Thursday, July 20, 2017

Overpriced government

Returning to the investment/consumption analogy, it is always worth asking if government is overpriced.  We assume from long habit that it is different in some fundamental way from private sector services.  Paying taxes is not like buying a hamburger.  But is this true?

Is there anything the government does that cannot be privately contracted?  Security can be contracted.  Fire protection can be contracted.  Roads can be contracted.  Paying a doctor to prescribe medicine or administer treatment for ill health can be contracted.

Consider this article: https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/what-happens-when-you-ask-pro-taxers-pay-more?utm_content=buffer3fa07&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Could it be made any more obvious that the main aim with Leftists in calling for more taxes is to make it easier for the government to use the money of one group of people to pay another for their votes?

When I send in my money in taxes, do I get back more, less, or exactly what I paid for?  As far as I can tell, I don't get anything.  I am sure the troops in South Korea, and the naval flotillas sailing continually around the world have some benefit, but not directly to me.   The roads I use and the police I could call could be provided at a tenth of what I actually pay.  It is worth noting that 3% tax rates were enough to produce armed revolts in the past.

We have a system where the people who pay in NOTHING get something back.  If you pay zero taxes (other than sales taxes), but get food stamps, free medical care and the like, you have every reason in the world to keep that system in place.  And there exist people who view moral corruption as a career choice who miss no opportunity to call everyone a villain who would question this system of vote getting by entitlement.

I have said in the past that only people who pay into the system should be allowed to vote.  After all, it is THEIR money which is being spent.  People who do not pay into the system should not get to vote on how much of other people's money they should get, PARTICULARLY when all politicians retire very wealthy after careers on relatively modest salaries.  It is a lucrative venture, being a "representative of the People".

Asking "what do I get with my tax money" is a reasonable question.  A retirement program with a negative rate of return which is on shaky financial foundations?  If I could, I would opt out.  Access to government run medical care when I get old, care which is inferior to that which I could get by opting out?  Again, I would like to take a pass.  Cops, firemen, roads, traffic lights?  That has nothing to do with the Federal government, and could be bought much more inexpensively.

What I pay for is a massive bureaucracy which in most cases exists in the main for its own sake.  I pay for people who like their jobs very much, very much want to keep them, and very much want to continue getting regular pay raises, increases in benefits, and more co-workers, regardless of the economic climate, and regardless of the necessity of these jobs.  All bureaucracies quickly exist for their own sake.

And self evidently Obamacare fits squarely in the middle of this.  Why turn all of this over to ANY bureaucracy, and particularly to a FEDERAL bureaucracy?  Once the government owns it, I have lost choice.  There is no longer a free market.  There is no longer competition.  There is no longer an Option B when Option A tells me in words and actions they don't give a shit if I live or die, as happens so often in nations which have been stupid enough to turn their healthcare systems over to unaccountable bureaucrats.

Helping the poor is obviously laudable to a point.  But there is a patent moral peril in making indolence, bad decisions, and antisocial behavior patterns which are rewarded.

There is no nobility possible in dependence.  There is no self respect.  There is no freedom.

As I mentioned, I am reading Jose Saramago's book Blindness.  The basic premise is that an epidemic happens in which people can become instantaneously blind through merely being in the proximity of someone affected.  The first group affected is quarantined in an old mental hospital.  The Army delivers food every day, but one group decides to use violence--one has a gun--to take control of the food and to parcel it out based on the conformity of the rest of the patients to their wishes, which are first for material goods, and then for the right to rape the women.

This seems to me a good metaphor for Socialism, although I suspect he intended it represent that cartoon character "Capitalism".  I will perhaps get a better feel as I progress.

Within socialism, the goods come, for most people, from somewhere else.  They do not control them, cannot create them, and cannot directly control how they are dispersed.  Much of the hunger which follows Socialist/Communist take-overs in the developing world (Socialism being perhaps the most pernicious export of the Western world) comes from greedy bureaucrats taking their share of everything before doling it out, IF they dole it out at all.  Full warehouses in the presence of starvation have been, in my understanding, a common feature in particular in Africa.  That is, self evidently, not Capitalism.

And what has been interesting to me in this book is that the victims vastly outnumber the oppressors.  There is one gun, which could not have more than perhaps 10 bullets in it, a handful of clubs, and roughly 20 people against several hundred.  Yet, the majority acquiesces.  Why, I wonder?

Most Americans would readily perceive the need for revolt. But Saramago was Portuguese, and they lived under a fascist government for many years.  Oppression--Socialism, as they are the same thing--breeds out of people their natural drive to protect their individual dignity, their right to self determination, their "live free or die", which I think most people are born with.

It is really quite an astonishing fact of our time that everything good in the world has been made bad, and everything old and terrible has had a new facade placed upon it, covered with glittery lights and a fashionable mural, and is being extolled by a variety of idiots and co-conspirators, and even people with brains are eating it up.  Tyranny is nothing new.  It is the oldest game in the world.

FREEDOM, political freedom, the sort enshrined most perfectly in our Constitution, is what is the exception to the historical rule.

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