North Texas Objectivist Society (NTOS) Message Board › How do you fund a government?

How do you fund a government?

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A former member
Post #: 2
This is something about objectivism I've never really understood, and it would be very helpful if someone could share their thoughts or point to any articles about this subject.

What is the legitamate way to fund a government?

If we have a government that produces no resources on its own, but has the responsibility of protecting the rights of the individual. How should this be financed in a lassaez-faire system?
Scott C.
Scott_Connery
Dallas, TX
Post #: 15
One of the more commonly discussed ideas (I think it comes from Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal) is a contract enforcement fee.

This would be a voluntary fee, say 5%, that you could choose to pay on any transaction. If you paid the fee, and the contract was violated, the government would prosecute the guilty party. If you didn't pay the fee, which would be perfectly fine, you would have no government recourse if the deal went sour.

Then of course, there would be various user fees for activities which only some people used.

It might also use the military on a for profit basis. For example, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, was clearly a country that had no right to exist. If we chose to invade, we could charge the cost of the invasion, plus a profit to the incoming government.

In the case of the US specifically, I think the government could survive forever just on the interest it made on the money taken in when all non-essential government assets are sold off.
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 448
Scott, I don't agree with using the military for a for profit venture at all. Mercenary soldiers can do that if they decide too. That, in my opinion, falls way outside the scope of the proper government.

How governments should be funded was something I had a hard time understanding for a long time. User fees make sense, because why should we make people pay when they don't get benefit? I like to use public libraries and parks that we have today and I WOULD willingly pay fees to use both - but shouldn't have to pay anything if I don't use it.

Regarding Scott's suggestion of fees to uphold contracts etc...well, we don't actually have that completely in place today, but people DO have to pay court fees even now. So it isn't that far of a stretch at all.

It is possible for this to happen - it would just have to have over time, bit by bit, to get things in place.
Scott C.
Scott_Connery
Dallas, TX
Post #: 17
Scott, I don't agree with using the military for a for profit venture at all. Mercenary soldiers can do that if they decide too. That, in my opinion, falls way outside the scope of the proper government.


I agree that this opens up a giant can of worms. However, if we agree for the sake of argument that the war in Iraq was just (I do think we had appropriate cause to go.), then I fail to see any reason why finding some way to offset the cost of doing it is automatically wrong.
Lathanar
Lathanar
Dallas, TX
Post #: 294
One of the important things to keep in mind with this is that a proper government would not be anywhere near the size and bloat of our current government. It may seem overwhelming to try and figure out where a several trillion dollar budget would come from, but the budget would not be anywhere near that amount. Personally, I haven't seen a good reason yet for why the government couldn't also go into business for itself, much as a corporation, as long as it doesn't create monopolies like it does now.

- Travis
Tom
TAA1
McKinney, TX
Post #: 38
The size of a capitalistic government would be remarkably small.

I believe if all the fat was truely cut it would be easy to fund.

In such a free society what percentage of the citizens do you think would voluntarily support the government? I believe it would only need to be around 30% to funtion well--however, I think it would be much higher than that.

Tom
A former member
Post #: 3
Thanks for the input. I just ordered Capitalism : The unknown ideal, and am looking forward to reading it.
Dan
dbclawyer
Allen, TX
Post #: 110
Jason,

Good questions.

As for reading Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, you are in for quite a treat. Please feel free to post any questions you may have. Even better, come to a meetup and ask them in person.

Dan
Sherry
SherryTX
Plano, TX
Post #: 448
I am not against offsetting costs, but the the idea of a "for profit" military makes it sound like going out and selling military services. The problem I have with that is I don't think invading countries should be on the basis of anything except if they are a threat against us. Maybe I am just reading more into than I should, but in most business when developing new business, you are looking to satisfy a need. Sometimes those needs are really necessary - just desired. It makes me nervous that we would actually have a military itching to do a little invading, pillaging and plundering just to raise a few bucks.
Scott C.
Scott_Connery
Dallas, TX
Post #: 18
I agree that a military whose primary motivation was income would be a big problem. I was just trying to point out all revenue streams that a legitimate government could have, and I think that a military run by duly elected civilian leaders (like in our current system) would not be especially likely to pillage viking style just for the sake of pillaging.
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