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Xerographica

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Keridan, well...I'm lost now. Are you saying that your only objection to pragmatarianism is that taxpayers would be susceptible to advertising by government organizations? If that's the case then wouldn't they be willing to contribute more than their fair share of taxes? Or would they somehow lose their susceptibility to advertising as soon as they paid their fair share?
 

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Keridan, well...I'm lost now. Are you saying that your only objection to pragmatarianism is that taxpayers would be susceptible to advertising by government organizations? If that's the case then wouldn't they be willing to contribute more than their fair share of taxes? Or would they somehow lose their susceptibility to advertising as soon as they paid their fair share?

I still hold that this becomes a wealth-based democracy with hints of fascism. I still hold that economic principles based on the free market do not directly apply to a finite pool of taxed income. The digression into the PR point was following your discussion points. I still don't feel that it's healthy to take this finite pool and let ppl divide it between social programs, defense, education, law enforcement and more at their personal preference.

I understand your points and your overall goal. I just disagree. It isn't lack of understanding that causes me to disagree.
 

Xerographica

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Keridan, it's lack of understanding that prevents you from effectively explaining why you disagree. There was absolutely no substance to your reply. I already completely understand that you disagree...but you totally failed to defend your incredibly vague assumptions.

Where is the fascism? Why can't we apply free market principles to the public sector? Why isn't it healthy?
 

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Keridan, it's lack of understanding that prevents you from effectively explaining why you disagree. There was absolutely no substance to your reply. I already completely understand that you disagree...but you totally failed to defend your incredibly vague assumptions.

Where is the fascism? Why can't we apply free market principles to the public sector? Why isn't it healthy?

Oh, I've explained it effectively. Even tried to simplify it. You just don't like it, so you assume I'm the naive one.
 

Xerographica

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Keridan, again...no substance. The only reason that congress allocates taxes is because they took control of the taxes from a king. That's it. That's the ONLY reason. Some barons got together and decided to strip the power of the purse from the king. You can't defend something that has no logical basis. It's based on nothing but tradition.

There is absolutely no evidence that 535 congresspeople can allocate taxes more efficiently than millions and millions of taxpayers. All the evidence is to the contrary. Every single failed socialist experiment offers loud and indisputably clear evidence that planners cannot allocate resources as efficiently as the invisible hand can.

Let me ask you again...

Where is the fascism?

Why can't we apply free market principles to the public sector?

Why isn't it healthy?
 

Keridan

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Keridan, again...no substance. The only reason that congress allocates taxes is because they took control of the taxes from a king. That's it. That's the ONLY reason. Some barons got together and decided to strip the power of the purse from the king. You can't defend something that has no logical basis. It's based on nothing but tradition.

There is absolutely no evidence that 535 congresspeople can allocate taxes more efficiently than millions and millions of taxpayers. All the evidence is to the contrary. Every single failed socialist experiment offers loud and indisputably clear evidence that planners cannot allocate resources as efficiently as the invisible hand can.

Let me ask you again...

Where is the fascism?

Why can't we apply free market principles to the public sector?

Why isn't it healthy?

I guess I will answer again. I don't know that you will like it any better, though, because it still disagrees with you.

First, your false dichotomy of either congress or pragmatarianism is the answer bothers me. There are more answers out there, which is why I feel comfortable supporting neither. I will never defend that congress spends money wisely or always acts in the best interest of the people. That doesn't mean I support keeping current taxes, but letting them become a wealth-based democracy doesn't appeal to me, either.

Once again, the fascism aspect comes from corporate taxes. Are you saying corporations pay taxes as normal or do they get included in this plan or do you want to rid us of corporate taxes? If the corporation gets to decide how a portion of taxes are delegated, then you have hints of fascism. Bear in mind, I have said hints of, not rule of.

I'm willing to expound on the principles issue if you like, but I'm not here to teach macroeconomic theory so it will be limited. The public sector is generally monopolies without comparative competition. That is not a free market. In order to create a competition, you are taking out the comparative factor. With a limited supply of income, defense competes with education and medicare directly. Of course there are more programs than these, but I'm keeping it simple here. This is a controlled market still run by the congress that you loathe, but you assume a free-market principle will apply.

