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zynner

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  1. For all its greatness, there is a fundamental flaw with the US Constitution: it is not self-enforcing. The founders understood that politicians will create mischief, but they did not adequately handle what to do about it. There is evidence that, circa 1810 or so, a 13th Amendment (there were 12 at the time, and this was pre-1865) was proposed, which had to do with government officials accepting gifts (bribes?) from foreign countries. One clause in the amendment caused any government official violating it to lose his citizenship. If the state legislators could impeach members of Congress, that might help. Anything that provided for real penalties when officials (especially judges) violated the US Constitution would help. Maybe it might have stood up better to abuses over the years. ~ zynner
  2. Thank you! I consider myself an Objectivist-in-training. I don't understand the philosophy well enough yet to be an Objectivist, but am learning. This website is great reading. Your post about funding government through contractual fees is great! It makes so much sense. I'd like to add my take on this idea, as I've read your post. As I see it, every individual within the society would have the basic government protections: military, police, courts (criminal and civil), and I might toss in fire department. No individual would pay any direct taxes for any of these. Any individual could sue or be sued in the courts, call the police (or fire department), and have a military providing a national defense. It would be no different than today, except that there would be no taxes -- to the individual. Businesses would operate slightly differently. All businesses would also be protected by the military, police (and fire department), and be subject to criminal court action. The difference would lie solely within how businesses would be treated in the civil courts. Each business would have a voluntary choice: access to civil court or not. Access would include as a plaintiff and as a defendant. No business that did not volunteer would be able to bring any civil suit in any court for any reason. They could engage in contracts that settle disputes in arbitration. However, if the other party refused to pay, the plaintiff would have a worthless arbitration victory. It would need access to the civil courts to enforce its victory. Also, any individual or participant business could file a lawsuit in the civil courts against any business in society. If the defendant business was a nonparticipant, then it would automatically lose in a summary judgement. Any judgement would be fully enforceable against it. So, in order to protect against being drained of its money through frivolous lawsuits, if nothing else, it would volunteer to participate. In effect, we would all have 6% added to everything we buy, except for private party transactions. There would be no other taxes. No income, FICA, property, sales, gasoline or other taxes. This single tax would pay for all the legitimate functions of government, at all levels. It is irrelevant that it is for the purpose of access to the courts by businesses that the funds are used to pay for the military. It is just one tax for everything, which also makes it easy for everyone to see what the cost of government actually is. It's a great idea. One thing going for it is that it is easy to explain to non-Objectivists. Those who agree that government should be smaller can find agreement with this idea. I think it opens the debate to a larger audience and gives people with concerns of how society would function under LFC a clear picture of how it could be done. It's important to have practical, concrete answers to other people's abstract concerns. It solves many concerns people have. What would poor people do? Nothing. What about fire or police? Just call 'em up. Why would anyone volunteer to pay this? Only businesses would volunteer and would do so to protect their own best interests. Thanks for the idea. I have a question on your numbers: Of the $12 trillion in GDP, do you have an estimate of what percentage of that is "big business" versus everyone else? Maybe Fortune 500 or some other classification could be used to identify how much of this figure is from very large businesses that would absolutely -- without exception -- pay the fee/tax. Thanks. ~ zynner
  3. I don't know, but will offer something I watched recently. Greenspan gives "testimony" before the House and Senate on a regular basis. Within the past several weeks, he was answering questions of House members. Rep. Ron Paul challenged him on the gold standard. For those who don't know, Ron Paul is the only member of Congress that I am aware of who is not a statist. He was a Republican congressman for several years, then ran for president for the Libertarian Party. After losing that, he ran again in his Texas district for Congress as a Republican. The Republican Party tried to beat him in the primaries several times with other, conservative, Republicans. They could not and now he is a fixture in Congress that the Republicans wish would go away. He routinely votes against any spending (or other) bill that is not authorized in the US Constitution. Anyway, he was asking Greenspan about why we shouldn't go back to a gold standard (Ron Paul wants it). Greenspan's response was unintelligible (as usual), basically saying that what the Federal Reserve does today is akin to accomplishing what