Comments: I really Did Hear the Speaker Say This

Better yet, a Fair Tax.

Posted by johngalt at March 10, 2010 10:51 PM

If by "fair" you mean zero, you have my complete support. Zero is the only "fair" tax, because my neighbors (in the guise of "government" or otherwise) have no entitlement to my property.

Posted by Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 10:35 AM

Agreed, and yet - the Constitution gives congress the power to "lay and collect taxes." I think we're stuck with that one, no?

Posted by johngalt at March 11, 2010 11:15 AM

It seems to me that I read somewhere on Three Sources that the original Federal funding mechanism was to take the Federal budget and apportion it to States based on population. How the States collected the money was up to them. Can anyone confirm this and perhaps site a source? It makes more sense to me than a flat tax, Fair Tax or any other mechanism.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at March 11, 2010 1:15 PM

BG, I was probably the one who said that, because it's what I've pointed out for a long time. It's the forgotten second reason for the census. If California were determined to have 10% of the population, it would be responsible for 10% of the federal budget (well, less tariffs and other sources of federal revenue). If West Virginia were determined to have 2% of the population, it would have to pony up 2% of the federal budget. Thus it would be in a state's own interest to keep the federal budget to a minimum, because it would have to pay for other states' projects, and its own too. Poor states would no longer receive federally funded projects at the expense of the rich states, because all states would have to pay for their proportional share. West Virginians wouldn't be as excited to get roads, bridges and other projects that they'd have to pay for -- which currently they get because the vast majority of taxes come from residents of the rich states.

However, just because something is set in "law," even the Constitution, it doesn't mean that thing is just or proper. "Congress shall have power" -- who says? I don't agree to it, even if one of the authors was James Madison.

Posted by Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 1:29 PM

Thanks, PE. Such a mechanism would end earmarks tomorrow and eliminate the chicanery around counting illegals. It would likely solve numerous budget issues that we have today.

I gotta ask, though, if zero taxes is your threshold, how would you fund a government of any size?

Posted by Boulder Refugee at March 11, 2010 2:18 PM

Exactly -- no taxes means no government. But government by definition is coercion, and I became an anarchist once I realized that the coercion applies to good people too. It's a veritable paradox that you must support this organization that will somehow safeguard your life, liberty and property, or else if you don't want to be a part of it, it will seize your property and perhaps take your liberty and life too.

I've been working on a lengthy entry for my own blog, which I had wanted to post for its five-year anniversary, but I've been too busy.

Posted by Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 3:17 PM

Article I, Section 2:

"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons."

Posted by johngalt at March 11, 2010 3:17 PM

The indians had no government when the colonists arrived, nor during westward expansion. Look where that got 'em. I say we need a government if only to tell other governments of the world to shove off.

Anarchy is too "individual liberty" even for me, and I'm widely considered a "wing-nut." I prefer leaving a Constitutional Republic to myself and my posterity.

Posted by johngalt at March 11, 2010 3:24 PM

But jg likes to forget Amendment XVI which was written specifically to refute it.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Posted by jk at March 11, 2010 3:38 PM

A two-lettered-sobriqueted acquaintance of ours would also insist that you read Wikipedia’s entry on The Iroquois Constitution. He'd say that it presaged ours and that Madison took lots of good ideas from it. I would and have disagreed; it was a defense compact of related tribes with no mention of rights. Brother jg points out its efficacy.

I bring him up because we have a long Facebook thread on the role of government. I shared naked snow-women and unlicensed beer with my Facebook coterie, and brother XX asked pretty specifically the level of government I thought appropriate.

I said, no surprise to ThreeSourcers, that you have to find some balance and that I thought the founders did a good job. Too bad we stopped paying attention.

Posted by jk at March 11, 2010 3:59 PM

PE, I'm struggling with the notion that anarchy is the ultimate instantiation of liberty. That might be true if humanity had reached perfection, but until that happens...

Posted by Boulder Refugee at March 11, 2010 5:38 PM

jg wishes he could forget Amendment XVI, which was written specifically to turn the American Republic into ancient Rome.

Posted by johngalt at March 11, 2010 6:19 PM

The Indians weren't the way they were because they lacked government like Americans or Europeans did. The Indians were the way they were because they didn't believe in property rights. With no property rights, no man had an incentive to cultivate his own land. Thus the Indians were constantly "living off the land," but such a "noble" hunter-gatherer existence allows for little accumulation of wealth and little leisure.

BG, ask yourself this: what is government? Government is force, specifically coercion. You are being forced to be a part of something, even though you may not be harming anyone else. You cannot opt out. Therefore you cannot actually be free to your own life, harming no one else, if you are being forced into a government.

I'm going to get a lot more into this when I post on my blog. Stay tuned.

Posted by Perry Eidelbus at March 11, 2010 8:50 PM
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