Re: Weasels vs. transparancy / traffic cameras

From: James Rogers (
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 13:44:25 MDT

On Mon, 22 May 2000, Martin Ling wrote:
> I was ambiguous. What I think I meant is that the specifics in terms of
> the percentile figures for taxation are not much use with no
> consideration of how that money is being used (which can be well or
> badly, as you say).
> Once you've decided to allow for some taxation, however (as opposed to
> none at all, as Mike has suggested - and it is a vaild option) it makes
> very little sense to try and compare exactly how much freedom a country
> has removed, via its taxes. There are simply far too many factors.

I disagree. I think there are plenty of examples of what constitutes a
reasonable upper bound for how much money a government should spend for a
given service. Even assuming that taxation does not equal theft if
valuable services are received, any taxation above the demonstrable market
rate for a given type of service *is* theft by any definition I can think

This is where the argument really begins. In the vast majority of cases,
government services are *grossly* overpriced. If government services were
as efficient and responsive as people claim they can be, privatization
wouldn't be as attractive as it is.

Looking at the "best practices" of various governments around the U.S.
and combining them, I estimate that I could get a level of service as good
or better than I currently receive for no more than 5% of my income, and
probably a bit less. However, in practice the government charges me
greater than an order of magnitude over a reasonable market rate. Not
only that, but the government has no motivation to become more efficient.
I would be happy with direct tax provided services *if* they were
comparable to what private industry could provide. Unfortunately, it is
difficult to devise a way to do this that doesn't eventually slip into
inefficiency. That efficient taxing agencies exist today is more of an
accident than a stable long-term outcome.

-James Rogers

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