Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Joy of Writing Checks to the Government



Conservatives argue that if Warren Buffett thinks that the rich should pay more taxes then he should just donate his money to the government.  So far Warren Buffett has not put his money where his mouth is.  Instead, he donates his money to non-profit organizations rather than to government organizations.  Clearly his actions speak louder than his words.

Here's the liberal counterargument...
The animating motivation behind paying taxes is not the unalloyed joy of writing checks to the government but rather the knowledge that you are part of a collective system that is funding a government and its policies. - Derek Thompson, Rich People: Raise Our Taxes
Why do people feel a warm glow when they donate to charities but feel a cold prickle when they pay taxes?  What’s the difference? Both contribute to the common good.

The difference is choice.

If we allow taxpayers to choose which government organizations receive their individual taxes...then liberals, conservatives and libertarians will all joyfully write checks to the government.  Will they still be a part of the collective system that funds government and its policies?  Yes, of course!

Liberals will be joyful because they won’t have to pay for self-fulfilling wars, conservatives will be joyful because they won't have to pay for ineffective welfare and libertarians will be joyful because they’ll only have to pay for defense and the courts.

To be clear...everybody would still have the same exact tax rate.

Not sure how joyful anarcho-capitalists will be.  Their theory is that the private sector can do everything better than the public sector can.  So they'll be forced to pay for the single least redundant government organization.  If their theory is correct though…then the most redundant and inefficient government organizations will lose funding and go extinct…the scope of government will narrow…and the tax rate will decrease proportionally.

Will socialists be overjoyed?  Their theory is that the public sector can do everything better than the private sector.  So they'll be writing more than their fair share of checks.  If their theory is correct though…then the most redundant and inefficient private organizations will lose revenue and go extinct…the scope of government will broaden…and the tax rate will increase proportionally.

In essence, allowing for a division of labor between taxpayers will reveal the perfect division of labor between the public and private sector.  At long last the age old debate regarding the responsibilities and duties of government will be conclusively and definitely resolved.

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