Argument: Progressive taxation is socialist wealth redistribution and state theft
Friedrich A. Hayek. "Taxation and Redistribution". The Constitution of Liberty. 1960 - Whatever may happen in the future, for the present at any rate, progressive taxation is the chief means of redistributing incomes, and, without it, the scope of such a policy would be very limited.
2. As is true of many similar measures, progressive taxation has assumed its present importance as a result of having been smuggled in under false pretenses. When at the time of the French Revolution and again during the socialist agitation preceding the revolutions of 1848 it was frankly advocated as a means of redistributing incomes, it was decisively rejected. "One ought to execute the author and not the project," was the liberal Turgot's indignant response to some early proposals of this sort. When, in the 1830's they came to be more widely advocated, J. R. McCulloch expressed the chief objection in the often quoted statement: "The moment you abandon the cardinal principle of exacting from all individuals the same proportion of their income or of their property, you are at sea without rudder or compass, and there is no amount of injustice and folly you may not commit." In 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels frankly proposed "a heavy progressive or graduated income tax" as one of the measures by which, after the first stage of the revolution, "the proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeois, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state." And these measures they described as "means of despotic inroads on the right of property, and on the condition of bourgeois production ... measures ...which appear economically insufficient and untenable but which, in the course of the movement outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.".
"Immorality of Progressive Income Tax". The Frugal Libertarian (Libertarian). 14 Oct. 2008 - I am certain that most people would agree that stealing would not be considered a moral act, even if what was stolen was given to someone who needed it more than its original owner. Imagine someone walking into your home and taking $10,000 off your table, walking out the door, and giving your $10,000 to someone else. There are few who would stand for this, but every year we allow the federal government to essentially do the same thing with little more than a grumble on tax day. We would fight off a burglar in our home, but do nothing to fight off the government burglar who pilfers from our coffers.
Now some may say that this analogy is absurd since by living within the border of the U.S. you have consented to the taking of your money. I would agree that by living somewhere you are essentially signing a contract, but the contract of the U.S., the Constitution, has long ago been voided by the federal government's breach of that contract. If they do not act within the authority given to them by our most sacred contract, then I have not consented to them taking my money.
So how can taxes be collected in a moral manner? A moral tax would need to be neither progressive or regressive, but instead neutral and then that revenue would need to used to further "legitimate government interest" within the limits of power and authority granted by the Constitution. I believe sales tax on all end products except for food, housing, some transportation, and a short list of other necessities, would be the most neutral of taxes. Such taxes would end the need for a progressive tax and would end the embedded regressive taxes that we all pay.
"Class warfare and the progressive income tax". Wirkman Netizen - The trouble with this the flat tax plus exemption(s) [a progressive formulation] remains, though, no matter how moved we may be over the question of fairness: It would encourage and incite a plunderer mentality, treating the rich as a teat and the government as dairy farm.
This would be quite bad, as things are today. It would allow for continued government growth, beyond its limited utility as provider of public goods like law and order.
John Chamberlain. "The Progressive Income Tax". The Freeman. 1981 - Expenditures, says Parkinson in his famous Law, always rise to meet income.
It is too bad that Parkinson, that canny man, wasn’t around way back in 1913 when the progressive income tax was first adopted in America. If he had been on the scene, he might have shocked at least a few people into sobriety by observing that his Law, as it applies to government, must be phrased this way: “The expenditures of the State always rise to meet potential income.” In other words, the politico, with the people’s total earnings at his potential legal disposal, will inevitably move toward taking it all. In return for votes the politico will, of course, hand most of it back as welfare—or as legalized patronage. But even in handing it back there will be strings attached to it: following Galbraith, the politico will tell the people how the money is to be spent.
[...]It was Marxian socialism—“From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”—which fathered the great attack on proportional tax equity: a “heavy graduated income tax” is a salient feature of the Communist Manifesto of 1848. But the Marxians would have made little headway if non-Marxian economists had not come unwittingly to their support with the theory that “it is not equal to treat unequals equally.” In cases of charity, this is undoubtedly true, but no comprehensive legal system can be reared on a rule which begins by regarding everybody as an exception.