fruits of my labour?

We pay taxes to the government so that they can protect us from foreign powers and provide a stable basis upon which we can trade, and enjoy the benefits of our industry. If you want to say that taxes are too high, and used for superfluous things that a government should not be involved in  then that's one thing, but this 'The only difference between shakedowns by private thugs and those employed by the state is the badge. ' is horseshit, all of it.

floydian slip's picture

Defended from what?  CIA officers disguised as al queda?


Bollocks?  Sounds like something an English welfare pig would say.  Thats why you want taxes so you can keep getting the dole eh?

Harlequin001's picture

What makes you think I even live in England?

or is there something else you want to make up and then criticise?

Perhaps ou haven't worked out yet that those getting the dole don't pay taxes?

No, didn't think so...

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Excise taxes are the only legitimate form of taxation in a free society, as they can be legally avoided by avoiding the taxed activity. Income taxes and property taxes are illegitimate in a free society because they usurp the individuals ownership of labor and property in favor of the state.

The USA functioned just fine until 1913 on excise taxes alone.

Harlequin001's picture

I can agree with that. People should be allowed to keep what they earn

But I would add that estates should be taxed on inheritance and sales taxes should be the norm.

When all's said and done, If I am to make money in a safe environment then there is a cost to maintain that. Most people are willing to pay taxes for that, but like me draw the line when government gives it away to those it has no right to..

Sean7k's picture

Please let us know where this "safe" environment is. Please describe how taxes are the best way to achieve one. This should be entertaining.

Harlequin001's picture


If you're expecting me to start with a 'first there was a man and then there was a woman' type discussion I've got news for you, some of us are a little more advanced than that.

Now, when you're ready to stop wasting everyone's time with stupidity...


Sean7k's picture

What a wanker. No argument at all. 

Harlequin001's picture

It's always difficult debating with a mental fucking spastic, but here goes. Do let me know where I go wrong.

Now if you could be good enough to explain how you can be writing on this website if we don't pay taxes. It will do at the end.

But just for clarity, and because I can see from your comments below that you haven't really grasped it, you can string these squiggly lines together into 'words' because someone educated you in a 'school'. Somebody worked in that school called a 'teacher'. He/she is the one that taught you to write, and possibly to read, but you wouldn't know it from the shit that you spout.

You write on these pages because Tyler says you can. He says you can because he has agreed to sell advertising to someone else. You with me so far? Cool. Someone else has AGREED TO PAY HIM MONEY IN WHAT'S CALLED A 'CONTRACT'. Let me know if I'm losing you here. If the advertiser doesn't pay, Tyler can take this guy to what's known as a 'court'. Courts are not private, voluntary or profit making institutions. They do not exist to make money, the are a net cost. They are there to decide on issues of law. In the court sits a 'judge', who thankfully isn't paid by either party because it wouldn't be fair would it?

So we pay for judges and courts through 'taxation', which is where everyone pays so that the judge can be impartial. Now the judge will look at the 'contract' and decide whether the advertiser has to pay or not, so that Tyler can feed his family. If the Judge says he must, then that's the way it is, and anyone like you who thinks he can do something else discovers that he is not alone and is subject to the rules applicable in a safe environment where people who write are educated and one assumes that when they turn up at work to debate the issue, are healthy.

Now, when the advertiser refuses to pay the judge will appoint a 'bailiff' to collect the debt and enforce the decision of the court; i.e. pay Tyler his fee. You might not like this bit but no one really gives a fuck. If you shoot the Bailiff or otherwise refuse to pay because you think you are 'sovereign' and above the State ie a wanker, then the Bailiff will call the cops. Those cops are full time dudes and are required to carry out the instructions of the judge. Shoot the cop and they will send in a soldier, and they've got bigger guns because when all's said and done, you can't have silly little tossers like you running around thinking that everyone has to pay what they owe to you, buy you only have to pay what you think is rightful and just, can you. This is what's called a society, it has rules, the same ones that allow you to spout your shit on these pages.

There, did I nail it?

