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Thread: Hazlitt - Public works mean taxes

  1. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    Probably shouldn't lump liberals under the libertarian umbrella either since they're commu-fascist socialist, unless you mean Classical Liberalism.
    It's a continuum. Liberals and libertarians both believe that the government should supply at least three public goods...defense, the courts and police...



    Our objective should be to help people understand why it's impossible for congress (government planners) to know the optimal level of funding that any organization should receive.

    Why is it impossible? Because if it were possible...then we wouldn't need markets. Markets work because all our spending decisions determine exactly how much funding an organization should receive. Therefore, the problem with the public sector is that taxpayers are not the ones making the spending decisions...a small group of government planners are making the spending decisions for them.

    So rather than trying to argue over whether something should...or shouldn't be...a public good...we should simply argue that taxpayers be given the option to directly allocate their taxes. This will force the opposition to come up with new counter arguments.

    We've been attacking liberals from the same exact direction for the past 300 years...so they've built up their fortifications accordingly. It's time we attack from a completely new direction. What arguments will they make to defend congress? Will they argue that congress is so superior? Will they argue that taxpayers are too stupid?



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  3. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by VBRonPaulFan View Post
    what an interesting, and completely ridiculous phrase given the context in which you use it.
    Actually, the term "tax choice" wasn't my idea...I came up with "pragmatarianism".

    Quote Originally Posted by VBRonPaulFan View Post
    choice implies the ability to make ones own decision. you are not promoting a true 'choice', as your options are very fixed and very limited. choice would imply i could pay the taxes, not pay the taxes, pay only a portion, pay the full amount with reservations, or any other number of things of my own volition.
    Errr...and you're exceptional because...you want more choices? Who doesn't want more choices? Markets work because we have the freedom to reward the organizations that offer new and better options.

    Right now we have a command economy in the public sector. Yet, here you are making the argument that we would have a small selection of crappy options to choose from. Errr...yeah...that's because we have a command economy in the public sector...which is why I'm arguing that we should create a market in the public sector.

    Quote Originally Posted by VBRonPaulFan View Post
    what you're really promoting is some sort of 'tax preference' in which YOU decided my options ahead of time, and I am forced to agree with one of them.
    I'm advocating that we create a market in the public sector. If you don't believe that doing so will have extremely beneficial consequences...then clearly you don't understand how markets work. That's a fundamental problem which pragmatarianism helps to expose.

  4. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    If Mr. Baker is not happy with the return on his tax investment...
    There you go again. Earth to Xero: Tax revenues are not investments in the usual sense of the word, the State is not a for-profit firm, and not all taxpayers are created equal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    If taxpayers are allowed forced to shop for themselves in the public sector...and they all feel like they are getting ripped off...then what happens?
    Fixed it for you again. Change that so that it really is a case of being "allowed" (READ=OPTIONAL), and the rest of your question can be answered simply, using free market principles. If any one taxpayer (it most certainly does not have to be "all of them") feels like they are not getting any bang for their tax buck, they'll take their "shopping" business elsewhere. That is because no sector in any truly free market, public or private, would enjoy any legislated funding guarantees in the aggregate.

  5. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    ...it's impossible for congress (government planners) to know the optimal level of funding that any organization or organizations in the aggregate, should receive.
    Fixed it for you again, as you seemed to have left out the most important part.

  6. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Markets work because we have the freedom to reward the organizations that offer new and better options...
    ...and to withhold any rewards at all in the aggregate. If the entire market is a stinking pile of rotten value-sucking bullshit, that's OK. The free market works because we can exercise another very important market principle called Private Capital Formation (including the all-important SAVINGS); a process whereby we may actually become one of those organizations that offers new and better options to the market.

  7. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    There you go again. Earth to Xero: Tax revenues are not investments in the usual sense of the word, the State is not a for-profit firm, and not all taxpayers are created equal.
    Are organizations in the non-profit sector for-profit firms? Obviously not. And obviously not all taxpayers are created equal. No two people use society's limited resources in exactly the same way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    Fixed it for you again. Change that so that it really is a case of being "allowed" (READ=OPTIONAL), and the rest of your question can be answered simply, using free market principles. If any one taxpayer (it most certainly does not have to be "all of them") feels like they are not getting any bang for their tax buck, they'll take their "shopping" business elsewhere. That is because no sector in any truly free market, public or private, would enjoy any legislated funding guarantees in the aggregate.
    If taxpayers don't have to pay taxes then that is the same thing as anarcho-capitalism. I want people to have a new and better option...pragmatarianism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    ...and to withhold any rewards at all in the aggregate. If the entire market is a stinking pile of rotten value-sucking bullshit, that's OK. The free market works because we can exercise another very important market principle called Private Capital Formation (including the all-important SAVINGS); a process whereby we may actually become one of those organizations that offers new and better options to the market.
    You argue that not all taxpayers are equal...yet now you want to argue that all government organizations are equally shitty. All organizations...be they for-profit or non-profit...are simply a collection of people working together to solve agreed upon problems. If people aren't all equal...then how is it possible for organizations to all be equal?

    For this is the salient point: private organizations, whether for-profit or non-profit, perform or lose their customers or their donors. When a private entity fails to deliver on its promise, or actually causes harm, it is held liable for the failure and pays the damages. When government fails, it gets a bigger budget and even more power.- Mary L. G. Theroux
    If a government organization fails...will taxpayers give it more taxes? Obviously not. And that's all you need to know to support pragmatarianism.

    The economic miracle that has been the United States was not produced by socialized enterprises, by government-union-industry cartels or by centralized economic planning. It was produced by private enterprises in a profit-and-loss system. And losses were at least as important in weeding out failures, as profits in fostering successes. Let government succor failures, and we shall be headed for stagnation and decline. – Milton Friedman
    Will a market in the public sector weed out failures? Of course...because that's what markets do. Nobody would choose to pay for failure...you know why? Because everybody wants to pay for results. And that's all you need to know to support pragmatarianism.

  8. #37
    Contributing Member Henry Rogue's Avatar
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    LL Something is amiss if you can't fully include Conservatism into your circle jerk. While the republican form of conservatism may hold some free economic similarities to Libertarianism. The republican form of conservatism's social mandate mates with progressivism. They may have different agendas, but their solutions are the same. People calling themselves liberal, idea of Freedom of Choice is the choices they choose to allow. I see little difference between liberals, fascist, communist, socialist, and progressives. You included Anarchism, but left out Totalitarianism. Why because nobody calls themself a totalitarianist? Anarchism is as fanciful as Totalitarianism. It can not exist. At the very least An-caps have Principles that follow to a conclusion. By the way where does Pragmatarianism fit in the circle jerk? I don't see it. To paraphrase Dr. Paul at some point Economic Freedom became divorced of Social Freedom. Perhaps in prehistory the value of Dundar's number averaged to 150 people. Perhaps the perfect size of governance. Society expanded from this small number through markets, perhaps free ones and aggression of the controlling type. The elegance of the Free Market evolved from the social interaction of Humanity. Likewise the desire to control and manipulate others derives itself from our inherent inhumanity. Think of it as the good and evil on your shoulders. You think the solution is to inject the market into government. If markets are the answer would they have already done so naturally? A merger of Markets and government already exist, only its government that has injected itself into the market. They are both part of our humanity, but they are not alike, they are opposites. I guess anything can make sense when viewed in a bubble.
    "When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will." Frederic Bastiat


    Peace.