a gold standard would. Ron Paul wasn't buying it and Greenspan had a smirk on his face that told me he knew any gold standard fan wouldn't buy it, either. I didn't catch the entire Q&A, but that was the gist of what I got. It was an interesting exchange. I have often wondered about Greenspan and others in those positions. It would be very easy to set up offshore companies that buy and sell US Treasury bonds, futures, forex currency contracts, etc. and move ahead of everyone else. They are privy to certain government reports before they are released. I have no idea if financial gain is his motive. Maybe it's just Lord Acton's words, "Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely." Greenspan has been Fed Chair longer than anyone else. He has presided over a massive inflation of the money supply during his time. I have never seen him propose any ideas that would move the country away from a central bank or towards a less powerful state. He has talked in general terms, such as tax cuts being a good idea. Yet, he has also recommended not cutting taxes at times. If there was ever a bully pulpit to advocate the gold standard, improving the economy through downsizing government or any other pro-Capitalist (or pro-Objectivist) ideas, being Federal Reserve Chairman is it. It is considered by some to be the most powerful position in the world. If he really wanted to talk, people would listen. And the debates would occur around the world. I suspect he has long abandoned any ideas of Capitalism untouched by government. At best, he has mixed views. More likely, he has concluded that it's better to be Fed Chairman than an Objectivist. ~ zynner
  4. I ran across an excellent article on this just today. One important point the author raises is, a major reason that today's economists and university professors support the Federal Reserve and its false (Keynesian) economic model is that the Federal Reserve uses much of its profits to fund them, as well as other governments that go along with the sham. When the Federal Reserve uses its finanical power to "bribe" the economists in the USA and around the world, it is not surprising that almost every economist, university professor, politician and journalist would accept whatever "drug" the Federal Reserve is pushing (a false economic model). Very interesting point. The article is at: http://www.freemarketnews.com/pview/5947/1268/html/index.php ~ zynner
  5. I'm new to objectivism and this is my first message. I'm particularly interested in the practical application of objectivist living. I have a possible solution to the question. I agree that, as long as there is a government, it will need to be funded in some way. I also agree with others that the funded government will be much, much smaller than today's government. The solution I see is that found in the US Constitution: apportionment. Let's say the federal budget gets cut from $2.4 trillion down to just $300 billion to fund a national defense (not a national offense), a court system (open to everyone), and a few limited functions allowed by the Constitution. Congress sets the year's budget and the President signs it. At that point, each state gets a bill. If California, for example, is 12% of the nation's population, the state gets a bill for 12% of the total, or $36 billion. Each state then determines how to pay that bill. Assuming this ever comes to pass, there would be many ideas about how to do this with the least negative impact to the individual. One idea would be to charge each artificial legal entity (corporation, limited liability company or limited partnership) an annual fee. Individuals engaged in business have today and would still have a self-interest to form these legal entities for the purpose of limited liability. For federal taxation purposes, no corporation (or other artificial entity) would pay any federal income tax. It would only pay the annual fee to the state, saving a lot of taxes and expenses related to taxes and regulations. Each individual would be completely free of any federal income tax or social security tax and would ultimately pay the corporations' fees through the higher prices passed on to them when they buy goods and services -- though the overall cost of goods and services would be much lower without any of the other taxes. I think this system would have natural checks and balances against a federal government's excessive spending. It would act sort of like a national sales tax, but not really. Each state legislative body would be self-interested in attracting as many corporate businesses as possible in order to keep the corporate fees low per corporation. There would be absolutely no direct involvement between any individual and the federal government, unless they were involved in federal court case or other constitutionally-allowed function of the federal government. The states might also piggyback on the system by also funding their (smaller) government expenses in this way. The apportionment option is available today. There is no need to amend the Constitution, though repealing the 16th Amendment would be a good idea. The way the states would tax to pay the federal government's bill would be up to each state, so this idea of corporate taxes is not necessarily the way it would be done, unless each state adopted it. Would appreciate any feedback on the idea and whether anyone thinks it would be either unworkable for some reason or would be a non-objectivist approach. ~ zynner
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