It’s the morning, so tax pays for government

Then there is a lack of understanding of what government, and the taxes it charges, actually does. How many people really think about just how much they are really dependent upon the existence of good government, the rule of law and the services the government provides to make a great deal of life possible? And I mean possible, not better. Without the infrastructure the state supplies there would be no markets of the sort we know to provide us with anything else. But awareness of that is, I suspect, quite low.

In the afternoon it will be government spends and then taxes to prevent the inflation from their having done so.

Third, the understanding of tax in all this is low. Most people, including the vast majority of politicians, still think that tax pays for government services. It doesn’t. Tax reclaims the money the government has spent.

Aha, no, it’s in the next paragraph!

But yes, he does manage to get one thing right.

The obvious response is that no one enjoys paying tax. But I am not sure that’s true. No one actually enjoys paying for anything. Just ask them. If they can got something for less very few will deny that they would prefer it. And marketeers know it: that’s why price is used as an incentive on so many occasions. But the fact that price is an issue does not mean people stop buying things. It’s the same with tax: the fact that people would like to get the services they enjoy for less does not actually mean they would not pay for them still. So I’m not convinced people don’t like paying tax. They’re just grumbling about the price.

Sure, we want the goodies and we complain about the price of them. Which is why claiming that tax, in and of itself, is a good thing is so ludicrously stupid. It’s the goodies we want. The tax is the price. Which means that we want maximal goodies for the lowest price. The tax is the bad thing, the cost, the goodies are the good thing, the benefit.

It’s possible to write about the Joy of Government. Even a minimalist like myself will agree that some is a very good idea indeed. It’s also entirely stupid to be arguing about the Joy of Tax.

33 comments on “It’s the morning, so tax pays for government

  1. Government has three essential purposes. Policing, Judiciary and National Defense. I’m sure there are some things that the government does that add value (i.e. increases the lot of the average person by more than the spend, or by more than could be achieved by leaving the money in the hands of the people) but I’m also sure that there’s a lot more that does not add value. Figuring out which spending is which is a challenge left to the reader

  2. Government derives from the people, and should just be the pooling of resources of things better done as a group. Enforcing the rule of law and property rights are the basic functions.

    What amazes me with those cnuts is that they have such a dim view of people that we are seen as incapable of behaving honourably unless some goon in uniform is present. A good statist is a dead statist.

  3. Nobody likes paying for anything? Did the fat twat actually write that nonsense? What the fat moron means is that people like to pay for the things they want and need. They don’t like to be coerced by overwhelming force into paying tax.

  4. The ultimate anti-murph argument would be, if we really need the government to help us to organise our lives because we are all incompetent fools if we don’t work in a government, how can it be that a moronic twat like Murphy is allowed anywhere near an educational establishment? How can an omniscient and omnipotent government allow this gross error to happen?

  5. a) Yep, a market economy needs someone to enforce property rights.
    b) And we have a government that spends 38% of our GDP, and wants more.
    Anyone think that a) means b)?

  6. @ Alex11

    And we have a government that spends 38% of our GDP, and wants more.

    Actually, 42.8% in 2015. After 5 years of ‘austerity’, it rose from 41% in 2010 (and 35% in 2000).

  7. Al Capone loved his son. Ipso facto, Al was good.

    That government does some good things doesn’t make it good. Commies and Lefties think government is good. It is necessary. When you start thinking it is good, you are crossing the line into statism.

  8. ” a market economy needs someone to enforce property rights.”

    The State doesn’t enforce property rights, it provides the legal mechanism for the individual to do so, at his own expense.

  9. Yep, “necessary evil” is the only positive way to describe government or tax, IMHO.

    Sadly, a lot of either is not even necessary.

  10. How many people really think about just how much they are really dependent upon the existence of good government, the rule of law and the services the government provides to make a great deal of life possible? And I mean possible, not better.

    Lovely. He’s provided a yardstick over what is acceptable government spending. If it makes life possible, it is good.

    So, over to the Fat One. I’m looking forward for his justification that arts subsidy or foreign aid “makes life possible, not better”, for UK citizens. Feel free to add your own.

  11. But the fact that price is an issue does not mean people stop buying things.

    Cars rise in price to £1m. I wonder what the effect on car sales will be?

  12. “people like to pay for the things they want and need”

    No they don’t. They like getting those things. Paying for them is the unfortunate necessity.

  13. @Rob – obviously arts subsidies make life possible for artists and the various inbred poshos who parasitise the art world. I vaguely know someone who works behind the scenes at a major gallery and the stories he tells of the people he works with are amazing.

  14. I think you could cut UK government expenditure by c.30% relatively easily. After that, it would become increasingly difficult politically and also require long-term organisational reform — eg moving from a socialist healthcare system to an insurance-based, multi-provider one, not to mention de-nationalising education and introducing school vouchers…

  15. Rob,

    I remember people telling me that if petrol rose to 50p a gallon, they’d give up the car. The ones that are still alive are still driving!

    Some cars are £1M already – their manufacturers have full order books.

    Doesn’t spoil the point you made, though.

  16. @Witchie,

    Its probably cheaper now in real terms since a pound from that time was worth a lot more than now.

    Productivity increases and technological progress hide the fact that the pound in your pocket loses its value every day through inflation.

    Inflation is good we are told because reasons (I think that it is untrue). That it enables the state to lower the value of its debt over time is entirely coincidental.

  17. “How many people really think about just how much they are really dependent upon the existence of good government, the rule of law and the services the government provides to make a great deal of life possible?”