  9. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    I came up with "pragmatarianism".
    there is a more common, colloquial term for what you call 'pragmatarianism' - the 'status quo'. you would rather men falter from their principles in the sake of 'doing something' than fighting against the evil of coercion and violence. i have very little faith that your 'pragmatarianism' will take root here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Yet, here you are making the argument that we would have a small selection of crappy options to choose from. Errr...yeah...that's because we have a command economy in the public sector...which is why I'm arguing that we should create a market in the public sector.
    i have made no such argument. i simply stated the ludicrousness of your claim. if I were to make an argument, it would be that there should be no 'public sector' at all, because the only way it can exist in the first place is through coercion and theft, and truly free markets are devoid of such concepts as much as possible. those things should definitely not be 'baked' into the system fundamentally as a matter of 'that's just the way it is'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    I'm advocating that we create a market in the public sector. If you don't believe that doing so will have extremely beneficial consequences...then clearly you don't understand how markets work. That's a fundamental problem which pragmatarianism helps to expose.
    no, you're advocating the same thing that politicians and people who fundamentally misunderstand markets have been advocating for years. if we steal just a *little* more wealth from this group or that group, to target this pet project or that pet project, the people will benefit tremendously! i didn't buy it when it was said before - i still don't buy it from you. just because i get to target where my stolen wealth goes does not make your system any better. it is like saying things are so much better under your system because now i get to pick which of the toes on my right foot i will have cut off, versus before when one would be cut off arbitrarily by someone elses decision.

  10. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    LL Something is amiss if you can't fully include Conservatism into your circle jerk. While the republican form of conservatism may hold some free economic similarities to Libertarianism. The republican form of conservatism's social mandate mates with progressivism. They may have different agendas, but their solutions are the same. People calling themselves liberal, idea of Freedom of Choice is the choices they choose to allow. I see little difference between liberals, fascist, communist, socialist, and progressives. You included Anarchism, but left out Totalitarianism. Why because nobody calls themself a totalitarianist? Anarchism is as fanciful as Totalitarianism. It can not exist. At the very least An-caps have Principles that follow to a conclusion. By the way where does Pragmatarianism fit in the circle jerk? I don't see it.
    Concepts such as conservatism or liberalism are simply "shortcuts" we use. The technical term is heuristic. But if taxpayers were allowed to directly allocate their taxes...do you think they would be concerned about spending their taxes according to popular stereotypes? For example...if you and I happened to be grocery shopping at the same time...then what are the chances we'd purchase exactly the same items?

    That's why pragmatarianism doesn't fit into the circle jerk...it's a completely different paradigm. It doesn't offer an answer regarding what the government should or shouldn't do...it offers a means of finding an answer. We'd shop for ourselves in the public sector and all our spending decisions would reveal the proper scope of government.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    To paraphrase Dr. Paul at some point Economic Freedom became divorced of Social Freedom. Perhaps in prehistory the value of Dundar's number averaged to 150 people. Perhaps the perfect size of governance. Society expanded from this small number through markets, perhaps free ones and aggression of the controlling type. The elegance of the Free Market evolved from the social interaction of Humanity. Likewise the desire to control and manipulate others derives itself from our inherent inhumanity. Think of it as the good and evil on your shoulders. You think the solution is to inject the market into government. If markets are the answer would they have already done so naturally?
    But modern economic theory is...well...modern. Adam Smith is primarily responsible for introducing the idea of the invisible hand. And the idea of introducing the invisible hand to the government is extremely new. This...here...us...is the market. We decide whether we inject the market into the government. If we decide to do so then it will be accomplished via democratic means. Is that considered naturally?

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    A merger of Markets and government already exist, only its government that has injected itself into the market. They are both part of our humanity, but they are not alike, they are opposites. I guess anything can make sense when viewed in a bubble.
    Pragmatarianism is simply a more effective way of guiding the government. Directly allocating your taxes would be optional. Why would people choose this option? They would do so if they believed that our government was guiding the country in the "wrong" direction.

  11. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    If a government organization fails...will taxpayers give it more taxes? Obviously not. And that's all you need to know to support pragmatarianism.

    Will a market in the public sector weed out failures? Of course...because that's what markets do. Nobody would choose to pay for failure...you know why? Because everybody wants to pay for results. And that's all you need to know to support pragmatarianism.
    Would I be allowed to not pay taxes if I determined that all of the available government organizations have failed?

  12. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by VBRonPaulFan View Post
    there is a more common, colloquial term for what you call 'pragmatarianism' - the 'status quo'. you would rather men falter from their principles in the sake of 'doing something' than fighting against the evil of coercion and violence. i have very little faith that your 'pragmatarianism' will take root here.
    If you want to talk about evil, morality, principles, coercion, rape, theft, violence then you're in the wrong forum category. This is the economics category...where we talk about economics. If you want to talk about morality/religion then you should be in the philosophy category. Trust me...I hung out there for a while...those people really do not want to talk about economics.

    Quote Originally Posted by VBRonPaulFan View Post
    i have made no such argument. i simply stated the ludicrousness of your claim. if I were to make an argument, it would be that there should be no 'public sector' at all, because the only way it can exist in the first place is through coercion and theft, and truly free markets are devoid of such concepts as much as possible. those things should definitely not be 'baked' into the system fundamentally as a matter of 'that's just the way it is'.
    Again, you're in the wrong category

    Quote Originally Posted by VBRonPaulFan View Post
    no, you're advocating the same thing that politicians and people who fundamentally misunderstand markets have been advocating for years.
    Really? Please link me to where politicians and people have advocated allowing taxpayers to choose which government organizations they give their taxes to.

    Quote Originally Posted by VBRonPaulFan View Post
    if we steal just a *little* more wealth from this group or that group, to target this pet project or that pet project, the people will benefit tremendously! i didn't buy it when it was said before - i still don't buy it from you. just because i get to target where my stolen wealth goes does not make your system any better. it is like saying things are so much better under your system because now i get to pick which of the toes on my right foot i will have cut off, versus before when one would be cut off arbitrarily by someone elses decision.
    Economics is based on the idea that you can't have your cake and eat it too. Does it suck to have to choose between eating your cake and having your cake? Of course, but your choice reveals your priority and your priority influences how society's limited resources are used.

    Again and again...I'm not saying that our choices in the public sector will be wonderful or awesome...I'm saying that there's incredible value in allowing taxpayers to make hard decisions with their own taxes. This is the opportunity cost concept.

