Death and to Taxes

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Yesterday, I alluded to the complexities of arguing for limited government brought on by the overwhelming intrusion of improper government into our daily lives. As an example of this, consider the many difficulties of arguing for the funding of government without resorting to taxation. In his book, Individual Rights and Government Wrongs, Brian Phillips considers this problem:

Many of the objections to the idea that government could exist without taxation arise largely because government has grown far beyond its proper purpose. Most taxpayers are rightly incensed when they hear of the many ways government wastes their money. Taxpayers understandably decry $600 toilet seats, programs that pay farmers to not grow crops, and welfare fraud. They correctly conclude that nobody would voluntarily support such wasteful spending. However, voluntary financing of government would help end irresponsible government spending. (Chapter 16, "Government Without Taxation")
The rest of the chapter further elaborates that (1) people routinely pay for their own needs all the time (often, including government and government-like services), (2) historical data suggest that proper government would cost about a tenth of what government currently costs today, and (3) voluntary payment for government would help constrain it to its proper purpose and limit spending within that purpose to more reasonable amounts. I have praised the book here before, but that recommendation bears repeating now. Indeed, I may re-read the whole thing some time in the near future.

-- CAV

P.S. Ending taxation is probably one of the last things that could be accomplished in the process of eventually establishing a fully free society, but similar problems will arise when making the case that other government actions (like regulation) are improper. Furthermore, we have to consider such arguments if we are to uphold that such things are improper on principle, and intend to use such principles to advocate changes in our government.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

Here in my state, the Fish and Game Department was financed by license and tag fees. They did not have access to the state's General Fund.

Starting in the mid-80s they were regularly screwing the pooch in regard to game management in pursuit of ideological (eco-freako) ends. The hunting experience was so universally degraded that people stopped buying licenses and tags.

The 'crats at F&G went crying to the legislature that they didn't have enough money to do their jobs. Instead of telling them to amend their ways, the legislature granted them a budget. A 'conservative republican' governor signed the bill.

As a result, the agency continues to promulgate limitations on access to public lands, closing more areas to shooting sports and in general toeing the ecological left's line. But they then complain when a couple of Texas billionaires buy some private land and do the same thing.

And all of this in a state that has complete republican control of both houses and the governor's mansion for running on 3 decades.

So much for those republicans who purport to champion limited gov't.

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


That figures, coming as it does from the party that pushes voucher programs and uses it as a way to get state funding for religious schools -- instead of as a first step towards privatizing education it could have been.