Why it isn't healthy is because all the power is controlled by the wealthy. Those who pay the most in taxes get to decide what programs go underfunded. Every dollar gets a vote, so the person paying a million dollars gets a million more votes than the bottom 47% of the country combined. That 47% can't afford to make up the difference even if they wanted to.

Considering those wealthy don't get a benefit for providing any help to other programs, the invisible hand does not apply. In a free market, the advantage to those wealthy is to provide the service for a direct return on investment. The reward system is very key in making the invisible hand theory work.
 

Xerographica

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Keridan, it's not about me liking your answer...it's about your answer having any validity. For example...you said..."In a free market, the advantage to those wealthy is to provide the service for a direct return on investment. The reward system is very key in making the invisible hand theory work." That would be valid...if it weren't for the fact that the invisible hand efficiently allocates the non-profit sector.

Your concern over the wealthy would be valid...if you could offer any evidence that they would all allocate their taxes exactly alike. That would require generalizing people's values based on their level of wealth. The same concept applies to corporate taxes.

But I'd be very interested in hearing which public goods you think that the wealthy and corporate "fascists" would support with their taxes. Incidentally, it's really fascinating though to hear a libertarian making the same argument against pragmatarianism that a revolutionary communist made...A "Hard Times" Milestone. Don't worry if you can't come up with a reasonable answer...the revolutionary communist wasn't able to either. So you're in good company...I guess.
 

Keridan

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Keridan, it's not about me liking your answer...it's about your answer having any validity. For example...you said..."In a free market, the advantage to those wealthy is to provide the service for a direct return on investment. The reward system is very key in making the invisible hand theory work." That would be valid...if it weren't for the fact that the invisible hand efficiently allocates the non-profit sector.

Your concern over the wealthy would be valid...if you could offer any evidence that they would all allocate their taxes exactly alike. That would require generalizing people's values based on their level of wealth. The same concept applies to corporate taxes.

But I'd be very interested in hearing which public goods you think that the wealthy and corporate "fascists" would support with their taxes. Incidentally, it's really fascinating though to hear a libertarian making the same argument against pragmatarianism that a revolutionary communist made...A "Hard Times" Milestone. Don't worry if you can't come up with a reasonable answer...the revolutionary communist wasn't able to either. So you're in good company...I guess.

I honestly can't tell if you are being deliberately obtuse or if you don't understand. I understand wanting to stand by your theory, but ... just ... wow.

You ask me for evidence, but how about this ... show me evidence that the invisible hand will work when you remove it from the free market, take away comparable competition, and have defense compete with health care and education for the same dollars. Show me evidence that the wealthy and the corporations will fund mandates that control market practices.

I'm not terribly surprised that a communist would agree with a libertarian on this one, since it is the premise of the plan that is faulted. It's when you get to proposed solutions that you will find the considerable differences. For instance, they would still support the government monopolies while I would seek a better way to end them.

Also note that I'm not throwing the word fascism around for shock value. I will even concede that corporatocracy is a far more accurate word. The meaning I was putting to it was the corporate over-influence on governmental affairs.

As for finding a reasonable answer ... well, I've found several based on economic theory, the basis of the invisible hand, and practicality. I could provide more, but you will dismiss them without basis as you have here. Your argument is that a free market theory will work perfectly well when ripped out of context and having faith that allowing people to distribute money as they see fit will all work out wonderfully. It also ignores that the invisible hand theory is based on self-interest guiding people to help each other, but you want to remove self-interest.
 

Xerographica

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Keridan, whether you purchase a TV or make a donation to UNICEF...you instinctively understand that the money you spent cannot be used for the other goods that you value. This is known as "opportunity cost". When people are considering how much defense they would be willing to forgo for healthcare they are considering opportunity costs. The opportunity cost concept is necessary to ensure the efficient allocation of scarce resources.

I mentioned this to you way back when you brought up your Medicare example...

"The only way to ensure the most efficient allocation of public goods is to force taxpayers to consider the opportunity costs of their tax allocation decisions. You obviously value your grand/parent's health...so what other public goods would you be willing to forgo in order to help fund their healthcare?"

I'm not being obtuse...you're just bringing up the same thing that I already answered with basic economic concepts. You obviously didn't grasp it the first time even though I provided you with a link to help explain it. Like I said...This "doesn't bode well for our ability to make much progress with this discussion. If you trust your conclusions so strongly that you fail to consider the evidence that I offer then...well...we might be here a while."

