RE: taxes (was: DiscoveryCh - AI with diversion)

From: denis bider (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2001 - 17:42:25 MST

Jerry Mitchell writes:

> This contract should be protected by law only if the people
> who sign it want that protection. Obviously this would be a
> smart protection to have if your the seller so you would
> make it a prerequisite for buying the product. The buyer
> would have the choice of buying or not so for him, its a
> voluntary issue as well. The government could charge 5% of
> the cost of the value of the contract as an "enforcement fee".
> With all the credit card transactions taking place daily,
> this could easily make the government a large sum of money
> for their services.

For some time now, I've had a similar idea, inspired by the internet. Rewire
all the country to run on electronic transactions. Abolish cash. Then charge
5% per transaction for government services, and there you are. :-)

But the thing is, you probably wouldn't collect nearly as much money this
way as the government currently collects through taxes. If a person has a
monthly throughput of 100 monetary units, the government currently taxes
away between 30 and 60 monetary units, depending on where you live. (Income
taxes + value added tax + ...) If you had a contract tax, or a transaction
tax, the government would only collect something like 5 monetary units. But
then, one *could* increase the transaction tax to 30-60%... And with such a
large tax, you then have to enforce it. If people had a choice, like in your
scheme, they would probably prefer to hire some thugs to enforce their
contract rather than pay 30-60% to have the government do it.

But you do raise a good point:

What would a country be like, if it charged for its services directly,
rather than through a budget? One would enumerate all services that the
government provides to the citizens, and then citizens would be charged for
use of these services according to how much they use them, when they use
them. Of course, some services would still have to be "subscription-based",
but I think many could be transformed into a pay-per-use schema.
Additionally, distinct government operations would have to cover their
expenses on their own, with no help from a central budget.

I think such a schema would significantly increase the efficiency of a
government, because there would be direct feedback between the service
provider and the service user.

I remember hearing about research that is supposed to have shown that
operations which are funded from a budget, i.e. with no financial feedback
from users, are only about 50% as efficient as those services which are
funded directly. If anyone can confirm this or deny this, I would appreciate
it. It certainly seems like this is true from where I live.

Also, if there is a future president reading this list, make sure to think
about this seriously. I'd love to implement such changes, but I'll only be
able to do this in Slovenia - unless the USA changes its constitution to
allow me to become president over there. [Perhaps I can do both - could I
telecommute to DC? :-) ]



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