  13. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Are organizations in the non-profit sector for-profit firms? Obviously not.
    Non-sequitur. There is no requirement with non-profits that you must choose at least one, with a fixed amount that is required to be allocated at gunpoint and ear-marked for at least one entity in that sector.

    You argue that not all taxpayers are equal...yet now you want to argue that all government organizations are equally shitty.
    Wrong. It's entirely subjective, and except for myself on an individual level, that is not my argument to make for others, any more than I would argue that all widgets are shitty, or that all menu options in a given restaurant are shitty. Thus, your question, "...how is it possible for organizations to all be equal?" is nothing but a straw man.

    If a government organization fails...will taxpayers give it more taxes?
    Obviously the answer to that is yes. By force, with extreme risk of individual loss of life, liberty and/or property. Have you seen the real world and how it works?

    And that's all you need to know to support pragmatarianism.
    No, you have determined by fiat that a guaranteed funding prize will exist, even if the sum total of all public sector agencies are judged as failures by some. That is vital information that is not being conveyed under your hypothetical regime, which guarantees a "pie" that will be divvied by some combination of favorites, whether their share is deserved or not. That does not even approach "optimal allocation".

    Again -- you are throwing the equivalent of a beauty pageant that allows for a field of contestants that may be nothing but ugly troglodytes en masse. But we would not know that for sure, would we? That is because you have guaranteed that at least one of those butt-uglies will be crowned, and will take the grand prize.

    Why the forced spending? Why are the concepts of savings, budget surpluses and capital formation completely and conspicuously absent from your paradigm?

    What would be wrong with each taxpayer, under your regime, having a PUBLICLY HELD TRUST ACCOUNT -- one that is established--as ALLOCATED BAILMENTS--for public sector expenditures, present or future, with no guarantees that those funds will EVER be released? That could serve an equally necessary market function, as a mechanism for taking money out of circulation, thus giving value back to currency holders (savers) everywhere. Taxes would be still be paid, with revenues collected, but NO AGENCY would get funding from any of it should an individual choose not to allocate to any of them at that time. That funding would still there, just not for the choices offered at that particular time.

    Agencies would then not be part of some sham, rigged contest that rewards Most Popular Losers. For one portion of the market, they would have to keep trying to persuade individuals to authorize the release of some of whatever is in their bailment trust account. The message to all agencies would be: "Go back to the drawing board, every last piece of shit one of you. Risk some of your current funding to do a market study to find out why none of you are getting ANYTHING released from my account at this time. Do like the real market does; go get a new set of prettier troglodytes to fill the stage, or risk part of your current funds trying something else entirely, and see what my response is on an individual level."

    Only if you did the above would you have something that is at least analogous and consistent with genuine market principles. As of now, you have what is tantamount to a morbidly obese inflatable blob, one that is of constant size but variable in shape only.

  14. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by staerker View Post
    Would I be allowed to not pay taxes if I determined that all of the available government organizations have failed?
    It's impossible for any two organizations to fail exactly to the same extent. So you'd have to give your taxes to the government organization that has failed the least.

    By that same logic...there is one government organization that has failed more than all the other government organizations. If you and other taxpayers agree on which government organization this is...then guess what? That government organization will go bankrupt.

    The idea here is for taxpayers, rather than congress, to pick the winners and losers in the public sector. Are taxpayers any good at picking winners and losers? Well...I don't think they would have any taxes to pay if they weren't.

  15. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    It's impossible for any two organizations to fail exactly to the same extent. So you'd have to give your taxes to the government organization that has failed the least.
    ...
    The idea here is for taxpayers, rather than congress, to pick the winners and losers in the public sector. Are taxpayers any good at picking winners and losers? Well...I don't think they would have any taxes to pay if they weren't.
    Okay, I see. But how is sending my money to a government organization that is a lesser of failures more beneficial than sending it to a 'winner' in the private sector?
    Because I don't want a 'loser' to be made a 'winner' at my expense.

  16. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    It's impossible for any two organizations to fail exactly to the same extent. So you'd have to give your taxes to the government organization that has failed the least.

  17. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    What would be wrong with each taxpayer, under your regime, having a PUBLICLY HELD TRUST ACCOUNT -- one that is established--as ALLOCATED BAILMENTS--for public sector expenditures, present or future, with no guarantees that those funds will EVER be released? That could serve an equally necessary market function, as a mechanism for taking money out of circulation, thus giving value back to currency holders (savers) everywhere. Taxes would be still be paid, with revenues collected, but NO AGENCY would get funding from any of it should an individual choose not to allocate to any of them at that time. That funding would still there, just not for the choices offered at that particular time.
    Nothing's wrong with the idea...it's a great idea. Let me see if I'm getting it right...

    Let's say that these are my present public funding options...
    A. Defense
    B. Public education
    C. Public healthcare
    D. None of the above / Publicly held trust account

    If I didn't want to give my taxes to A, B or C...then I could just give my taxes to D. Nobody would be able to spend this money in the public sector and I wouldn't be able to spend it in the private sector. However, at anytime in the future...if a new government organization was created that I wanted to support...or my priorities changed...or if the effectiveness/efficiency of A, B, or C improved...then I would have the option to spend my reserved taxes in the public sector however I saw fit.

    If this is your suggestion then I'm all for it. I'd love to know how many taxpayers would give their taxes to D. Would the total amount of tax revenue given to D represent 1%...10%...or 25% of the total tax revenue?

    That being said...I don't think it would be something that I would necessarily "bundle" together with the pragmatarian concept. It's something that I would personally support though.

    In this sense pragmatarianism is like voting. If we pretend that voting didn't exist...and I was advocating that people be allowed to vote...I wouldn't say, "we should be allowed to vote and we should vote for the legalization of marijuana". First I'd worry about being able to vote and then I'd worry about rallying people to vote for the things that I supported. Would enough voters support the idea of "option D" to make it a reality? I don't see why not.

  18. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by staerker View Post
    Okay, I see. But how is sending my money to a government organization that is a lesser of failures more beneficial than sending it to a 'winner' in the private sector?
    Because I don't want a 'loser' to be made a 'winner' at my expense.
    Is the "winner" in the private sector doing more good than the amount of harm being done by the biggest "loser" in the public sector?

    The government has been around for a long time...I'm not going to bother trying to tackle the existence of government. My goal is to help people to understand the value of having the option to withhold their taxes from the government organizations that are doing the most harm.

    Few people agree with everything that the government does just like few people disagree with everything that the government does. Most people agree with some things that the government does...but they don't all agree on which things these are. This fact presents an "opportunity" that I believe has not been properly "exploited".

    That's all that markets are...it's this "discovery" process.

    Every year, 100 million homes pay for a bundle of cable channels. Like any bundle, it's hard to see exactly what they are paying for. That is somewhat the point of bundling -- to disguise the true cost of the constituent items. - Derek Thompson
    I don't think any consumers really want to pay for cable channels that they aren't interested in. If this is true with cable channels...then how could it not be true with public goods?