    If government didn’t interfere with so much other stuff, I’m sure more people would give them more credit for what they do for us on the essentials.

    Also:
    “And I mean possible, not better”

    Way to set the bar low.

  18. @Gamecock

    Ref Al Capone

    That was a great comment. Saved for use elsewhere.

    (Personally, I would have used Hitler and how kind he was to his dog, but that’s probably because the war has been on my mind this week)

  19. @ Rational Anarchist
    Education – the Church and Charities provided education before the government stepped in but they could not force people to learn to read and write.
    Healthcare for working-age men is value-adding since the income tax paid by those who recover and would not have recovered without the NHS exceesa the cost of treatment.

  20. Matthew L

    I am quite happy to pay someone else to refit my bathroom or to manufacture my car or grow my veggies. I don’t resent the expenditure as much as I resent paying tax.

  21. “Most people, including the vast majority of politicians, still think that tax pays for government services. It doesn’t. Tax reclaims the money the government has spent. That’s because the government can always create the money it needs to spend anything it wants.”

    The proof that something factually happens, apparently, is that it could happen.

  22. Monoi>

    “Inflation is good we are told because reasons (I think that it is untrue). That it enables the state to lower the value of its debt over time is entirely coincidental.”

    That’s not coincidental, it’s one of the two key reasons. The other is that deflation is very bad, and we’re not much good at controlling inflation precisely, so we aim to overshoot the zero rate we want by 2% or so to ensure we never slip into the catastrophe that is deflation.

    There are also some political reasons for having inflation – it’s much easier politically to lower wages through inflation than through wage cuts, for example – but they’re not economic arguments.

    James G>

    https://www.yell.com/ucs/UcsSearchAction.do?keywords=synagogues&location=uk&scrambleSeed=335526333

    What more proof do you need? They’re not hiding…

    But seriously, the bit you’ve quoted tacitly asks the question of why it’s not already being done (instead of us paying tax), and the answer from the man who invented the conspiracy theory – Henry Ford – was that it’s because ‘the Jews’ are doing it and keeping the proceeds.

    Everything Ritchie writes starts off in Mein Kampf or The International Jew. He’s the new David Irving, only he does revisionist economics instead of revisionist history.

  23. Dave,

    Jew’ve got a point there.

    Do you think the politicians are Zion to us?

  24. ” possible, not better”

    Much of government is in the business of unneeded meddling, first make most things impossible, then give way a little and claim to have made things possible.

  25. “Healthcare for working-age men is value-adding since the income tax paid by those who recover and would not have recovered without the NHS”

    When you measure government by positive results, you accept fascism.

  26. Deflation is always cited as a reason to have modest inflation because deflation is a Very Bad Thing.

    So, serious question, given that many economies have inflated to death, which economies have deflated to death?

    To put it another way, if we aimed for zero and had periods of mild inflation alternating with periods of mild deflation, would that really be so terible?

  27. Gamecock,
    At the dawn of the welfare state it was claimed that a) the NHS would pay for itself by reducing productive hours lost to sickness, and b) state education would pay for itself by the higher wages and therefore taxes of those so educated.

    Socialists: still keeping the old lies alive.

  28. RlJ>

    Yes, there are multiple real-life examples, all of them economically catastrophic. The Great Depression is possibly the most famous.

    “if we aimed for zero and had periods of mild inflation alternating with periods of mild deflation, would that really be so terible?”

    If we _had_ them, it wouldn’t be so bad. But if we aimed for that, we’d miss. We’d get a period of mild inflation, followed by a few days/weeks of mild deflation, followed by a massive, entirely unnecessary recession caused by the deflation.

    (I might be overstating the case ever so slightly, but really, the usual view is that even a little bit of deflation is something we want to go to great lengths to avoid.)

  29. “…government provides to make a great deal of life possible? And I mean possible, not better.”

    Proof please.

  30. @john77
    Education – the Church and Charities provided education before the government stepped in but they could not force people to learn to read and write.
    A good point, but then how much education? Should we ensure everyone remains in full time education until 18 (as now)? If education is so good, why stop there – we could force people to do degrees as well? Or we could educate them to say 12 and make sure they can do the basics (reading, writing, maths, whatever else you think is needed) and evaluate from there which would benefit most from more education and which would be better served by working/training on the job.

    Healthcare for working-age men is value-adding since the income tax paid by those who recover and would not have recovered without the NHS exceesa the cost of treatment.
    But then do we deny it to those over (and under?) working age? Currently we spend a lot on healthcare, and the majority of the spend is on those too old to work. Does that mean we should cut them off?

    I don’t know what the answers to these questions are – but I am sure that the government does a lot more than it needs to currently.

  31. @Roué le Jour
    At the dawn of the welfare state it was claimed that a) the NHS would pay for itself by reducing productive hours lost to sickness, and b) state education would pay for itself by the higher wages and therefore taxes of those so educated.

    Socialists: still keeping the old lies alive.

    Actually, they may well have a point on the education piece. If we consider what the UK as a whole would be like if we hadn’t introduced state education, we’d have an awful lot more uneducated people and the knock on effects (lack of skilled workforce – bear in mind it’s tough to even operate a checkout if you can’t add up, and shelf stocking requires reading labels) mean that we may never have developed any of the industries we currently do so well in (such as Finance).

    I’m not saying we need to educate everyone to 18, but there’s a good argument for some level of education to be mandatory and paid for out of taxes.

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