Now we make these rules so that we can all earn money, and live of the benefits of our labours because it simply isn't right that anyone else should be able to walk in and simply take our stuff. That's why we pay for soldiers and policemen and the entire apparatus that will enforce the decisions of the judges. I do hope I'm not pissing you off too much here because I know you think you can do it all lot better yourself 'voluntarily' but that's horsehit isn't it, and we all know it? Now if someone were to invade us and try to change our rules, we might be a little pissed off, so we pay lots of soldiers just in case in the vain hope that our neighbours will leave us in peace to make our money and otherwise bitch about the high cost of being able to say what you say.

But that's just tough. So pay your fucking taxes tosser, and stop fucking whining about it.

Now, over to you to explain why we don't need any of this... should be interesting, though I doubt it.

Harlequin001's picture

Well, about this arguement you say you have....

guess it was just horseshit, eh?

Sean7k's picture

Contracts are not the provenance of government. They are a common device used since the Sumerians to conclude trade. They were even used in mining towns and on wagon trains (without any government whatsoever). Why you would think Tyler would need a government to conclude a contract is beyond me.

Further, enforcement of said contracts can be done before any agreed upon panel of arbitrators, which would be part of the contract. With me so far?

These arbitrators would work for the parties and therefore would judge their claims fairly or never be hired again. However, in a State system, the courts and judges exist at the convenience of the State and consequently rule accordingly- regardless of the law. Please see Dred Scott or Plessy v Ferguson or Native American Treaties, etc.

Further, private insurance can protect you from losses. 

Society does have rules, but you have failed to make the case that a government is necessary to have society, otherwise all those Pastoral societies of the past and present wouldn't exist. 

So, fat prat, when you come up with an intelligent argument- let me know.

Harlequin001's picture

So who the fuck is going to enforce it dick head?

Stop pussying around and answer the fucking question. You don't pay, the penalty gets worse until you either do or you die. That's why we have police and that's why we have soldiers and that's why you pay taxes. That's why you NEED enforcement.

You really are a cocksucking whimp.

'Further, enforcement of said contracts can be done before any agreed upon panel of arbitrators, which would be part of the contract.' what a load of fucking offal. Do you really believe this shit? Who is going to enforce this 'arbitration', 'the school nurse'?

'These arbitrators would work for the parties and therefore would judge their claims fairly or never be hired again.' -What a load of lame arse spew. Is that the best you can do? I want paying for my goods and services, not this 'never be hired again' fucking bullshit. Do you think I can afford to supply a gate, car or anything else to every single person in this country on that basis that if they don't pay me they'll 'never be hired again'? You pay taxes so that you can maintain the environment in which you can enjoy the fruits of your labour, not hand it over to everyone and anyone for free on the basis that you might never do business with them again. Tosser.

 'Further, private insurance can protect you from losses.' - It would be funny if it weren't so sad. You naive tosser. Do us all a favour and shut the fuck up until you have given this more than a mere modicum of thought, or perhaps you do really have all the intellectual capacity of a fucking five year old.

Sean7k's picture

My isn 't somebody angry. Do you really think that improves your argument?

The market enforces it. Why would anyone make a contract with someone that doesn't abide by them? Sorry, i thought you could figure this out. 

Contracts have functioned for millenium without a government to "enforce" it. Why do people follow social rules? Because people realize it is easier to get along or move along.

Harlequin001's picture

What an outright tosser. You are either incredibly naive or utterly fucking stupid. You cannot possibly be running your own business. How do you know if someone isn't going to pay you until you have supplied them with goods?

'Contracts have functioned for millenium without a government to "enforce" it' You have no fucking idea what you're talking about.

The Navigator's picture

What an oxyMORON - "without taxes, how would I be able to keep the fruits of my labor?"

You should sue your parents for dropping you on your head and causing your brain damage.

Are you also going to rely on the gov't for your retirement 'a la' social security?

The only thing gov't does well is package bull shit; and apparently there's still no shortage of suckers buying it by the truckload.

Harlequin001's picture

Bullshit. Do you live in a country that's ever been invaded?

or do you live in the US, which was invaded. Go ask the indians, who had no standing armies (in part because they paid no taxes) how that one worked out.

