Working Paper No. 38.Download
Are there any limits to the tax-imposing powers of governments? One answer is to look for constitutional rules that are implied by democracy itself. For instance, the case for budgetary regulation could be extended to ban taxes that threaten economic growth and hence long-term public spending. A more fundamental question is whether might is right, i.e. if there is a “political obligation”. Three fallacies are discussed; that people have a right to tax themselves, that majorities are always right and that individuals can’t claim rights against the government. The conclusion is that the only philosophically sound ground for taxation seems to be consent by the individual. This is a line of reasoning that is more or less absent in the Swedish legal and political tradition, with the exception of the economist Knut Wicksell.
Niklasson, L. (2004). Skatterna och makten. Ratio Working Paper No. 38.