To try to address the effects of chronic overspending, the state of California has come up with a rather unique proposition: steal from taxpayers. I mean this quite literally. The State of California has decided to steal money from taxpayers to give itself interest free loans.

The Los Angelos Times reports that California will withold an extra 10 percent from the income of its already chronically over-taxed residents: "think of it as a forced, interest-free loan"

The extra withholding may seem like a small amount siphoned from each paycheck, but it adds up to a $1.7-billion fix for California’s deficit-riddled books.

From a single taxpayer earning $51,000 a year with no dependents, the state will be grabbing an extra $17.59 each month, according to state tax officials. A married person earning $90,000 with two dependents would receive $24.87 less in monthly pay.

The Times also notes that In February, state income tax rates were bumped up 0.25 of a percentage point for every tax bracket, the dependent credit was slashed by two-thirds, the state sales tax rate rose 1 percentage point and vehicle license fee nearly doubled to 1.15% of a car’s value.

This is a flagrant violation of not only sound tax policy, but the rule of law. As Professor of the Department of Economics at George Mason University has pointed out, this is theft.

Suppose your neighbor seizes some of your weekly income while promising to return the funds to you later.  Even if he eventually repays you with interest, he’s a thief.  Nothing – not his profligacy, not his “need” for more money, not the manner in which he spends the money he filches – excuses his thievery.

It’s fashionable today to accuse private businesses of being greedy, duplicitous, and larcenous.  But no business could get away with such audacious seizures of other people’s property – seizures that governments, such as California’s, are escalating to a dreadful new level.