Economics is all about opportunity costs. Read the opportunity costs of war and the opportunity cost of public goods. Read Bastiat's essay on opportunity costs read Hayek's essay on partial information. If you don't read and understand what I link you to then you're going to keep on bringing up the same objections.

I can't provide any evidence on how the wealthy or the poor are going to allocate their taxes. But I know you can't generalize people's values based on how much money they have. That's ridiculous. I just know that there is plenty of economic evidence for how resources are efficiently allocated and there is no economic evidence for planners being able to efficiently allocate resources. It won't work out wonderfully but it would defy everything we know about economics if it didn't work out better than the current system.
 
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Keridan

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Keridan, whether you purchase a TV or make a donation to UNICEF...you instinctively understand that the money you spent cannot be used for the other goods that you value. This is known as "opportunity cost". When people are considering how much defense they would be willing to forgo for healthcare they are considering opportunity costs. The opportunity cost concept is necessary to ensure the efficient allocation of scarce resources.

I mentioned this to you way back when you brought up your Medicare example...

"The only way to ensure the most efficient allocation of public goods is to force taxpayers to consider the opportunity costs of their tax allocation decisions. You obviously value your grand/parent's health...so what other public goods would you be willing to forgo in order to help fund their healthcare?"

I'm not being obtuse...you're just bringing up the same thing that I already answered with basic economic concepts. You obviously didn't grasp it the first time even though I provided you with a link to help explain it. Like I said...This "doesn't bode well for our ability to make much progress with this discussion. If you trust your conclusions so strongly that you fail to consider the evidence that I offer then...well...we might be here a while."

Economics is all about opportunity costs. Read the opportunity costs of war and the opportunity cost of public goods. Read Bastiat's essay on opportunity costs read Hayek's essay on partial information. If you don't read and understand what I link you to then you're going to keep on bringing up the same objections.

I can't provide any evidence on how the wealthy or the poor are going to allocate their taxes. But I know you can't generalize people's values based on how much money they have. That's ridiculous. I just know that there is plenty of economic evidence for how resources are efficiently allocated and there is no economic evidence for planners being able to efficiently allocate resources. It won't work out wonderfully but it would defy everything we know about economics if it didn't work out better than the current system.

Well, I give up. You don't even understand my last argument, let alone the principal differences between the two fields of economics. You even feel that opportunity cost is the answer to a lack of comparable competition.

You can't teach a pig to sing. I am not going to waste my time trying. So I will have to accept that you walk away feeling like you win and you will get to feel like you win and wonder why pragmatarianism never gains any ground among rational and educated people.
 

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Xerographica, which of the two scenarios describes more closely your vision for how this would work?

To Begin: When the taxpayer pays his taxes, he marks a checklist with the % of his money that he wants to spend in each area of what's typically considered government spending.

Scenario 1: The government receives the tax money and allocates it as noted by the taxpayer in the checklist. Meaning, I pay $100, and if I say 10% to program 1; 20% to program 2; 50% to program 3; and 20% to program 4, then $10 goes to #1, $20 to #2, $50 to program 3, and $20 to program 4, etc. The same thing happens for the taxpayer that pays $200 and the one who pays $800. They give their percentages, and that amount of their money gets sent where they say.

Scenario 2: The government receives the checklist, averages the percentages with all the other taxpayer's percentage wishes, and allocates total spending based on the taxpayer determined percentages. Meaning, I pay $100 with the same % checklist as above. So does the 2nd and 3rd taxpayer. But, the 2nd and 3rd taxpayer's percentages are different than mine. So, we add up all the money, average the percentages, and allocate the money based on the average % requested.

In scenario #1, I'd be voting with my money. In scenario #2, I'd be voting as to how all the money was spent.
 

Xerographica

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Well, I give up. You don't even understand my last argument, let alone the principal differences between the two fields of economics. You even feel that opportunity cost is the answer to a lack of comparable competition.

You can't teach a pig to sing. I am not going to waste my time trying. So I will have to accept that you walk away feeling like you win and you will get to feel like you win and wonder why pragmatarianism never gains any ground among rational and educated people.

