Tuesday, January 11, 2011

High Tax Libertarianism

Natural Governance proposes both high progressive taxation system and small libertarian government.  It is libertarian because it both breaks down government into small independent electorally accountable functions without the power to expand their powers legislatively, and distributes the surpluses associated with eliminating government functions back to the people.

The impossibility of legislative expansion of powers, or concentration of power either hierarchically or to single points of corruption means that all public (government) expansion must be through electoral majority, and the fact that every voter receives a direct cash payment for reducing government services or choosing cheaper regulation means that there are strong forces to limit public/social regulation.

At the same time, obvious and serious objections to libertarianism/anarchism are considered and addressed.  Private police forces are unworkable and simply another name for armed gangs serving their customers.  Wealth redistribution is actually a powerful economic development and social cohesion force.  It is socially cohesive in that it placates violent crime and social unrest.  Progressive taxation policies were largely the result of anarchist and communist revolutionaries, and is substantially the reason for national civility, docility, and conformity in 20th century OECD nations.  It is economically developing because wealth redistribution empowers more consumers.  We each need only one car, shelter, tv and phone, and have limits on drink and food desires, and so necessarily have the power to produce and sell more goods if all can afford them, rather than if few can afford hundreds of them.

A safety net conforming to libertarian principles is unconditional basic income.  For Americans, elimination of all government functions except for the IRS could lead it to distribute its tax revenue as $10,000 to each adult citizen.  It is libertarian and idealist in principle because no authority, discrimination or corruption is used to determine or qualify the recipient or pilfer administrative overhead in providing the redistribution.  Concern for and prevention of poverty are inherent popular fears of accepting libertarian principles, and so marrying basic income to systemic pressures to reduce the size and authority of the state serves to overcome the only practical objection to libertarianism.

Regulation is not inherently bad.  All necessary/appreciated regulation is a direct result of events that occurred in its absence.  Expansion of government and regulation made without accountability is evil and corrupt, but cannot be stopped in our current political systems because each individual law and program or enforcement policy is not important enough to determine the elected king of the hierarchy that produced it.  We are all too removed from political action to affect anything.  The only way to change ineffectual political action is make any law or social program a directly accountable function with no possibility of self expansion of the function.

Taxation is also not inherently bad.  Higher progressive rates are justified in being less of an inconvenience on the very successful.  All financial success is due mostly to the cooperation of the society that you extracted your surpluses from.  Other taxes (than income taxes) can also serve to direct social goals with invisible hands.  Taxes on pollutants or personally destructive behaviour can serve to both curb their consumption and fund society or recoup social costs.

1 comment:

  1. "Other taxes...direct social goals with invisible hands" sounds a bit authoritarian to me. Invisible hands get moved by rich men colluding in secret, probably to nefarious ends.

    Some of the stuff here is great btw