  19. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Nothing's wrong with the idea...it's a great idea. Let me see if I'm getting it right...

    Let's say that these are my present public funding options...
    A. Defense
    B. Public education
    C. Public healthcare
    D. None of the above / Publicly held trust account

    If I didn't want to give my taxes to A, B or C...then I could just give my taxes to D. Nobody would be able to spend this money in the public sector and I wouldn't be able to spend it in the private sector. However, at anytime in the future...if a new government organization was created that I wanted to support...or my priorities changed...or if the effectiveness/efficiency of A, B, or C improved...then I would have the option to spend my reserved taxes in the public sector however I saw fit.
    Exactly.

    If this is your suggestion then I'm all for it. I'd love to know how many taxpayers would give their taxes to D. Would the total amount of tax revenue given to D represent 1%...10%...or 25% of the total tax revenue?
    I am sure that you would see an immediate wholesale collapse of government agencies' budgets across the board, an increase in surplus funds, and a mad scramble by the public sector to eliminate this nuisance, which no legislator would ever sign onto in the first place.

    Because funds allocated to savings could not be touched--not even for "investment" purposes, they would removed temporarily from circulation, which, ceteris paribus, would place downward pressure on prices throughout the economy, due to economy-wide monetary deflation (savers are always the spender's best friends). Public sector unemployment would be rampant, but that would be a positive thing for the overall economy, because productivity would then be based on real, not artificial or legislated, value.

    As pinches are felt in various parts of the public sector, you would see massive adjustments, with funding released for some programs that really are valued by individuals.

    Assuming a sound currency in a perfectly competitive free market, such a thing could be disastrous for lending institutions, at least initially, as their illusion of solvency absolutely depends upon continual artificial monetary inflation, given that the nominal value of outstanding debts extant would not adjust to the increasing scarcity/value of the currency (debtors increasingly unable to pay debts in a currency that is scarcer, and therefore more difficult to obtain due to increasing value).

    That being said...I don't think it would be something that I would necessarily "bundle" together with the pragmatarian concept.
    Why, specifically?

    It's something that I would personally support though.
    Then why not bundle it? Here's your problem. As you have it now, the fiscal tax-and-spend progressive socialist left would certainly like the aspect of a guaranteed pie that comes from a forced choice, but would oppose it overall because of the demographics involved, as most of the taxes paid (read=votes cast) are from the middle class and wealthier private sector (not to mention objections that would arise about the power of tax "votes" paid in and "cast" by foreigners and foreign corporations). The public sector entitlement recipients in the more progressive socialist base of voters could well see their entitlements dwindle to nothing, as they cast their own "voting" pennies into a magic fountain, expecting dollars to flow back their way.

    The fiscally conservative right wouldn't support such a system for the only reason that the left might be in favor of it, and that's because it is a guaranteed, over-bloated source of funding that does nothing to cut the overall tax rate that you've essentially guaranteed in the aggregate. Let's say that choices A-F are passed over, and all funding goes to G. According to your logic, that massive windfall for G would represent "optimal" funding for G. It must be optimal, as the fallacious logic would go, because that's what everyone "chose" to allocate to them, under color of "freely" even.

    By adding in the element I suggested, you would indeed put a crucial free market principle into play, and you might even assure the solvency of the government, once all the waste and fat was eliminated. But in so doing you would also completely eliminate any possibility of support from either of the two major parties, which form an A-Frame of mutual support for the banking and finance industries, each for their own political reasons. There are just too many on the take, with favorable legislation and artificial economic advantages doled out, both public and private.
    Last edited by Steven Douglas; 11-14-2012 at 07:27 PM.

  20. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post


    Economics is based on the idea that you can't have your cake and eat it too. Does it suck to have to choose between eating your cake and having your cake? Of course, but your choice reveals your priority and your priority influences how society's limited resources are used.

    Again and again...I'm not saying that our choices in the public sector will be wonderful or awesome...I'm saying that there's incredible value in allowing taxpayers to make hard decisions with their own taxes. This is the opportunity cost concept.
    You acknowledge that people's priorities influence how limited resources are used. By that same token why can't you acknowledge that any taxation distorts the choices/REAL PRIORITIES, therefore resources wasted? This distortion affects value of goods, it raises prices of certain goods, that shouldn't rise in normal market conditions.

    You welcome the idea of allowing tax payers to place their money into a fund, and wait until the government proposes a good project they are happy to pay for. Why do you have to take their money? Why not take their money when they DO want to contribute?

  21. #50
    Contributing Member Henry Rogue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Concepts such as conservatism or liberalism are simply "shortcuts" we use. The technical term is heuristic. But if taxpayers were allowed to directly allocate their taxes...do you think they would be concerned about spending their taxes according to popular stereotypes? For example...if you and I happened to be grocery shopping at the same time...then what are the chances we'd purchase exactly the same items?
    That's why pragmatarianism doesn't fit into the circle jerk...it's a completely different paradigm. It doesn't offer an answer regarding what the government should or shouldn't do...it offers a means of finding an answer. We'd shop for ourselves in the public sector and all our spending decisions would reveal the proper scope of government.
    But modern economic theory is...well...modern. Adam Smith is primarily responsible for introducing the idea of the invisible hand. And the idea of introducing the invisible hand to the government is extremely new. This...here...us...is the market. We decide whether we inject the market into the government. If we decide to do so then it will be accomplished via democratic means. Is that considered naturally?
    Pragmatarianism is simply a more effective way of guiding the government. Directly allocating your taxes would be optional. Why would people choose this option? They would do so if they believed that our government was guiding the country in the "wrong" direction.
    You're good, I can see you have been doing this for a long time. The study of economics is a new endeavor of mine, which is obvious to you. I was trying to put a lot of things in that post in a short time, so it looked like rambling even to me. When you get right down to it economics is a social interaction between two to all people. That is determined by human behavior, for a lack of a better word. Am I wrong? Now we have this other interaction between an authority group and a subordinate group which is also determined by human behavior by both groups. With your grasp of economics you are confident of the market. Are you equally confident of your understanding of the authoritative/subordinate interaction? You can't say the same behaviors apply or it would already act as a market and there would be no need for Pragmatarianism. Now on a personal level its obvious to me that you do not view taxes as theft nor believe in a necessity to reduce them. Only to make them more efficient. It's surprising you allocate time to RPF a Forum named after a Man who has a sign on his desk that states "Don't steal the government hates competition." You maybe surprised that there are a lot of Constitutionalist and Libertarians, small government people on this forum who don't think income tax is necessary and some don't believe a police force is necessary and they have the history of the United States as proof. I think you would have great luck on a republican forum. However i have learned some things, so post away.
    "When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will." Frederic Bastiat


    Peace.

