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I was not really aware that we were talking about gay marriage or anything along that line, but back to the subject of tax policy and size of government, here is a link to a great article about Milton Friedman:
Mr. Hartless, I think old Rhys is kidding with you a little there.
To answer your question though, take a look at Mr. Wedel's post. When he says "freedom" he means something different than what you and I mean. We have in mind freedom from the force and coercion of government,which is also what America's founders meant. He means being guaranteed certain results, which is what people like Woodrow Wilson and John Dewey meant. Guaranteeing results is an expensive proposition and requires significant taxation on the productive elements of society. Unfortunately, this also erodes the overall productivity of society and leads to the fairness problems that you correctly point out. It further means that someone must perceive themselves as competent to know how to redistribute wealth. I do not believe that such competence exists. I would rather trust free markets.
Thank you for your reply, Mr. Wedel. I am actually quite sure that I am not going to convince you of anything, but for the benefit of other folks reading this, I will reply
First, I did answer your question about the collection plate. It is none of my business what you, Mr. Hartless or anyone else puts in the collection plate. It is not my place to dictate the behavior of others. My only interest is that they be free to make their own choices.
Actually, it is here where I believe our basic differences lie. I look at history and I see that freedom has worked and that government control and planning has not been terribly effective. So, I would say that not only is freedom morally right, but it has demonstrably better practical effects than government control and coercion. This is not to say that government does not serve a proper and necessary role, but just because something needs done, does not mean that government is the party that should do it. Government, by its very nature, works only through coercion. In this regard, it is the opposite of the free market.
Consequently, my view, like this country's founders, is that government should be limited. We are more likely to realize this effect if people see that it is their money that the government is spending. Therefore, I want people to realize that they have skin in the game when the government spends money.
In the final analysis, I do not believe that government properly exists for it own sake. It exists only for the sake of, and to the extent consented to, by the governed. As Adam Smith observed, the proper role of government is limited to protecting us from invasion, administering justice internally,and "erecting and maintaining certain public works, and certain public institutions, which it can never be for the interest of any individual, or small number of individuals to erect and maintain."
Thanks to Mr. Wedel for his response. I would answer with two points.
First, Mr. Hartless can put any amount that he wants in the collection plate ($0, $3, or $30,000). It is really none of my business, except to the extent that I will defend his right to do what he wants. The point is that he and everyone else is free to choose.
Second, your statement that, "The amount of taxes dues (sic) is obviously dependent upon the person's wealth and income." is clearly false. In terms of how the system actually works, in 2010 GE made $14.2 billion worldwide and paid no U.S. income tax. So, your premise does not entirely reflect how the system works now.
In fact, your premise is really the point up for discussion. Why should the amount you pay be dependent upon your income and wealth? Doesn't a system like you describe provide a disincentive to producing income and wealth? Furthermore, that sort of system supports the myth that "Someone else is paying, so why do I care why the government spends?". This is one of the major factors that makes it so difficult to get spending under control. Too much of the electorate thinks that they are playing with someone else's money.
I am surprised at the reactions to this article. It seems to me that Mark illustrates a point that is worthy of some thoughtful discussion.
Mark, thanks for making this point.
Eric has clearly given this a lot of thought, but my question is why wouldn't private enterprise be a more logical provider for this kind of facility. I see similar facilities in lots and lots of other markets.
I have to agree with Dan and Rob on the air service. More frequent and more reliable air service out of Hayden is a lot more helpful to me that more non-stops. Driving to Denver for flights gets pretty old.
I am a lawyer and have a significant office in Austin (also an office in Denver). Most of my work is Texas related, although the clients are all over the world. We do take local clients and they are mostly handled by my younger lawyers in Austin, who are also licensed in Colorado at my insistence.
For broadband, though, I have used Zirkel Wireless for several years and their service is fast, reasonably priced, and awfully reliable. The service I get from Zirkel is actually faster and cheaper than the service available at my offices in Austin.
If you want to see what really happened at the Fracking Forum, video of the event is now on the Steamboat Institute website http://www.steamboatinstitute.org/videos/fracking-forum/
I have not read Michelle's book on internment, but I did find this bit about it, which sounds interesting http://michellemalkin.com/2004/08/03/in-defense-of-internment-2/.
It sounds like she had thought it was an outrage, then on studying it changed her opinion. I will read the book between now and the August conference and report back to you guys. I have learned not to judge a book by its cover.
I am not sure what it is that Eric reviewed, but you can see our principles at our website, www.steamboatinstitute.org. Also, if you look under the Past Events tab, you can literally see every Freedom Conference speaker that we have ever had, and you will see nationally- regarded speakers in a variety of areas. Despite what Eric seems to believe, we are hardly making a secret of who we are and what we stand for, which, by the way, does not include unconstitutional internment.
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