Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I just got my tax return, and I must say that I enjoy getting back some taxes far more than I enjoy paying them. I can’t imagine how militant I will be against coercive governmental action when I actually make a sizeable income, given my present response to the relatively small taxes taken from my graduate student stipend.

For those of you who haven’t read Capitalism and Freedom or Free To Choose or a myriad of other quality books on the topic, let me explain. The action of a government should be to do that which would not or could not happen in a free market. The basic idea is that “neighborhood conditions” exist such that, for example, I don’t need to pay for the police if my neighbor pays for them, or that I can’t easily or fairly pay those whose air I pollute when my factory spews noxious chemicals. So the government forces uniformity through mandated taxation with the threat of jail and funds programs like police departments to enforce laws and military programs to protect us from threats, foreign and domestic. Also, it will force corporations to take certain actions without compensation for lost opportunities, and such oversight bureaucracies must be funded, again by tax dollars.

What most people fail to recognize is the inherently conformist nature of government, and the non-conformist nature of a market. The government forces people to take certain actions, despite the views of the inevitable minority who do not agree. A market tailors to the desires of every individual perfectly, in that all exchanges are voluntary, so that no one will choose something that they don’t want.

The situation we have now is that of an imperfect market. Government has taken action into so many aspects of my life, most people don’t even give it a second thought. You will note that the media, which primarily reports on the action of government in a feedback loop, and your public education, whose administrators and union leaders benefit from expanded governmental action, will often report on “market failures”, where exceptional circumstances warrant governmental action. Neither respected sources of information will often report on “governmental failures” where the solution is worse than the problem.

In our health care system, regulation makes rapid change and market enforced efficient decisions virtually impossible.

In hopes to not let anyone “slip through the cracks” with Social Security and Welfare, the government spends hundreds of billions of dollars to provide low quality services and eliminate the need for individual responsibility. Call me old fashioned, but nothing but bad character and poor decisions result from an individual who no longer will be harmed from his or her bad character and poor decisions.

Next time you hear about anything the government does, ask yourself if those involved are framing the debate in terms of cost-benefit analysis. It isn’t just that a problem exists. It is that a problem exists that currently without government intervention is not being dealt with, and that through governmental intervention would be made better beyond the cost of that intervention.

The police department, fire department, public education in certain customer-centered forms, the military, regulation of blatant pollution, the creation of a stable supply of currency, and mechanisms to create and enforce laws are a few of the things that are justified. Currently the “federal register”, which records all federal law, is approximately 60,000 pages long. I’m certain more than a few of those pages are unnecessary.

I doubt that if cost-benefit analysis were the frame of the debate, the federal government would be the $2,500,000,000,000 enterprise it is today.

Here is to my few hundred dollars which I’m not giving to the bloated system!

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?