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Dan9999999

Taxes: Government Financing In A Free Society

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Do you agree with the majority of stances the US takes on issues?
No.

Yet, do you sanction "the evil"? Yes!

Only when forced, so I'm not really giving my sanction.

But some of us choose to work within the system to improve things for the better.
The point where the government supresses free speech and openly violates rights is where to draw the line.

Now imagine you are under a regime that rules by force and fear. What options do you really have?

Die resisting the government, die at the hands of the government, or die when someone else bombs the government to keep themselves safe. Those are my choices. I would choose the former. Oh, and "leaving" is a form of resisting the government.

I think its better to take out leaders and officials through covert ops, rather than full out war.

That is a question of strategy, not morality. As I said "IF and that is a BIG if."

Re-read my post; I have clarified it a bit.

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Would you like it if some TRULY free nation, viewed the US and its socialistic ways as a threat to their freedom, because we sometimes invade and interfere with things we shouldn't? So they launch a war and kill ALL AMERICANS with carpet bombs and nukes, simply because we weren't sufficiently uprising against our government.

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Would you like it if some TRULY free nation, viewed the US and its socialistic ways as a threat to their freedom, because we sometimes invade and interfere with things we shouldn't? So they launch a war and kill ALL AMERICANS with carpet bombs and nukes, simply because we weren't sufficiently uprising against our government.

I have considered this point in the past. I believe I would leave America and join that nation. Oh, and to answer your question, yes I would like that, because that would mean that a truly free nation existed and was powerful enough to survive.

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That is a question of strategy, not morality. As I said "IF and that is a BIG if."

Re-read my post; I have clarified it a bit.

Okay i'll go back and read it.

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[Mod's note: Merged with an earlier thread on taxes. - sN]

Just curious:How does a govt fund itself without taxes?

Edited by softwareNerd

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Donations alone would be enough. Take the National Gallery (Mellon) in Washington and Carnegie Mellon University as just two examples of the kind of funding that would be available. And that was just for art, just imagine if their political protection were at stake. Also, it would be hard to be cynical about supplying voluntary taxation to an enlightened civil government.

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Frankly, it isn't a pressing issue. What's needed is to persuade a large number of people that taxation is immoral. With the moral issue settled, all kinds of possibilities will appear.

To answer your question, I don't think just one method will be put into place: lotteries, bonds, fines from ciminal convictions, donations / sponsorships, fees for legal services (lawsuits, arbitration, etc.), and so on would all have their place. Could you imagine a for-profit government?

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This topic leads to another interesting question:

Is government required to provide legal counsel to those who cannot afford it? Is that a requirement of equality before the law?

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Frankly, it isn't a pressing issue.  What's needed is to persuade a large number of people that taxation is immoral.  With the moral issue settled, all kinds of possibilities will appear.

That's one argument I've never fully understood. Would you (or anyone) mind explaining it further? I guess "the moral is the practical," is that what you mean?

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This topic leads to another interesting question:

Is government required to provide legal counsel to those who cannot afford it?  Is that a requirement of equality before the law?

The government is paying the people who are prosecuting the accused, so if the accused is innocent he is at a distinct and unfair disadvantage.

A solution, which I have proposed elsewhere, is "loser pays." If the defendant is found not guilty, the government should pay his attorney. This would lead many attorneys to take the case of a poor but innocent defendant on a contingency fee, at no cost to the defendant, on the expectation that they would be paid when they won the case.

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A solution, which I have proposed elsewhere, is "loser pays." If the defendant is found not guilty, the government should pay his attorney. This would lead many attorneys to take the case of a poor but innocent defendant on a contingency fee, at no cost to the defendant, on the expectation that they would be paid when they won the case.

Sounds like it could be exploited by the sate to easily.

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That's one argument I've never fully understood.  Would you (or anyone) mind explaining it  further? I guess "the moral is the practical," is that what you mean?

No. That's a separate (but related) issue.

My point is that the reason we have taxation is not that it is viewed as the only means of providing funding. On the contrary, tax increases are usually defended on moral grounds -- e.g., the rich should pay their fair share.

Some counterexamples might be tax increases defended on the "balanced budget" idea, or to provide for future spending increases. But even then, the premise behind the need for government spending increases (which are primarily for social spending / wealth redistribution) in the first place is a moral one: that the government (and, by extension, society) should be responsible for the care and feeding of the poor, etc. In other words, it comes down to altruism. [Without altruism, where's the need for a welfare state? And without the welfare state, the need for taxation loses much of its basis.]

