If Rents Can Be Created, They Will Be Sought

by Don Boudreaux on April 27, 2007

in Politics

Here’s a letter that I sent yesterday to USA Today:

To the Editor:

Drummond Drew writes that “We need to find a way to get money out of politics” (Letters, April 26).  He mistakenly supposes that carts push horses.  Money is in politics only because politicians confiscate and control so much of our money.

The only way to free politics from the influence of money is to free our money from the influence of politics.

Donald J. Boudreaux

Or, as my friend George Leef asks in an e-mail that he sent to me, “is it better to spill sugar all around and then devote lots of effort to trying to keep ants out, or just not to spill the sugar in the first place?”

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Michael April 27, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Sounds like a bunch of political chiasmus to me.

tarran April 27, 2007 at 4:19 pm

Uhm, I thought it was antimetabole, myself

Reid April 27, 2007 at 4:25 pm

If you want to get money out of politics or make politics as economically efficient as possible I recommend:

1 – Eliminate all present taxes at all levels of government.

2 – Enact new tax system that divides the government cost burden on a per-capita basis.

3 – If you can't pay your taxes you can't vote.

"You can say that I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one" – Lennon

"What ever it is I'm against it" – Marx

Reid April 27, 2007 at 4:36 pm

"What ever it is I'm against it" – Marx

That would be Groucho Marx, not the infamous Karl. Groucho Marxism is compatible free markets.

M. Hodak April 27, 2007 at 9:01 pm

I especially would approve of a constitutional amendment that would make taxes non-discriminatory, including on the basis of one's productivity (e.g., income tax "progressivity'), or allow people to disenfranchise themselves by refusing to pay discriminatory taxes.

Russell Nelson April 28, 2007 at 2:21 am
Russell Nelson April 28, 2007 at 2:24 am

Oh, and as for Marx:

Bet you never knew that Herbert Spencer and Karl Marx were buried across the path from each other?

David P. Graf April 28, 2007 at 8:35 am

Unless you want to completely privatize services provided by government such as national defense, fire and police protection, there will always be a need for government to raise money and that'll mean taxes of one sort of another since I assume this group isn't in favor of tariffs.

Of course, there is always another option. We could turn government services into profit centers. Do like the Roman Empire and start judging a General's performance not only by battles won, but by the wealth secured (or stolen!) from our enemies. Needless to say, this last paragraph was written tongue-in-cheek.

Donald Zeiter April 28, 2007 at 11:46 pm

No one is saying we should privatize national defense. But there are an awful lot of other things our federal government does, and not as well as a private business that has to please it's customers or go out of business (think the post office vs Fedex). The main purpose of the parts of the federal government is to make sure their budget does not get cut from one year to the next because in their world, it's how much money they are appropriated, not the results of spending that money, that matters.

True_Liberal April 29, 2007 at 5:09 pm

Does a poor person receive less defense from our armed forces than a rich one? Is a poor person more likely to suffer in an attack on our shores?

9-11 holds the answer, I believe.

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