  22. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    Why, specifically?
    Here's why I wouldn't want to bundle pragmatarianism and option D.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    I am sure that you would see an immediate wholesale collapse of government agencies' budgets across the board, an increase in surplus funds, and a mad scramble by the public sector to eliminate this nuisance, which no legislator would ever sign onto in the first place.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    But in so doing you would also completely eliminate any possibility of support from either of the two major parties, which form an A-Frame of mutual support for the banking and finance industries, each for their own political reasons. There are just too many on the take, with favorable legislation and artificial economic advantages doled out, both public and private.
    How in the world would pragmatarianism ever be implemented if the majority of Americans did not support it? Like I've already mentioned...the large majority of Americans favor and support some public goods. My mission is to show them how a market in the public sector will lead to an abundance of inexpensively produced public goods that they value.

    If people value public education...then how am I going to sell them pragmatarianism by arguing that the budgets for public schools and universities will collapse?

    No no no...I take my cue from Bastiat...

    If the socialists mean that under extraordinary circumstances, for urgent cases, the state should set aside some resources to assist certain unfortunate people, to help them adjust to changing conditions, we will, of course, agree. This is done now; we desire that it be done better. There is, however, a point on this road that must not be passed; it is the point where governmental foresight would step in to replace individual foresight and thus destroy it. - Bastiat
    "This is done now; we desire that it be done better." Dang...how good is that?! This should be our motto. How can things be done better? By preventing governmental foresight from replacing individual foresight. This means allowing taxpayers who support public education to use their taxes to indicate when public schools and universities are doing better things. The result will be an abundance of quality, effective, inexpensively provided public education.

    Here's another passage that aptly describes the situation...

    Put differently, voters in democratic regimes are unwilling to give up the protections offered by the welfare state, even when those protections are produced inefficiently, and at very high cost. Libertarians are not going to succeed politically by telling voters that they should give up welfare-state protections. Rather, libertarians need to show how freemarket programs will produce social security at levels comparable to those provided by welfare-state systems. - Jonathan R. Macey
    I have to cater my message to voters. They really don't want to lose the protections offered by the welfare state...but I really want to help them understand how markets work. Therefore...I don't say anything about the tax rate...I don't say anything about kicking welfare programs over to the private sector...I'm all about ceteris paribus. The only argument I make is that we should create a market in the public sector. This allows them to focus entirely on what the consequences would be. Bringing option D into the equation only distracts them. It does absolutely nothing to help them understand why markets work and it does absolutely nothing to help them understand why they should want a market to be created for public goods.

    Welfare programs are done now; we desire that they be done better. How? By allowing the taxpayers who value welfare programs to use their taxes to indicate when they are being done better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    As you have it now, the fiscal tax-and-spend progressive socialist left would certainly like the aspect of a guaranteed pie that comes from a forced choice, but would oppose it overall because of the demographics involved, as most of the taxes paid (read=votes cast) are from the middle class and wealthier private sector (not to mention objections that would arise about the power of tax "votes" paid in and "cast" by foreigners and foreign corporations). The public sector entitlement recipients in the more progressive socialist base of voters could well see their entitlements dwindle to nothing, as they cast their own "voting" pennies into a magic fountain, expecting dollars to flow back their way.
    But do you have any evidence that conservatives as a group pay more taxes than liberals as a group do? I've honestly searched for evidence that this is the case but haven't found anything conclusive. According to OpenSecrets.org...in 2012 the Democratic Party raised $860,049,815 and the Republican Party raised $907,008,562.

    Right now half of our revenue is spent by government planners in the public sector. It goes against everything we know about economics to believe that they are correctly guessing how the money should be distributed. So it stands to reason that there will be a significant disparity between the current distribution and the distribution in a pragmatarian system. But if I was capable of predicting with any degree of accuracy what our nation's public values truly are...well...I'd probably be owning the stock market right now.

  23. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by mohassan View Post
    You acknowledge that people's priorities influence how limited resources are used. By that same token why can't you acknowledge that any taxation distorts the choices/REAL PRIORITIES, therefore resources wasted? This distortion affects value of goods, it raises prices of certain goods, that shouldn't rise in normal market conditions.
    I've always acknowledged it. Check out this blog entry of mine...Is There a Platypus Controlling You?

    Quote Originally Posted by mohassan View Post
    You welcome the idea of allowing tax payers to place their money into a fund, and wait until the government proposes a good project they are happy to pay for. Why do you have to take their money? Why not take their money when they DO want to contribute?
    My last response to Douglas addresses this issue in detail. Basically though...my target audience are the large majority of Americans that value some public goods. I want to help them understand how creating a market in the public sector will greatly benefit them. Why will it greatly benefit them? Because markets give us the opportunity to give our money to the organizations that are doing new and better things with society's limited resources.

    In other words...I really want to get my foot in the door. The large majority of Americans value some public goods so I can't get my foot in many doors by telling people that taxes should be optional. Therefore...I say absolutely nothing about the tax rate. My only message is that they will really really benefit by supporting the creation of a market in the public sector.

    Can I help people understand why they will benefit from having a market in the public sector? Can you help people understand why they will benefit from having a market in the public sector?

    The economic arguments for pragmatarianism and anarcho-capitalism are exactly the same. We're just talking about the invisible hand...opportunity costs and partial knowledge. The only difference is that if somebody values public goods, which most Americans do, then mentioning anything about taxes being optional will result in the door being slammed in your face.

  24. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    I want to help them understand how creating a market in the public sector will greatly benefit them. Why will it greatly benefit them? Because markets give us the opportunity to give our money to the organizations that are doing new and better things with society's limited resources.
    Im sorry but, why are you creating a market in the public sector, when you already have a private market? You want to create a public sector, that is "like" a private sector? You are not supposed to create markets, market conditions, these things are all natural, and come about with the free exchange of participants.

    Your blog talks about, how we all are influenced by someone or something, which is correct. But here is the key. In the private market people are influenced without coercion. But with public market, you are allowed to be influenced by policy A, B, C, D. That is not free. If it is not free, its artificial. If its artificial, then resources are wasted in the eyes of those who didn't want any of the policies. In the private market your choices are, BMW, FORD, FIAT, TAXI, BIKE, Walking. Your choice mainly depends on your purchasing power. If you are born poor, then really tough luck, you will have to walk. But the point of the free market is, that you work yourself out of poverty. So there is choice in getting out of poverty. Its these ideas, that public sector distorts.

    Sorry this is my quick take on it. If you feel I have overlooked your points, please don't reply. I shall have a better read, on what you are trying to say.
    Last edited by mohassan; 11-15-2012 at 12:30 PM.

  25. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    How in the world would pragmatarianism ever be implemented if the majority of Americans did not support it?
    Well, that's the $64 trillion dollar question, isn't it? Without a solvency mechanism (the ability to allocate to savings), what would be pragmatic about it? Even if your version could pass, and it wouldn't for the reasons I stated, and then some.

