Over the years of writing this blog there are a few issue that the reading and analysis keeps returning to. At the risk of repetition a few of them are:
- Political leaders have a natural tendency to promise benefits without paying for them.
- Personal virtues can become public vices. Charity that is voluntarily contributed is a virtue. Money that is forcefully extracted, regardless of the intent, to give to another, regardless of need, is theft.
- Government can provide any benefit; it must only decide how to pay for it. Taxes, debt, or inflation are the options.
- Government runs on political self interest. The market runs on economic self interest. Both will have failures. The benefit of market approaches is that economic self interest corrects mistakes quicker. The answer to government failure is often more government. Failure is thus perpetuated until drastic changes, frequently revolution, is invoked. Our experiment has delivered drastic changes and survived drastic shocks largely without revolution. (Once could label the Civil War a failed revolution.)
- Our dissatisfaction with government comes from depending on them to solve too many problems. While the debate focuses on taxation the bigger problem is less how we tax or how much we tax; it is how big we allow the government to become relative to our ability to support it.
- “ Magical power, technology or political power does not save us from our faults, but instead amplifies their ill effects.”
- “One should not confuse a problem to be solved with a fact to be accepted.” – Shimon Peres