And as for 'keeping the fruits of my labour", how long do you think my house will remain pretty when someone else starts firing shells at it?

or perhaps you think the infrastructure that enables you to even claim title to assets and to keep what you earn was free? Please...

Axenolith's picture

Native Americans were probably in the top 5% of tactical warriors on the planet.  Every tribe that fought could field a decent force on short notice, and coalitions fielded significant forces.  They didn't lose because of lack of taxes, they lost because the got reduced by about 80% by foreign microbes and they had not concept of strategic warfare.

Harlequin001's picture

They had 'no concept of strategic warfare' because they didn't engage it it. Other than regional wars between nations which were as you say, spurious made by armies fielded at short notice they had no concept, and no defence from foreign armies that did.

Whilst I understand what you say, the Indians lost because they were out-gunned, out-planned and out-fought.

That's what happens when predominantly peaceful people come up against well trained armies. If you don't have one you're dead. And since they require wages and food whilst on service they aren't free, and can't be provided at short notice either. They have to be paid for, which means taxes. That's the cost of being able to lay claim to your assets. Someone has to enforce that claim.

Sean7k's picture

You really have no understanding of native americans. You might want to read up on the war of 1812. American soldiers were terrified of Indians. Consequently, they were slaughtered on a regular basis. 

Cultural beliefs regarding land, a belief in contracts and foreign diseases beat the indians.

As for well trained armies, the Brits are still miffed by being beaten by amateurs in the revolutionary war. 

Read a history book.

Harlequin001's picture

Oh right, so the Indians won...

Do me a favour.

Sean7k's picture

Last time I checked, the Indians exist on their own lands, collect royalty payments, have their own laws and are making a great living fleecing people in gambling casinos. They have more freedom than the average American. Funny how things work out.

Harlequin001's picture

and if that's the quality of your due dilligence, no fucking wonder you spout this shit...

Sean7k's picture

No facts, no citations, no argument. Nice M.O.

Harlequin001's picture

and there is some in yours?

that's a lame excuse for a retort, and you know it...

nicxios's picture

So the lesson here for invaded countries is to tax more and more until they're properly able to fend off invaders...

You'd make a good politician.


Harlequin001's picture

History dictates that countries that maintain an inadequate defence don't remain 'uninvaded' for long.

It's got nothing whatsoever to do with politics. Politics is the process of undermining that defence in order to provide funding for welfare...

I'm not aware that that has ever ended well...

in which case I am no longer able to enjoy the fruits of my labour. Like I said, most people don't object to the concept of taxation, just the way in which it is squandered by govt...

Sean7k's picture

Most nations on Earth are never invaded, regardless of the size of their armies. In fact, the number of nations continues to rise because of revolution- revolutions against taxation systems and brutal political rule. One of the reasons America and NATO are having to run back with their tails between their legs in Afganistan. 

Harlequin001's picture

Most nations on Earth are never invaded, -

Bullshit. Nuff said.

Sean7k's picture

Please back up your claim. In the last hundred years, only a handful of nations have been invaded. That is not most. 

Harlequin001's picture

In the last 100 years now is it? My that's a bit restrictive.

Let's just nail it to two world wars eh, in which condsiderably more than a few countries were invaded. And we won't go into the crusades or Romans or anybody else. Not now you've just changed the rules eh?

Wouldn't want to go changing the rules half way through a debate. Just a good job we don't have armed forces paid for by taxes in your silly little world to stop you.

Sean7k's picture

There are between 190 and two hundred countries in the world. Most would constitute a minimum of 86. Please present a list for the last hundred years. Good luck.

Going beyond four generations is worthless.

Of course, it is the countries with the largest governments that have created the few wars and invasions we have had.


Harlequin001's picture

Fuck off. 'There are between 190 and two hundred countries in the world.' so you don't even know that eh, change every few days do they?

Frankly I've got better things to do...

Sean7k's picture

As a matter of fact, the number changes all the time. You might use some time learning...

Harlequin001's picture

Yes I know we've just developed another three since lunch time. Please...

AnAnonymous's picture

What a load of bollocks. This piece was written specifically for, and to pander ZH conspiracy theorists. Without taxes, how would we be defended? Without taxes, how would I be able to keep the fruits of my labour.