    Like I've already mentioned...the large majority of Americans favor and support some public goods. My mission is to show them how a market in the public sector will lead to an abundance of inexpensively produced public goods that they value.
    You would have an even more distorted public sector, for reasons already explained, because those paying the most taxes would be channeling funds toward whatever they felt was in their specific interests alone. It would no longer be about common goods and services.

    If people value public education...then how am I going to sell them pragmatarianism by arguing that the budgets for public schools and universities will collapse?
    I was the one that predicted that their budgets would collapse, even without my provision for savings. But you are already arguing that they are risking exactly that by allowing taxpayers (most of whom are not even people) in the market to choose.


    No no no...I take my cue from Bastiat...
    There is, however, a point on this road that must not be passed; it is the point where governmental foresight would step in to replace individual foresight and thus destroy it. - Bastiat
    What you are forgetting--and this goes to the heart of the problems that got us where we are now--is that Congress has the option NOT to fund anything, and/or to decrease funding in the aggregate. Congress already has the choice not to go into further debt, pay down debt, and to even build surpluses (AKA SAVE). Your proposal takes a choice that is RIGHT NOW in the power of Congress, and DESTROYS even the option for any individual to make that same choice. Without a) the ability NOT to make any choice or pay less in the aggregate, or b) having savings as a choice, you have already destroyed the individual foresight of taxpayers, as you replace it with [your] government foresight.

    Furthermore, by having a fixed aggregate sum that must be allocated for spending only from the onset, you have absolutely guaranteed that no "optimal" level can ever be found for any individual part of the public sector. Those agencies or programs that are the "crowned favorites" will not have an "optimal" sum at all. They will instead have a lion's share of an aggregate sum that you have fixed.

    Here's another passage that aptly describes the situation...
    Put differently, voters in democratic regimes are unwilling to give up the protections offered by the welfare state, even when those protections are produced inefficiently, and at very high cost. Libertarians are not going to succeed politically by telling voters that they should give up welfare-state protections. Rather, libertarians need to show how freemarket programs will produce social security at levels comparable to those provided by welfare-state systems. - Jonathan R. Macey
    Yes, that is a problem for libertarians, because most people have a normalcy bias in the existence of a predominately welfare state, and cannot conceive of the natural protections for social security (real social security, not the government sham by the same name), in the absence of a welfare state--the only state that most of them have ever known, which defines "reality" for them. But that doesn't let you off the hook, because your idea is every bit as non-existent and difficult for any of them to fathom, and puts everyone's pet programs at risk of not being chosen. Worse yet, you aren't arguing for a free market solution at all. You are arguing for a STATIST SOLUTION that only happens to borrow [very loosely and selectively] from free market principles.

    I have to cater my message to voters. They really don't want to lose the protections offered by the welfare state...but I really want to help them understand how markets work.
    You can't leave out individual choice to save without making it highly questionable whether or not you even understand how a "free" market works.

    Therefore...I don't say anything about the tax rate...I don't say anything about kicking welfare programs over to the private sector...I'm all about ceteris paribus.
    Ceteris Paribus only means, "with other conditions remaining the same". You're not about ceteris paribus if you remove the option NOT to pay, or to reduce the aggregate amount paid, or to have the choice for savings. You are, in fact, changing that element.

    The only argument I make is that we should create a market in the public sector. This allows them to focus entirely on what the consequences would be.
    I get that you're working on your political sales pitch, with a focus on only what would pander to voters, but you're being disingenuous about it, because in fact you yourself are not focusing on what the consequences would be. Your focus is on what you want people to think the consequences could be.

    Bringing option D into the equation only distracts them.
    I think it has only distracted you, as its absence really is a fundamentally fatal flaw in your proposal. Option D already exists for Congress. You want that option, that choice, REMOVED/DESTROYED for individuals.

    It does absolutely nothing to help them understand why markets work and it does absolutely nothing to help them understand why they should want a market to be created for public goods.
    Then you're generalizing. You have a fixation on "a market to be created for public goods", and you want it to work according to market principles, but you're creating nothing but a distortion, because you are being artificially selective about which market principles can even operate.

    But do you have any evidence that conservatives as a group pay more taxes than liberals as a group do?
    Firstly, let's get back to the fact that a major part of that group you refer to as "taxpayers" aren't even voters, and many of them aren't even citizens. There is no liberal or conservative to it in many cases--only self-interest. Furthermore, you haven't broken down what liberal and conservative even means. Fiscal or Social?

    Also, I assume that we are talking about market principles, not politics. You're trying to weigh and predict the economic effects of the individual political purse-string choices of your proposal, but the only thing you can really predict is that it would be guaranteed to result in major shifts in funding, regardless which "group" pays more in taxes. That, and a gross distortion overall, because you are not giving individuals the choice to force savings, or reduce the aggregate amount that agencies spend in the aggregate, which means there is absolutely ZERO possibility of determining an "optimal" amount for any agency or program.

    I've honestly searched for evidence that this is the case but haven't found anything conclusive. According to OpenSecrets.org...in 2012 the Democratic Party raised $860,049,815 and the Republican Party raised $907,008,562.
    That's for political campaign financing! There is absolutely no useful information there, as that has nothing whatso-fucking-ever to do with revenues from taxpayers or their political affiliations, assuming they even have any, or how they would choose on an individual level to allocate their own paid out funds if given the choice.

  26. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    When you get right down to it economics is a social interaction between two to all people. That is determined by human behavior, for a lack of a better word. Am I wrong?
    Right...and by far and large it's rational. If I ask you to paypal me $100...then I'd be willing to bet $90 that you'd want to know why you should do so. Therefore, people engage in trade when the exchange makes sense to both parties. And they continue to trade if it turns out that the exchange was mutually beneficial.

    Right now you and I are engaging in trade. You're giving me your time/perspective and I'm giving you my time/perspective. Therefore, we can use economics to understand people's behavior in this thread. Some people found value in exchanging their perspectives/time with me...while others did not. When people have the freedom to choose who they exchange with...we maximize value.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    Now we have this other interaction between an authority group and a subordinate group which is also determined by human behavior by both groups. With your grasp of economics you are confident of the market. Are you equally confident of your understanding of the authoritative/subordinate interaction?
    If you notice that your child doesn't look both ways before crossing the street...you'll behave authoritatively in order to modify your child's behavior. But if you behave too authoritatively then you'll stifle your child's individuality. And if you see a parent beating their kid in a store? Do you step in and behave authoritatively?

