- Sep 16, 2010
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
Recently started a blog...Pragmatarianism. Here are a few of the topics that I've covered so far...
Deuce, self-interest is taken into account. Some people derive utility from contributing to the common good...other people do not. Even if somebody does derive utility from contributing, it might be in their self-interest to free-ride off the contributions of others. This is known as the free-rider problem and pragmatarianism takes it into account.
So coercion would still be in place. But once people are coerced into paying taxes, the question is...do we let them decide which public goods their taxes help fund or do we let congress decide? Tax payers would have to ask themselves this same question. In my post on power and control I covered a few factors that tax payers might take into consideration.
You seem to be aware of some of these factors because, in my thread on , you said, "Oh, so all that money the government shovels into the hands of private businesses through a corrupt contracting process is money they earned."
Am I missing any relevant aspects of human nature?
Deuce, you said I was missing every aspect of human nature...but, rather than listing all the aspects I was missing, you went straight to talking about the market. However, the market is based on self-interest...which I covered.
You said that marketing would be a problem but then went on to advertise the public goods that you care about. The number of people that allocated their taxes to a bridge in North Dakota, or vaccine research, etc. would depend entirely on you and anybody else that cares about those public goods.
Can you do me a favor and let me know exactly where I said, "tax payers are better informed than the general public,"?
Once taxes solve the free-rider problem then the invisible hand can allocate public goods as efficiently as it allocates private goods. You're trying to say that a relatively small group of well-informed politicians can process as much information as the invisible hand. If this were the case then there would be at least one example of a successful command economy.
I'm sure you've seen Wikipedia's fundraising progress bar. If their goal has been reached then what's the likelihood that people will continue donating money? The opportunity cost concept would be as applicable to public goods as it is to private goods.
Deuce, pragmatarianism is all about ceteris paribus. The Department of Defense and NASA would still decide their funding requirements. The difference would be, rather than only having to sell their budget to congress...they would also have to sell their budget to tax payers.
Not sure if you realize this but there are only 3 qualifications to be a senator. You have to...
1) be at least 30
2) be a US citizen for at least 9 years.
3) live in the state you're running for
Their job is to represent your interests and values. If you're happy with how they do this then you would just continue giving them your taxes. If you're dissatisfied with their job performance then you would just allocate your taxes yourself.
Given the opportunity, what percentage of tax payers would choose to allocate their taxes themselves?
Deuce, according to your argument...both conservatives and liberals would stop funding the things they value. However, as I said, pragmatarianism is all about ceteris paribus, so the tax rate would not change. If we assume that one group pays a larger total amount of taxes...then either "liberal" or "conservative" public goods would lose funding. But it can't be both.
In terms of logistics...each government organization's website would provide their budget needs for the year and display a fundraising progress bar. From here there are two possibilities...
1. When you paid your taxes you would add each organization's Tax ID (found on their website) and indicate what percentage of your taxes should go to each organization. When you submitted your taxes each organization would automatically receive a notification...their progress bar would be updated and you would be able to confirm that each government organization received your taxes.
2. You would pay each government organization directly. They would send you a receipt and notify the IRS.
Another serious problem: Lack of cohesion in assigning funds. You've decided to allocate resources through 100 million individual decisions. While some important things will probably be underfunded, other, sexier things will be grossly overfunded. Some disease breaks out, vaccine research gets billions and billions of dollars because everyone is scared now. Except you don't need billions of dollars, you just need a few million. If 50 million of those 100 million people think "well, the roads suck! I'll send my money towards fixing roads because we need that," you've got half of our budget going to fix roads. Whoops, sorry people who depend on medicare and social security...
rathi, errrr...do you donate to any non-profit organizations? If you do, do you sit around 24/7 handling their budgetary issues?
megaprogman, I'm not quite sure what your point is or how it relates to pragmatarianism. With pragmatarianism people can't jump off the bandwagon...they can only switch bandwagons. They can't decide to stop paying for public goods altogether...but they can switch which public goods they pay for.
I guess it would be like people funding Haiti and then switching their funds to Ethiopia. Would it be wrong for people to switch their funding from Haiti to Ethiopia? Could we "overfund" Ethiopia?
rathi, yeah, it would be a mess if we operated non-profits like we operate our government. But rather than modeling non-profits after our government...why not model our government after non-profits? We'd still have to pay the same amount of taxes but we would be able to choose which government organizations received our taxes.
Non-profits don't let their donors choose how to allocate money. That doesn't get into the fact that its delusional to think that government and non-profits can be organized in even a remotely similar fashion.