OT: But Worth The Time to Read

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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."
Joe G
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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.
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On 04/14/2010 12:08 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.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 cost-effective.
Arguably, taxation is simply a form of self-insurance.
Chris
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On 4/14/2010 1:21 PM, Chris Friesen wrote:

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.
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On 04/14/2010 12:46 PM, Swingman wrote:

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.
Chris
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On 4/14/2010 1:59 PM, Chris Friesen wrote:

It's an argument for _limiting_ taxation. :)
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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 keyboard.
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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.
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You lefties really do like strawmen.

More straw thrown on the fire.

Hogwash. How is multi-generational welfare "self-insurance"?
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On 04/14/2010 01:02 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com 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 self-insurance.
Chris
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wrote:

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 transportation.

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.

Which has *NOTHING* to do with this thread.
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On 4/14/2010 3:37 PM, Chris Friesen wrote:

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.

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Police protection is the same. You arm yourself to protect your life. The police may catch the perp, if you're remiss in your duty to blow him away, so he doesn't spread his grief to others.
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On 04/14/2010 10:07 PM, J. Clarke wrote:

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 firefighting insurance.
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 coverage.
For some reason however, most places in the USA treat fire and policing differently from health care.
Chris
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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.
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Chris Friesen wrote:

Oh?
There are FAR more security guards in my city than cops. 85% of American fire-fighters are volunteers.
Do you have other possible examples?
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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 real police.
"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
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Dave In Texas wrote:

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...
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On 04/15/2010 05:30 PM, HeyBub wrote:

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 getting paid...
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.
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

Correct.
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%
But
* 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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