Yes...because Bastiat and Hayek were pigs who didn't know what they were talking about. Because "comparable competition" is a real economics term and "opportunity cost" is not.

Pragmatarianism has only been around for 2 years. How much progress has libertarianism made in the past 100 years? If you get a chance you might want to look up Einstein's definition of insanity.
 

Xerographica

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GreenvilleGrows, when you have questions about pragmatarianism it helps to see how your questions apply to the non-profit sector. In a pragmatarian system you would submit your taxes directly to FEMA...or the EPA...or the DOD...etc. They would give you a receipt and then send a notice of your payment to the IRS.

Anybody not interested in directly allocating their taxes would still be able to send their taxes to the IRS.
 

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Yes...because Bastiat and Hayek were pigs who didn't know what they were talking about. Because "comparable competition" is a real economics term and "opportunity cost" is not.

Pragmatarianism has only been around for 2 years. How much progress has libertarianism made in the past 100 years? If you get a chance you might want to look up Einstein's definition of insanity.

I almost took the bait ... then I reread how many times I've explained that you are applying a free market principal to a coercive monopoly system. Hell, just look up the invisible hand definitions and count the number of times you see references to self interest. And I realized you have a point (that you didn't intend) about the definition of insanity ... reminds me of teaching a pig to sing for some reason.

Btw, I wouldn't call Hayek and Bastiet pigs. They were both free market economists who believe spontaneous order was necessary for the invisible hand to work pragmatarians. I double checked, but I didn't see anything about either of them advocating continued taxation with payer-directed allocation of funds. I bet they would have understood the difference.

Oh, and the Libertarian party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the US with over a quarter million followers. And it's only 40 years old. Libertarian Party (United States) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

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GreenvilleGrows, when you have questions about pragmatarianism it helps to see how your questions apply to the non-profit sector. In a pragmatarian system you would submit your taxes directly to FEMA...or the EPA...or the DOD...etc. They would give you a receipt and then send a notice of your payment to the IRS.

Anybody not interested in directly allocating their taxes would still be able to send their taxes to the IRS.

In principal, the idea sounds interesting. But, the transition would be chaotic. And, wouldn’t each year also be chaotic? The departments would have no idea how much money they might receive depending upon PR campaigns or controversies that arose the prior year. And, wouldn’t the various departments end up mounting annual capital campaigns? I believe the market takes care of itself when left alone. And, I believe that most of what citizens do would average out. But, I also believe there are false external forces that act upon the citizens skewing results.
 

Xerographica

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Keridan, of course Bastiat and Hayek weren't pigs...but pragmatarianism is based on their theories. So by attacking pragmatarianism you're attacking their theories.

You're absolutely correct that neither Bastiat nor Hayek advocated pragmatarianism. What did they advocate? Libertarianism. I didn't ask you how long the Libertarian Party has been around for...I asked you how long libertarianism has been around for.

At the end of my blog entry on libertarianism I included a timeline of limited government advocacy. Please look over the timeline and let me know how long you think that libertarianism has been around for.

Look, I apologize if I come off as antagonistic, impatient, condescending and abrasive. Frankly, of the many people I've discussed pragmatarianism with on here, you're probably one of the most well informed on basic ideological concepts. Which doesn't necessarily say much because this forum almost entirely consists of bipartisan bickering rather than intelligent discussion...which you might have noticed.

But you've got to understand that I've put considerable thought and research into this issue. I understand the libertarian argument like I understand the back of my hand. I value it...and appreciate it...but recognize that it makes some fundamental assumptions. It assumes that the private sector will produce adequate levels of the public goods that it wants to kick over to the private sector. The American public is not willing to make those same assumptions.

We all want adequate levels of the public goods that we value. But the only way to objectively gauge how much you truly value Medicare is by seeing how much public education you would be willing to forgo for adequate levels of Medicare. This the opportunity cost concept. It doesn't make sense for us to have levels of a public good that do accurately reflect how much we truly value that public good.

Both of us lose if we turn this into a pissing contest. I've acknowledged my flaws just like I'm able to acknowledge the flaws in libertarianism. This is essential to making any kind of progress.
 

