Re: Weasels vs. transparancy / traffic cameras

From: Martin Ling (
Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 01:55:46 MDT

On Mon, May 22, 2000 at 12:44:25PM -0700, James Rogers wrote:
> 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
> of.
> 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.

But this is exactly the point - without taking into consideration how
well the money is being spent, trying to compare how much theft is going
on in in two countries by their tax rates is

Do take me in context - I was discussing with Mike the specific
differences between the US and the UK. And as Charlie pointed out with
figures, there's actually very little in it.

Which considering how much social security and healthcare our nasty evil
socialist system is paying for would possibly indicate better spending
of money.

And personally, I'd be quite happy to pay some more, in order to improve
things (specifically, better pay for nurses and other public service
workers - and *especially* teachers).


| Martin J. Ling              Tel: +44 (0)20 8863 2948   |
|      Fax: +44 (0)20 8248 4025   |
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