Taxation is theft. Living off of tax money is leeching from productive workers. So, naturally, I’m going to teach you how to use food stamps and still keep all your libertarian cred.
No, this isn’t some convoluted rationalization for people looking to be parasites while pretending they’re not. This is how taking government assistance can actually help preserve, and expand, liberty. Think about it: if taxation is theft, and tax money is stolen from the people, taking it from the government is okay as long as it’s returned to its rightful owners. Just using it for your own benefit doesn’t cut it, though. There’s a process to make sure you use funds reclaimed from the state in a moral and responsible way.
So if you’re going to go on food stamps, but don’t want to lose your libertarian soul, here’s what to do:
Step 1: Deduct from your earnings what you spend in government assistance
The biggest pitfall of taking government money is reliance. Once you depend on the state to feed yourself, all your principles become irrelevant, and you are now a slave to the system. To avoid this, for every dollar of EBT you spend, take out a dollar from your paycheck and set it aside in a special fund (bank account, Bitcoin, gold/silver, whatever). That way you can still support yourself just as easily if the benefits ever got cut off abruptly. At this point you’re just reclaiming tax money.
Step 2: Reimburse yourself at the end of the year for taxes paid
At the end of the year, or after filing taxes, figure out how much of your income you actually lose to the government. Then, you can pay yourself back from the EBT savings you’ve been squirreling away all year. By keeping accurate accounting, you can make sure that the money you get is actually your money that the government took, not other people’s taxes. Even though you didn’t steal it to begin with, taking stolen money for yourself is still kind of shady.
Step 3: Donate the balance to a private charity helping the poor
So you’ve already paid yourself back for all that the government stole from you, but you still have some reclaimed funds left. What now? The responsible thing to do is to give it away. However, instead of donating it to your favorite libertarian think tank, it makes more sense to use funds taken under the excuse of helping the poor to, you know, actually help the poor. Find an efficient and reliable chariy, or identify someone in your community who needs help, and donate the balance of your reclamation fund.
BONUS: Give it all to the poor
Alternatively, you can just take the whole amount set aside from government assistance and donate it to the poor. If the state is truly inefficient and terrible at helping the needy, what better way to show it than spending the exact same money on the exact same purpose, only to greater effect? If one of the most common arguments against liberty is that no one would take care of the poor without coercion, how great would it be to prove that wrong in a world where government still exists?
Living on the dole is one of the least libertarian things imaginable. With a little creativity and discipline, however, if can be a powerful act towards the creation of a voluntary and self-reliant community. Why not give it a shot?