Xerographica

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In principal, the idea sounds interesting. But, the transition would be chaotic. And, wouldn’t each year also be chaotic? The departments would have no idea how much money they might receive depending upon PR campaigns or controversies that arose the prior year. And, wouldn’t the various departments end up mounting annual capital campaigns? I believe the market takes care of itself when left alone. And, I believe that most of what citizens do would average out. But, I also believe there are false external forces that act upon the citizens skewing results.

Implementation is the very last bridge we would have to cross. Before we crossed that bridge we'd have to convince voters that taxpayers can allocate taxes more efficiently than congress can. This bridge is so huge that it's hard to imagine being on the other side of it.

But in order for the transition to be chaotic you'd have to assume that the majority of taxpayers would choose to directly allocate their taxes. If only 1% of taxpayers choose to directly allocate their taxes then it would be hard to imagine any chaos ensuing. Given the opportunity...what percentage of taxpayers would choose to directly allocate their taxes? Personally I have no idea. Perhaps the majority of Americans are content to outsource "purchasing" public goods to "personal shoppers" (aka congress).

Regarding each year being chaotic...how much do your core values change from year to year? How much did the budgets of the cabinet departments change from Bush to Clinton to Bush?
 

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Well, I'm willing to discuss this on points or broader theory. In fact, it's an interesting theory, which is something I'm always open to. However, when I disagree with you, you can't take it personal or assume I'm ignorant or unable to understand. Address my points, not your opinion of my intelligence. Also, remember I have an open mind. I'm not dismissing you out-of-hand.

Heck, I was raised by a conservative republican attorney and a democratic liberal doctorate of economics. I ended up a libertarian small business owner. I know something about seeing more than one side to things and the value of debate and continued education. I have been reading the links you post as well as doing brushing up on theory and key players myself while we talk.

As for libertarian practices vs the libertarian party, I'm not going to debate with you. It's a strong party with a growing following, but I identify with it on general concepts. In practice, it needs work, too.

So yes, let's move forward without the pissing contest.

I accept your statement about the American public's assessment of private production for public needs. They are not ready to have full faith in the invisible hand as Adam Smith predicted it. Even Smith believed that some government intervention was completely necessary and the theories behind Wealth of Nations could be said to predict a need for the FDA or EPA even. A stretch of it could even accommodate a need for Medicare.

Here's a glitch for me. You keep using the term invisible hand as an explanation for why you believe the public goods will still be cared for. The invisible hand is entirely based on the concept that taking care of one's self interests will take care of public needs. A very oversimplified description (and you can debate this interpretation if you care to) is to say that if there is a public need, someone will find a way to personally profit (not necessarily in dollars) by filling that need. His intention is not to do good, but as a by-product, it takes care of the need.

Now, when a wealthy person allocates her taxes and measures the opportunity costs, she is unlikely to see payment of unemployment as serving her own interests. A corporation is even less likely to see it. Of course, it does benefit them long run, but security, foreign trade, or even education supplies a more immediate benefit and the more they spend on those, the more opportunity cost says they can't give to unemployment. In fact, the only ones who will perceive unemployment to be an immediate self interest is likely to be the unemployed, who pay no taxes. This is one example, similar things could be said of several other programs. I even used Medicare as an example previously.

Of course, you will have exceptions. Some people are simply philanthropic in nature. Some people will have a better grasp on the overall economic effect of their expenditures. Those will be few in numbers, however.

The problem is exacerbated by the imbalance of our progressive taxation. 1% of the populace would decide where over a third of the entire country's spending goes. This is all part of why I don't think opportunity cost is a truly objective measurement of what benefits the people or even what public goods they desire.

I could go on, but this is already huge and I want your input at this point, so I will hold off.

As a side note, we have totally hijacked this thread and while I'm willing to continue, we might consider moving to another one. I sent an apology to Conservativeguy and he said he was fine with it, but whoever clicks on the thread title isn't getting what they expected.
 

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Since all government spending and programs are paid for with tax money, directly allocating your own taxes amounts to voting on your choice of government programs. Ones people don't like wouldn't receive funding, even if they were necessary. Suppose, only as an example, people used this method and medicare only ended up with 10% of it's current funding. Most people who have medicare pay fewer taxes. Suddenly people who depend on medicare have no health coverage and didn't have any transition. The same could be said of any social program that people are dependent on. You can't just take it away without transition and a new plan for them.