    Democracy provides all of us the opportunity to step in and behave authoritatively. But we should never allow politics to answer economic questions. If voters want drugs to be illegal...then so be it. I disagree but maybe I'm wrong. How much money should be spent on the drug war? That's an economic question which is why it can only be accurately answered by each and every taxpayer considering the opportunity costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    You can't say the same behaviors apply or it would already act as a market and there would be no need for Pragmatarianism.
    A lot of people want to get money out of politics. So given that there's already plenty of money in politics...it should be self-evident that many of the same behaviors apply. My argument is that if you take money out of politics...then how can politicians truly gauge people's priorities? Economics is all about putting your money where your mouth is. Therefore, as a pragmatarian...my argument is that taxpayers should be able to put their taxes where their mouths are. This is how we can help ensure that society's limited resources are being used for maximum benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Rogue View Post
    Now on a personal level its obvious to me that you do not view taxes as theft nor believe in a necessity to reduce them. Only to make them more efficient. It's surprising you allocate time to RPF a Forum named after a Man who has a sign on his desk that states "Don't steal the government hates competition." You maybe surprised that there are a lot of Constitutionalist and Libertarians, small government people on this forum who don't think income tax is necessary and some don't believe a police force is necessary and they have the history of the United States as proof. I think you would have great luck on a republican forum. However i have learned some things, so post away.
    Ron Paul attracts vulgar libertarians like none other. But libertarian economics is the foundation of pragmatarianism. And it's not like there are a lot of libertarian forums to choose from...so beggars can't be choosers. So I do my part to try and help vulgar libertarians learn the economic arguments for libertarianism. Most don't respond so well...as you can tell from my reputation.

  27. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by mohassan View Post
    Im sorry but, why are you creating a market in the public sector, when you already have a private market? You want to create a public sector, that is "like" a private sector? You are not supposed to create markets, market conditions, these things are all natural, and come about with the free exchange of participants.
    However you look at it...the current scope of government is at an equilibrium. Here's an excerpt of one of the questions asked at the end of the Tea Party Movement and Government discussion on C-Span...

    ...seeming to claim that this is a major historic moment and that what we are going to see is almost a permanent national commitment towards limited government. Um, I'm skeptical, and I'd like you to perhaps review what you think, Mr. Bell, since Mr. Tapscott is gone, is the key evidence that proves that a corner has been turned. And the reason that I am asking...the reason why I am skeptical is that you could look at Teixeira and Judis thesis, I think it was around 2005, when they were predicting a permanent progressive majority. You can look at some articles in 2003 after the first Bush mid term election arguing that there is a permanent Republican majority. You can go back all the way to 1912 when Taft drove out the progressives from the Republican Party and see that pro-limited government...pro-state activist government have been going at it all this time for almost 100 years now and it seems that one side periodically gains the upper hand and then the other side periodically gains the upper hand and each side, when they periodically gain the upper hand, claims a permanent victory. You can see these claims often. And then they go down in flames. So I'm wondering why you think that at this time the conservative limited government movement has won after 100 years of this and that the progressive state activist side has lost.
    I've really really studied the libertarian movement and the libertarian arguments. Using the same arguments for the past 300 years fits Einstein's definition of insanity.

    Quote Originally Posted by mohassan View Post
    Your blog talks about, how we all are influenced by someone or something, which is correct. But here is the key. In the private market people are influenced without coercion.
    Peer pressure isn't coercion? What about obligation? Haven't you ever felt obliged to attend a funeral, or wedding or other such social occasion? If a friend of yours wanted to drive drunk...would it be coercion to forcibly take the keys from him?

    Quote Originally Posted by mohassan View Post
    But with public market, you are allowed to be influenced by policy A, B, C, D. That is not free. If it is not free, its artificial. If its artificial, then resources are wasted in the eyes of those who didn't want any of the policies. In the private market your choices are, BMW, FORD, FIAT, TAXI, BIKE, Walking. Your choice mainly depends on your purchasing power. If you are born poor, then really tough luck, you will have to walk. But the point of the free market is, that you work yourself out of poverty. So there is choice in getting out of poverty. Its these ideas, that public sector distorts.
    I really doubt you're going to tell me anything I don't already know about the differences between the public/private sectors and market/command economies. Don't let that stop you from trying though.

    What I'm really interested in hearing from you is what happens if we did create a market in the public sector. If a taxpayer's preference is walking...then why would he give any taxes to public transportation? If a taxpayer's preference is for driving...then why would he give any taxes to public transportation?

  28. #57
    Contributing Member Henry Rogue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Right...and by far and large it's rational. If I ask you to paypal me $100...then I'd be willing to bet $90 that you'd want to know why you should do so. Therefore, people engage in trade when the exchange makes sense to both parties. And they continue to trade if it turns out that the exchange was mutually beneficial.
    Right now you and I are engaging in trade. You're giving me your time/perspective and I'm giving you my time/perspective. Therefore, we can use economics to understand people's behavior in this thread. Some people found value in exchanging their perspectives/time with me...while others did not. When people have the freedom to choose who they exchange with...we maximize value.
    If you notice that your child doesn't look both ways before crossing the street...you'll behave authoritatively in order to modify your child's behavior. But if you behave too authoritatively then you'll stifle your child's individuality. And if you see a parent beating their kid in a store? Do you step in and behave authoritatively?
    Democracy provides all of us the opportunity to step in and behave authoritatively. But we should never allow politics to answer economic questions. If voters want drugs to be illegal...then so be it. I disagree but maybe I'm wrong. How much money should be spent on the drug war? That's an economic question which is why it can only be accurately answered by each and every taxpayer considering the opportunity costs.
    A lot of people want to get money out of politics. So given that there's already plenty of money in politics...it should be self-evident that many of the same behaviors apply. My argument is that if you take money out of politics...then how can politicians truly gauge people's priorities? Economics is all about putting your money where your mouth is. Therefore, as a pragmatarian...my argument is that taxpayers should be able to put their taxes where their mouths are. This is how we can help ensure that society's limited resources are being used for maximum benefit.
    Ron Paul attracts vulgar libertarians like none other. But libertarian economics is the foundation of pragmatarianism. And it's not like there are a lot of libertarian forums to choose from...so beggars can't be choosers. So I do my part to try and help vulgar libertarians learn the economic arguments for libertarianism. Most don't respond so well...as you can tell from my reputation.
    I need more time to respond to this post. I hope you're not banned before I get a chance to respond. Interesting you should mention democracy, let's see if i take the bait.
    "When goods do not cross borders, soldiers will." Frederic Bastiat


    Peace.

  29. #58

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    Well, that's the $64 trillion dollar question, isn't it? Without a solvency mechanism (the ability to allocate to savings), what would be pragmatic about it? Even if your version could pass, and it wouldn't for the reasons I stated, and then some.
    It would be pragmatic because people would have the opportunity to put their taxes where their mouths are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    You would have an even more distorted public sector, for reasons already explained, because those paying the most taxes would be channeling funds toward whatever they felt was in their specific interests alone. It would no longer be about common goods and services.
    But how else would you know whether a public good was "common" in the absence of taxpayer's spending decisions? If all the taxpayers gave some taxes to public healthcare then we could definitively say that public health care was a "common" public good. If only a few taxpayers gave their taxes to the EPA then we could say that protecting the environment was a "uncommon" public good. Obviously there has to be some cut off point where so few taxpayers allocate their taxes to a public good that it might more accurately be considered a private good.

