Jean Baptiste Colbert, the 17th century French minister of finance,
once remarked that "the art of taxation consists in so plucking the
goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the smallest
possible amount of hissing."
Maximizing feathers is the idea behind the Laffer curve. That doesn't
make it anything other than plucking theft. Unfortunately, the
current administration doesn't even care about that, rather "fairness"
is all that matters - spreading misery equally. Trickle-up poverty.
On 04/14/2010 12:08 PM, email@example.com wrote:
Without taxation it's difficult to pay for shared goods. One could
argue that all roads should be toll roads, all shared spaces like parks,
civic centers, libraries, playgrounds, etc. should be fee-per-use but
that presents a whole different set of complications.
Also, without taxation of some form it becomes problematic how we pay
the salaries of public servants. Regardless of whether we like city
hall or not, there is a certain amount of regulation that must be
maintained, police need to be paid, fires need to be fought, etc. Some
of that could be managed by insurance of various kinds, but once an
organization becomes large enough self-insurance becomes more
Arguably, taxation is simply a form of self-insurance.
Regulation, we have plenty of. Management is what is lacking ... the old
saw "it is not how much money you have, but how you manage the money you
do have", is what taxing authorities fail miserably to provide with
their mistaken "immortal goose" notion ... that plucked goose feathers
will always grow back.
First law of plucking a goose for maximum feather production is to keep
the goose healthy.
Sure, but that's not an argument against taxation. That's an argument
for fiscal management and sound financial planning.
The proper response to that is to hold them accountable for bad
decisions and vote for people that you think will do a better job. If
there aren't any then you either convince someone you think would do
better to run, or else run for office yourself.
On Wed, 14 Apr 2010 12:59:50 -0600, the infamous Chris Friesen
We taxpayers have been goosed enough.
Hopefully, that's coming up shortly. It has been said that the
various methods of achieving "change we can believe in" <g> are the
ballot box, the mailbox, the soapbox, and the cartridge box.
E-freakin'-ventually, one of those options is bound to get their
attention for more than a Washington millisecond. Methinks that all 4
methods will be used right around the time the bills come payable for
this new Obamacare the Demonrats just voted in, without reading...for
the _second_ time (first bailout was #1). AFAIC, that's reason for
their immediate impeachment.
When's the last time you signed anything legal without reading every
word of it? Ever? I never have, either.
We do and there are. But they lose to Big Money and bought votes.
I've tried that, too. People I like don't want the office, either.
An extremely scary thought. I'm shy, 'cept when I'm behind a
That assumes you care if the goose lives beyond the next election.
Therein lies the problem with our current system of career
politicians; the goose must live until some Tuesday in a November.
Sometimes I think we'd be about as well off drafting congress instead
of electing -- that carries its own risks because you may well draft
an extreme wacko or a moron; on the other hand you could draft 10x as
many congress critters to increase sampling reliability. Supporting
10x as many short timers will probably be cheaper than the current
crop. So, here's a plan: draft is for 6 years, randomly chosen,
first two years is a crash course in government shadowing the person
who is currently representing your area, then two years working alone
and two years teaching your replacement.
Sigh, can't believe I just posted something political. And I can't
for the life of me figure out how to bend goose-plucking back to
something related to woodworking.
On 04/14/2010 01:02 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
The usage of money raised from taxation is totally separate from the
concept of taxation itself. If you feel that tax money is not being
spent wisely, it would seem to make more sense to address that directly
rather than the whole concept of taxation.
For shared goods/services there are basically two ways of paying for
it--a direct cost to the users in the form of some kind of user fee, or
else a general cost to everyone in the form of a tax.
In the case of services like firefighting and policing it is possible to
have private service providers. This is actually how it was handled in
early US history, and is still this way in places.
For whatever reason, in many places the people have decided that these
services are different and thus they've allowed governments to tax the
community as a whole to pay for them.
From the point of view of the city as a whole, either each person
individually covers their own fire protection (generally via insurance)
or else the government takes in taxes and provides fire protection for
the population as a whole. That's why I claim that it's a form of
Bullshit. You forget the object here was to maximize tax revenue, not pay for
*Constitutionally* valid expenses. Stealing money from one person to give to
another is not included in the above, nor is having half the population pay
nothing, leaching off the productive.
I have *no* problem with user fees, as long as they are used *only* for their
intended use. I love the gasoline tax, as long as it pays only for road
In many places voluntary fire departments are private, or at most
quasi-governmental. Some do have tax collection powers, though.