It becomes regressive, as well, due to the fact that the poor get the fewest monetary votes. Even worse, if you still tax corporations, you start risking fascism.

Regarding continuing of policies when a president leaves office, it depends on who follows and what choices both people make. If he tried to accomplish his goals in 8 years, I think it would be rough and people would dislike the extreme changes and they would vote in someone who vowed to undo them. It's all speculation, however. I'm also not speaking directly to the value of his policies, but rather to the speed with which he would need to see them implemented in an 8 year presidency.



Actually, it went from socialized medicine to fascist medicine when it went from single-payer to forced purchase of a private product. I'm not a republican, but it wasn't them who made the change.


NEWS FLASH: It was never a single-payer.

Also, would you mind explaining how the new healthcare plan is "fascist?"
 

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NEWS FLASH: It was never a single-payer.

Also, would you mind explaining how the new healthcare plan is "fascist?"

Haha! There's an abrupt throw back to the original thread! Well done!

Here's another twist for you: I'm going to start my answer by saying that you are factually correct in both statements.

Interestingly, as much as I dislike the bill, I don't think that it's either socialism or fascism. They both just sound good and dramatic when you compare them to corporatocracy. The public option that got dropped would have been the closest part to socialism. I'm also just not any more of a fan of corporatocracy than I am the other two options.
 

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My stance on the healthcare debate is that taxpayers should have the freedom to directly allocate their individual taxes...aka pragmatarianism.

Pragmatarianism would make the entire debate a moot point. Taxpayers would be able to directly allocate as much of their taxes as they wanted to public healthcare and the amount of funds that public healthcare received would determine the percentage of the population that qualified for coverage. This dynamic would allow public and private healthcare organizations to indirectly compete for funding. Everybody would benefit from this competition.

So...if you had to choose one or the other...would you choose for Ron Paul to be elected president or would you choose for taxpayers to be allowed to directly allocate their taxes?

This would never happen. America's occupying wars would instantly end. I doubt the militairy industrial complex would let that happen.

(or at least be severely reduced with only a small fraction of people willing to pay for the war)
 

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Keridan, we're working with the basic premise that no two public expenditures will produce the exact same benefit to society. In order to maximize the benefit to society each and every taxpayer should be forced to consider the opportunity costs of their tax allocation decisions. You made the point that 1% of the populace would control the allocation of 1/3 of the taxes...but the challenge is to understand how well we can generalize the values of these wealthy people. One percent of 300 million people is 3,000,000 people. Is it possible to generalize the values of three million people based on their wealth alone? Is the goal to determine how much taxes democrats vs republicans have to allocate? Do people's values align perfectly along party lines?

In terms of unemployment benefits...what is the value of unemployment benefits compared to all the other possible uses of public funds? It's something that's impossible to calculate. The only way we can objectively determine how much society values unemployment benefits is by seeing how much of their taxes they allocate to unemployment benefits. We can't rely solely on the public opinion of voters to determine the allocation of public funds. We need to gauge the actual values of the public. And the only way we can accurately do so is by forcing them to make hard decisions when it comes to their tax allocation decisions.

How many taxpayers have directly benefited at some time from unemployment benefits? How many taxpayers have had friends or family members benefiting from unemployment at some time? How many taxpayers are currently concerned with the prospect of unemployment? Congress can never accurately gather and process all this disparate information. Of course they have access to unemployment data but that statistic conveys nothing about values. How should the money be divided between unemployment benefits and job creation? Perhaps more money should go towards repairing infrastructure which will decrease unemployment. Or perhaps we should hire more police or more teachers or more first responders...

The value of the invisible hand concept is that it helps understand that this is all way too complex for planners to mess with. That's exactly why we keep bouncing back between democratic and republican leadership...anybody that tries to second guess the invisible hand will invariably drive the car into the ditch...to steal Obama's favorite analogy.

Here's a thread I created specifically for this discussion....
 

Xerographica

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This would never happen. America's occupying wars would instantly end. I doubt the militairy industrial complex would let that happen.

(or at least be severely reduced with only a small fraction of people willing to pay for the war)

Out of curiosity did you read my post on the Opportunity Costs of War? If I randomly stop posting you'll know that it was the military industrial complex that got me.
 
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