Friday, April 7, 2006

King George III

Occam's Carbuncle, word for word:

As with the “beer and popcorn” business, sometimes Liberals only intending to be obnoxious end up sounding sinister, or rather revealing the perverted nature of the philosophy that underpins their party.

Quoth the supercilious Mr. Graham:
"It's a tax cut for the sake of a tax cut, a tax cut with no economic or social purpose underlying it."
First of all, a tax cut does not require a "purpose". The notion that it should is indicative of the collectivist attitude toward an individual’s income – that it is earned for the state, is the property of the state and may at the state’s discretion be returned to the individual, or left in his keeping for the time being, until designated by the state to some higher good.

If a tax cut needs a purpose, economic, social or otherwise, I would say it would be to put money back with its rightful owner. I suppose you could call that a moral purpose.


Brent Gilliard said...

I thought you would be happy that the Liberals are still pushing for income-tax cuts.

In reality, there is a limited amount of money that can be given back to the people before the pro of more money in their pockets outweighs the con of decreased services. Given that situation, wouldn't you agree that some kinds of tax cuts are more useful than others?

MapMaster said...

I would agree that consumption taxes are the least counterproductive and unfair taxes, but I'm with Milton Friedman on this one:

"I am in favor of cutting taxes under any circumstances and for any excuse, for any reason, whenever it's possible. The reason I am is because I believe the big problem is not taxes, the big problem is spending."

The debate about good taxes vs. bad taxes is not one I'm terribly inclined to engage in when the subject of cuts to taxes comes up — any cut is a good tax cut, not only because it leaves more money in the hands of its rightful owners but also because it will hopefully decrease the government's revenue. For this reason, I cannot regard anything the spendthrift Liberals have to say on the subject as anything but cynical posturing. A budget or two will tell whether the Conservatives deserve the same opprobrium on that score.

You said:

In reality, there is a limited amount of money that can be given back to the people before the pro of more money in their pockets outweighs the con of decreased services.

If this is your premise, the usefulness of taxes is to generate revenue. How do you distinguish between more useful and less useful taxes? But, of course, you know that I do not share that premise in the first place. "The con of decreased services" in the context you cite should read "the con of decreased services provided by the government" — but is there any reason to suppose that desirable services won't be provided by someone else, assuming of course that people aren't legally prohibited or constrained from providing them? Of course not.

Pietr said...

Any service which relies on compulsory income is a 'con' in every sense.

Brent Gilliard said...

Taxes are such a tricky issue. History has shown us that taxing everything doesn't work, but I still have strong doubts that taxing nothing (or nearly nothing) is the answer.

Yeah, I know the Liberals are just doing it for political reasons. It's a happy coincidence though.

Lisa said...


I still have strong doubts that taxing nothing (or nearly nothing) is the answer.

So, what you are saying, is that some theft is okay?

There is nothing "tricky" about taxation except that we will be arrested if we refuse to contribute to the collective fund.

And oh yeah, there is that problem of distributing the spoils that belong to everyone.

Do your "strong doubts" that people should be allowed to spend their money on things of their own choosing lead you to a positive philosophy that will generate a fair and balanced formula so that we know which goods and services should be taxed, and who shall come out ahead in the lottery?

Brent Gilliard said...

Lisa: I'm not here to troll, so just calm down. There's no need to get hostile.

What I was trying to articulate (poorly, I see now) is that it isn't a matter of absolutes, of all taxes or no taxes, all government or no government. Anarchy probably works just as well as communism, in theory.

If you want to frame low taxation as "some theft" and tax revenues as "the spoils", that's your prerogative. Using emotionally charged words certainly is useful in framing dissenters as immoral people.

It may be clearly apparent to you that what you believe is right, but you are not persuading me to agree by responding with a condescending comment that might as well begin with "what are you, stupid?"

If I am misreading a facetious comment I am genuinely sorry.

Lisa said...

Calm down yourself there Entozoa. I was just asking you a question, which you have not answered.

Paying your taxes is not a choice like purchasing a loaf of bread instead of a pound of potatoes. If you don't choose to support the government and their corrupt mandates and monopolies, you end up in the state funded jail.

The government supplies many essential services, like for example, garbage collection, but should we be forced to cast our lot with a poorly managed collection service instead of hiring a competent private contractor?

I would say your view of people is generally negative if you think that they cannot be trusted to manage their own affairs without government intervention. There are always going to be thieves and free loaders, no matter the society, and they will be the first ones looking to hold the reigns of power and cash in on perceived entitlements.

As I have said before, "the presence of bad people in the world is all the more reason to get rid of governments, which tend to be made up of leeches and nannies, with the apparent sanction of voters. As I have asked before, if most people need 'guidance', then how can they be trusted to make sound decisions on election day? And even if the legislators have the best will in the world, how can they be said to be endowed with the godlike ability to choose for us all, including the ones who did not vote for the popular regime? How can my neighbour's needs or desires be said to justly trump mine? By what standard and by what right?"

It's not about theories, but realities entozoa. I invite you to read a few of our previous posts which attempt to dispell the myths surrounding libertarianism.

Here, here, and here and here.

I highly recommend "The Ethics of Liberty" by Murrary Rothbard, also "The Law", by Frederic Bastiat and "Economics in One Lesson" by Henry Hazlitt. The complete texts are available online and are all linked to on the sidebar of the London Fog.

Pietr said...

Oh, no. Not the old 'communism works in theory' rubbish.
It is precisely 'in theory' that it doesn't work.

Brent Gilliard said...

soreheaduk: that is sort of the point i was trying to make

lisa: that was an uncharacteristic response on my part. i will up my meds appropriately. i found some pills under the couch today... i wonder if they will help? :P

Call me cautious or conservative or whatever, but I would rather try harder to fix government than replace the whole apparatus with something fresh. It's not that I don't agree with many of your points, but I'm not ready for it yet.

And you do make some very good points. Individual rights versus collective powers and all the issues that go along with that are very important, and it is dangerous to just accept the current dogma because government does have a tendency to get, well, worse.

I do hold a pretty dim view of people. I don't think they're imbiciles who need the government to test the temperature of their oatmeal, but they're complicated and they don't adapt all that well to sudden changes. (For example, my grandmother and millions of other grandmothers cannot use a computer.) I don't expect them to handle the transition from welfare state to libertarian co-existence (do you have a phrase for that?) if it happens over night or even over a decade.

Change is good. It drives evolution. But if it's too fast, it can cause extinction.

But that's just my feeling, and it is based on nothing. So don't ask me to prove anything, because I can't. I suppose that's a bad thing, but I'm just being honest. This is what drives my unvarnished political impulses.

Brent Gilliard said...

... that and whatever the CBC tells me to believe.

Sorry, I couldn't help it. I left myself wide open there.

Pietr said...

Replace the whole apparatus with something fresh? Wouldn't that be a revolution?
I am involved with the mainstream in the UK and I hope to exert an influence; failing that I will be the crooked nail in the beautiful parquet floor of conformity.

As for structures, I like to think of Forest Gump running down the street;conformity thought he required supportive structures on his legs, but the reality was that his overflowing health caused these to disintegrate as soon as he exercised it.