Kings called it tribute rather than theft. Politicians prefer the word tax. But all these words describe a violence-based funding system…pay or suffer violence. This system is both immoral and impractical.
The immorality is obvious. Any other person or institution that tried to fund itself using violence would be imprisoned. But we’re told that practical considerations require us to accept this immorality. Nothing could be more wrong. In truth, taxation is highly impractical, because…
- It protects The State from the need to perform well — agents of The State get paid no matter how badly they perform.
- It rewards failure — programs that don’t work usually get increased budgets.
- It creates other perverse incentives, such as the problem of concentrated benefits and dispersed costs. Those who receive benefits have a huge incentive to defend them, but the costs are spread among all taxpayers, so no taxpayer has much incentive to oppose any given hand-out.
These factors cause…
- Poor performance
- Massive waste
- Unsustainable spending
Voluntary funding would be more practical. It would…
- Force government to perform well
- Match government services to what citizens actually want
You should decide how much government you pay for — granting or denying funding so as to exert control.
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