For a larger audience. Post theft way of thinking.

What can not be denied is that US citizens deny their own history.

It goes far beyond defense. It goes to offense.

US citizens denied the whole nineteenth century when they praised themselves for having a State, enabling them to crush stateless societies.

Because as a matter of fact, and unfortunately for US citizens, history brought them to face stateless societies. And their behaviour told a ton.

Post theft pattern of thinking. US citizens have robbed the majority of things and they want now to ban the main apparatus they used to achieve that: the state.

Simple as that. They cant rob any longer because they have robbed so much successful they own most of things. And now, they are the ones to be robbed from.

The best thing about Austrians, Randians and the rest is the level of submission they require from their readership. US citizenism is about submission, coercion. Not about freedom. And the Austrians, the Randians are fair specimens of US citizens.

Harlequin001's picture

I have not the first clue what this means...

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

AnAnonymous said:

just more Chinese citizenism propaganda

The guy that fills in for you on the weekends didn't show up for work this weekend.

He kind of screwed up a week ago, you know, making posts that didn't even mention US citizenism. He must be one of the new hires at the PRC Ministry of Truth. I told him that he really needs to stay in character and that he should just follow the official templates until he gets the hang of it.

Hopefully he's just getting some additional training. I would hope that even under Chinese citizenism, a new guy wouldn't be eliminated for just one mistake.

Just trying to help.


Kiwi Pete's picture

At least the American Government don't charge you for the bullet they use to execute you.

Axenolith's picture

The article is about income taxes, the government has ALWAYS been able to provide for defense off excise and tariffs.  "Without taxes how would you be able to keep the fruits of your labor"?  Are you fookin' serious?  There are, in our world, manufacturers of devices knows as "Weapons".  Weapons even allow noodle armed pussies to keep the fruits of their labor...

Get a life. 

Harlequin001's picture

are these 'weapons' to which you refer free?

or are you advocating that we all go fight with noodles?

You might want to go give this some thought...

But do please tell me which part of this statement refers to income taxes 'The only difference between a thief and the taxman is the thief recognizes his crime is wrong.  The taxman not only feels entitled to the labor of others but routinely pilfers under the pretenses of serving its victims.' because there doesn't seem to be too much differentiation here to me. In fact there doesn't appear to be any.

Sanksion's picture

You need defense against who, what ? The Germans ? Hell, no need to pay taxes as they can get in Paris in 3 months as soon as they wish to do. So, by your standard, France should be tax free.

Harlequin001's picture

France was defeated because it had an inadequate defence. Not sure how your logic functions here.

My logic says they didn't spend enough...

Sanksion's picture

We didn't spend enough in WWI, in WWII, in Algeria, in Dien Bien Phu, and etc... When did we spend enough money, with Napoleon, the guy who butchered, raped and burned half of the european countries ? Cool, bro, I want to pay for this. Sure, it is required to survive.

Harlequin001's picture

You don't need to pay enough to go marauding, just to defend yourself from marauders.

The English spent enough, and along with their Austrian friends they kicked Napoleans arse.

But then that's the point isn't it? You aren't going to pay for those kinds of armies with excise taxes and local militia. It needs professionals, and lots of them, which costs. The fact is that you have to spend what it costs, no matter what it costs, and the only alternative is to either run away or die.

That's a tough choice we in the West haven't faced in many years, not since Coronation Street and American Idol, you know, those things that give you that stable, warm, cozy, glowing feeling that war and defence don't matter.


Sanksion's picture

Nope, we have lost countless wars and are still alive.

Take the best marauder of our times, the US empire, do you think I need to buy hacking device to destroy their drones ? Nope, they are committing suicide, because, hey, no matter the costs.

Harlequin001's picture


The only reason you can afford to sit by and wait for them to 'commit suicide' is because these weapons aren't pointing at you.

I'm sure that the Syrians and the Iranians don't share your sentiments...

Sanksion's picture

Patience is mother of victory.

How paying taxes helped the japanese american or the german jews to protect their lives and property in the 40's ? It didn't.

Worst, they pay to get fucked. As a computer virus, the government use the processor against itself.