Sure, but this has nothing to do with optimizing taxes, which is the point of
this threadlet. It also has nothing to do with the FEDERAL government, where
the Constitution is supposed to forbid such things.
Two different kinds of "protection". The government provides a fire
department that puts out fires so the city doesn't burn down, you
provide insurance to pay for what was destroyed in the fire before the
fire department arrived and put the fire out.
There's no reason why you need two different kinds. You could have
wholly private fire protection. Whichever firefighting company gets to
the fire first gets paid by the insurance of the property owner. If
they don't have firefighting insurance, the owner pays on the spot or it
burns down. The neighbouring buildings would be protected by their own
Policing could be handled the same way--you could have private
investigators and security guards and if you didn't have theft
investigation insurance or pay them directly they wouldn't even bother
looking for the perps.
Basically it would be the equivalent of current American health care
For some reason however, most places in the USA treat fire and policing
differently from health care.
On Thu, 15 Apr 2010 00:07:37 -0400, the infamous "J. Clarke"
...or what burned to the ground waiting for said dept. 2 competing
agencies had a dispute on a fire in Merlin last year and the result
was that two truck companies sat and watched a house burn to the
ground while the first responder's water truck lumbered there. The
second responder (the company who serves me) responded with a real
water truck and was prevented from stopping the blaze by the new guys
on the block. It was truly criminal.
That said, there are three types of protection:
The govt's tax-base-supplied fire dept,
the fire protection we pay to the fire dept ($277/year for me),
and the fire insurance.
And, how many criminal arrests do you think those security guards make?
Or, how many calls do they answer for robberies in progress? Those guys
might be a deterrent but I'd venture most of them are there just to call the
"Volunteer" doesn't make it free. In JV, even though the fire
department is "volunteer," city taxes still pay for a fire chief, new trucks
and equipment, and ambulances, etc.
You don't say, Bub, if you're in Houston proper or out in the county.
I'd speculate that even if you only paid for fire suppression services at
the time of use at [say] your house which [let's say] suffered substantial
damage from fire that you probably get a substantial bill for fire
department services rendered, probably several thousands of dollars. The
same with ambulance service.
Dave in Houston
You are correct. Still, under Texas law, "A peace officer or any other
person, may, without a warrant, arrest an offender when the offense is
committed in his presence or within his view, if the offense is one classed
as a felony or as an offense
against the public peace."
Correct. The only thing on this planet that's "free" is taxes. Yet a great
number of volunteer firemen buy their own gear and have spaghetti dinners to
purchase rolling stock.
I used to be in the county and was served by a volunteer fire department.
They had two stations and about twenty pieces of equipment. The department
hired off-duty city of Houston firemen to man the station (one each) and,
when a call came in, this "professional" drove the first piece of equipment
to the scene and the volunteers were advised via pager where to go.
As to your point about not being "free," I wholeheartedly agree. The point
I'd like to leave you with is that private or volunteer enterprises, while
not free, are virtually always cheaper than the government solution.
Heck, even most wars in history were fought by mercenaries. It's possible
that, if we had a war, we could hire an army to go fight it. Maybe not the
BIG wars, but little flare-ups or to support an existing operation. Come to
think on it, there was Black Water and Halliburton...
If a volunteer enterprise was more expensive than a government solution,
I'd be very surprised. The whole point of volunteer is that they're not
As for a private enterprise being cheaper than government, around here
the auto insurance is run by the provincial government. We have some of
the lowest rates in the country.
Theoretically a government solution doesn't have to turn a profit, so
they should be able to do it cheaper. Whether it works out that way or
not depends on how well the enterprise is managed.
Whether a private enterprise makes a "profit" is often more of a bookkeeping
tactic than a reflection of the real world. I'm reminded of the old REA
(Railway Express Agency) that was in business for over a hundred years,
starting with the Pony Express. They never made a "profit."
Even so, profits for most businesses are in the range of 2-5% of revenue.
Here's a sample of usual industry profits:
* Networks - 29%
* Mining, crude oil - 24%
* Pharma - 16%
* Specialty retailers - 4%
* Energy - 4%
* Airlines - 4%
* Hospitals - 3%
* Pipelines - 3%
* Car parts - 1%
* Homebuilding - -9%
It doesn't take much inefficiency to crash the bottom line and governments
are unrivaled at inefficiency.
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