Raising the prices of gasoline would simply cause people to drive less. This was starting to happen in SoCal a couple of summers ago when it was costing people ridiculous amounts of money to fill up their gas tanks. And how effective are toll roads? Even if every major freeway in America was a toll road, would they generate enough to cover the cost of building and maintaining our gigantic complex roadway system?
I brought up roads specifically because such a large portion of the work needed to upkeep highways is based on truck transportation. Because trucks cause such a large amount of damage to highways, there is a theory that by not increasing the costs of truck transportation, consumers are being subsidized by taxpayers. In other words, the amount paid by people buying products shipped out by large trucks is not the "real cost" of the good, similar to how other external factors (like pollution) can lead to higher societal costs than what is paid for a good. One thought is that you could line up the costs of goods better by raising the price of transportation, which would be borne by consumers in higher prices.
I mean, imagine I'm earning millions of dollars on the internet, and I have simple needs, so I don't buy TVs, or cars, or pretty much anything. I get taxed and the money goes towards roads that I don't really use. Yeah, I can see the argument that other people use them and those people are the ones who help me make my money on the internet, and the internet was paid for by government taxes allocated to a certain use and all. But still, one could imagine that if transportation costs were paid by gas taxes, it would theoretically allocate the costs of road upkeep to those who are taking advantage of it. It's not perfect, it doesn't work in all situations, and it may not even work well enough for transportation costs. But you said "People drive less when gas prices go up." Yeah...and? If you have less drivers, you have less damage to the roads, and therefore, less costs for road repair.
I don't even necessarily agree that it is the best way to do things (though I believe gas taxes should be higher for other reasons). I was just saying that there is an argument to be made that roads could be better off paid by means of higher gas taxes.
To the point, Skip, I'll finish my time here with the basics:
Theft is taking something against another's will. When a man comes up to someone, says give me your money, and then then takes it as the person refuses, that is theft.
Let's call this theif "Agent #43022." He comes to someone's door, and gives them a letter saying his bank account is frozen. The IRS then takes his money.
How is this not stealing?
It doesn't matter what it's for. It doesn't matter if people voted for it. If you didn't volunteer your money to be used, it's theft by force.
What is the IRS agent taking? US currency. Who is in charge of US currency? The US government. If you are a farmer and you use the barter system, guess what? The IRS agent isn't going to come after you, because you have nothing for him to take. You're playing in a different system than he has authority to regulate.
But when you enter into business transactions that end up with a piece of paper in your pocket that says "Federal Reserve Note" at the top, you're playing by the US government's rules. Just because you don't realize that cost of doing business immediately doesn't mean you won't eventually have to pay it off. Consider it this way. When you earn money, you are either getting an interest free loan or you are giving an interest free loan to your federal government. If you have to pay more taxes come April 15, congratulations. You've been living on borrowed time. If you get paid a refund, well, you've been giving too much money to the government and they'll give it back.
But absolutely none of this is theft. It's a delayed cost or payback. And if you don't want to volunteer that cost, then you can choose not to reap the benefits of entering into the society.
The government doesn't come back year after year and tax old money, unless that old money is making new money. Pretend you worked for a year, paid your incomes taxes, took all the money and stuffed it under your mattress, then didn't work a day the entire year. Do you think the IRS agent comes by to get your "property?" No, he doesn't. Why? Because he's not double charging you (that comes when you die and they get the death tax if you earn a certain amount lol). He's already charged you the cost of your income, so your business is done.
Welcome to understanding how taxes work. Maybe it will change how you view this "stealing", because you are demonstrating a fundamental error in differentiating theft from the cost of doing business in the United States economy.