To completely take out taxation, we need to establish the need to maintain the sanctity of property rights, and that taxation is a form of theft. If you want to get rid of taxes, argue for egoism and individual rights, and that taxation is theft and therefore immoral.

So that's what I meant. The fundamental issue is moral. Once that's more widely accepted, I imagine all sorts of non-tax measures will be proposed. And by that time, a much smaller budget would be required to fund the proper functions of government. And with a freer economy, the % of GDP needed would shrink, so there would be more $ available, too.

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For what reason(s)?

The Government could make it easier to get a conviction so they save money. Although it is unlikely this would happen with a privately funded Government, I admit

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The use of contract enforcement fees alone would bring in tons of money.

Contract enforcement fees pretty much hits the nail on the head. We need a government as an insurance policy to ensure that justice is maintained between transactions between individuals; so, no matter if you're buying a house or a candy bar at a local store, in each transaction, a fee could apply that would insure your transaction so that you would not be defrauded. The "insurance policy" would be voluntary: if the store owner wishes to sell his products at cheaper prices than his competitors, he may forgo the extra cost of having his products insured. You, as the consumer, have the choice to purchase the cheaper products; but, you run the risk of being defrauded: your choice.

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The Government could make it easier to get a conviction so they save money. Although it is unlikely this would happen with a privately funded Government, I admit

Ah, I see. Loser pays works perfectly well under tort law, but might have some kinks in criminal law. I just assumed Betsy was talking about tort reform a little too quickly.

Hopefully law itself will be more understandable and the accused would either not need a lawyer, or lawyer costs would be less because it would take less time to study criminal law in a country that had objective laws.

As far as contract fees, I can't understand how the government would be allowed to leave one helpless when someone steals from another. Is one still allowed to call the police on the thief if you didn't buy this "insurance"?

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In fact, they could save lots of money on costs by switching to police-administered summary judgments.

David, would you explain how this would work? Is this a system in which a police officer (or a department) decides X has committed a crime and presents X with a fine, order of restitution, or jail time -- all following guidelines established by law, with the accused maintaining the right to protest or appeal?

Does this system now work anywhere with true crimes, those of aggression and fraud? Or is it used only with laws against such things as littering and drug possession?

Also, I have concluded that every act of government needs some kind of "check," balance of power, or at least a critical, public review on its actions. Typically what kind of mechanism would prevent police, using summary judgments, from abusing their semi-judicial power?

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David, would you explain how this would work?

Sorry, I shouldn't have given in the temptation to sarcasm (especially when the underlying intent wasn't clear). In fact my comment was intended as the reductio ad absurdum of the idea that making it easier for the government to secure a conviction is a good thing. It should be as difficult as necessary to secure a conviction while protecting the rights of the innocent, because the purpose of government is to mete out punishment only when absolutely necessary and justified. The underlying idea that the accused is always guilty is completely wrong. The government should make it more difficult to secure a conviction (given that on the order of 80% of people tried are convicted).

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As far as contract fees, I can't understand how the government would be allowed to leave one helpless when someone steals from another. Is one still allowed to call the police on the thief if you didn't buy this "insurance"?

It's already established in some areas developed by real estate developers, that if someone buys a property lot in that area, they are obligated to build their house within a specified square footage, not to have junk piled in front of their house, etc., etc., as part of the building code that the real estate developer determined would be best to sell his property. In a free society, some of the other obligations would be that the buyer pay a "security fee" to support a local law enforcement agency (call it the police, Wackenhut, or whatever the developer "chooses"). If someone was to "initiate the use of force" by breaking and entering in to a persons home or business in the area where he signed a contract and payed a fee for security purposes, that person could call the security enforcement agency for recompence for their losses. Depending on the policy, the agency could:

1: Recompence you for your losses and then prosecute the offenders to be reimbursed (a very high premium I would presume)

2: Attempt to apprehend the offenders and retrieve your stolen property (may not be very successful but would be at a lower premium)

3: A miriad of other alternatives, as much as the "free" market would have to offer.

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As far as contract fees, I can't understand how the government would be allowed to leave one helpless when someone steals from another. Is one still allowed to call the police on the thief if you didn't buy this "insurance"?

Absolutely! A criminal is a threat to ALL the citizens and prosecution of crimes is not an optional matter.

Civil cases, on the other hand ARE optional. Someone who feels wronged may sue, but he doesn't have to. That's his choice.

That's why I think "contract insurance" fees should not only be set high enough to cover the costs of civil courts, but include something extra to cover criminal courts too.

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