    As I've said before...voters would determine whether or not a good/service should be eligible for taxpayer funding.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    I was the one that predicted that their budgets would collapse, even without my provision for savings. But you are already arguing that they are risking exactly that by allowing taxpayers (most of whom are not even people) in the market to choose.
    Without option D...it wouldn't be possible for all their budgets to collapse...given that the total amount of taxes spent in the public sector would be exactly the same. With option D...then yeah, it's technically possible...although extremely unlikely...that all their budgets could collapse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    What you are forgetting--and this goes to the heart of the problems that got us where we are now--is that Congress has the option NOT to fund anything, and/or to decrease funding in the aggregate. Congress already has the choice not to go into further debt, pay down debt, and to even build surpluses (AKA SAVE). Your proposal takes a choice that is RIGHT NOW in the power of Congress, and DESTROYS even the option for any individual to make that same choice. Without a) the ability NOT to make any choice or pay less in the aggregate, or b) having savings as a choice, you have already destroyed the individual foresight of taxpayers, as you replace it with [your] government foresight.
    Directly allocating taxes would be optional...so if taxpayers chose to take their taxes out of congress's hands...then clearly they must have some motivation to make the effort to shop for themselves. Allowing taxpayers to directly allocate their taxes would allow for the incorporation of far more individual foresight than the current system. Throwing option D into the mix would incorporate even more individual foresight. I just don't think mentioning option D helps people understand why taxpayers should have the option to directly allocate their taxes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    Furthermore, by having a fixed aggregate sum that must be allocated for spending only from the onset, you have absolutely guaranteed that no "optimal" level can ever be found for any individual part of the public sector. Those agencies or programs that are the "crowned favorites" will not have an "optimal" sum at all. They will instead have a lion's share of an aggregate sum that you have fixed.
    If I value space exploration...then at what point would I be concerned that NASA is being overfunded? Maybe perhaps if we're not spending anything on national defense? But that's like me actively worrying about whether consumers are going to give too much money to milk and not enough money to bread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    Yes, that is a problem for libertarians, because most people have a normalcy bias in the existence of a predominately welfare state, and cannot conceive of the natural protections for social security (real social security, not the government sham by the same name), in the absence of a welfare state--the only state that most of them have ever known, which defines "reality" for them. But that doesn't let you off the hook, because your idea is every bit as non-existent and difficult for any of them to fathom, and puts everyone's pet programs at risk of not being chosen. Worse yet, you aren't arguing for a free market solution at all. You are arguing for a STATIST SOLUTION that only happens to borrow [very loosely and selectively] from free market principles.
    Again and again...start some threads in this forum and we can evaluate how non-libertarians respond to your argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    You can't leave out individual choice to save without making it highly questionable whether or not you even understand how a "free" market works.
    Here's how one liberal put it...

    I’d love to be able to allocate my taxes. Seriously, I would. It’d be difficult to organize this on a high granularity level, though; I imagine everything would get of whack, as I probably have no information on how other people allocated theirs. So, to start with, I would suggest just a couple of categories, like, say, ‘the military’ and ‘everything else’. - Henri Vieuxtemps, Selling Votes
    Would this be better than the current system? Yes! It would be progress. Why? Because it's more freedom. Reading what he wrote again I can't help but wonder if it would be simpler and more effective just to promote how he envisioned it working.

    You would be able to decide whether you gave your taxes to...
    A. The military
    B. Everything else

    I honestly don't think you really talk to liberals, conservatives or independents. So many of your arguments seem catered to people who already share your views. But why would you cater your argument to people who already share your views?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    I get that you're working on your political sales pitch, with a focus on only what would pander to voters, but you're being disingenuous about it, because in fact you yourself are not focusing on what the consequences would be. Your focus is on what you want people to think the consequences could be.
    I guess I'm going to just start sharing responses from my collection...Unglamorous but Important Things...

    Xero, Choice is usually better, but what if everyone chooses to allocate their tax dollars to, say, the National Endowment for the Arts and there is nothing allocated to National Defense? - Pappas, Taxes, Competition and Pricing
    You can click on the link and see not just my response...but other people's response as well. All I have to go on is how market works. If somebody's prediction has no basis in how markets work...then I'll correct them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Douglas View Post
    I think it has only distracted you, as its absence really is a fundamentally fatal flaw in your proposal. Option D already exists for Congress. You want that option, that choice, REMOVED/DESTROYED for individuals.
    Giving taxpayers more freedom than they currently have in the public sector is always more freedom. And more freedom is never a fatal flaw. What's a fatal flaw is when people are only willing to settle for total freedom. It's a fatal flaw because the opposition is happy to settle for the tiniest incremental restrictions to our freedoms.

  30. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    If you want to talk about evil, morality, principles, coercion, rape, theft, violence then you're in the wrong forum category. This is the economics category...where we talk about economics. If you want to talk about morality/religion then you should be in the philosophy category. Trust me...I hung out there for a while...those people really do not want to talk about economics.
    these things are inexplicably intertwined. the economy is the direct result of the actions people choose to take over the course of their life, and the results of it. the monetary compensation you receive from an employer for your work is a direct trade - you have given up a portion of your life in exchange for currency/goods that you need/want. you want to talk about the superficial economy, instead of asking why that economy is the way it is. you want to fiddle with the edges of a broken system, instead of offering to make the necessary systemic changes to fix the broken system.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Really? Please link me to where politicians and people have advocated allowing taxpayers to choose which government organizations they give their taxes to.
    that is probably the silliest thing i've seen someone post in this sub-forum in a LONG time. you can start with reading up on lobbying. also, part of a representative government is electing people who think like you and will be more... inclined to stump for funding or resources towards the things you want/believe in.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xerographica View Post
    Economics is based on the idea that you can't have your cake and eat it too. Does it suck to have to choose between eating your cake and having your cake? Of course, but your choice reveals your priority and your priority influences how society's limited resources are used.

    Again and again...I'm not saying that our choices in the public sector will be wonderful or awesome...I'm saying that there's incredible value in allowing taxpayers to make hard decisions with their own taxes. This is the opportunity cost concept.
    there already is that ability - the voting booth. the fact that it is wholly underutilized is another discussion entirely.
    Last edited by VBRonPaulFan; 11-16-2012 at 07:58 AM.

  31. #60

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    RE: Tax Choice; The market is not merely consumers (taxpayers) making choices. Producers are also free to make choices.

    Does this system allow govt. agencies the option to redirect their efforts to some other more profitable end?

    What if an individual chooses to offer the same product or service as the govt., will he be free to compete for tax dollars?

    If this system works as Xerographica thinks it might, then how is it distinguishable from the free market?

    My point is that govt. is precisely that which excludes the free market.

    Tax choice is merely a smokescreen, much like "Red Team" vs. "Blue Team" in elections.

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