Fund Government Like We Fund Apple

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May 19, 2008

Among the most common objections to a non-coercive, civil society is the funding question: "Where would money for X or Y come from, without taxes?" The obvious answer is that the money would come from the same place it comes from now: the people. There is no magic "funding fairy" to supply government with money; all government money comes from the people, one way or another. Some of this money comes from user fees, but most of it is obtained in ways that are serious crimes -- except when the government does them.

The first of those crime-like ways is coercive taxation, including the income tax, sales taxes, and many other taxes, all of which come down to: "Give us your money, or else. We'll use the money as we decide, and you have to pay even if you are appalled at what we do with the cash." The second major funding method for the U.S. government is counterfeiting: printing up money from thin air, mostly by the government-chartered monopoly of the Federal Reserve (video; an excellent and recent Ron Paul interview on Fox News about the Fed; 8 min 48 sec). Each new dollar-from-nothing reduces the value of every existing dollar. The extent of this theft-via-inflation is seen in the staggering rise in prices since the Fed's creation in 1913 -- when twenty dollars bought roughly an ounce of gold and bread was a nickel a loaf.*

Massive wealth has been siphoned from the American people -- mostly from the poor and the middle class -to the power elite and their favored corporations, banks, supporters, and friends using the income taxation and counterfeiting methods of government funding since 1913. This coercively-obtained ocean of money has funded not only those few things that most people think "government should be doing" (roads, for example) but many things that neither government nor any other group should be allowed to do, such as torture and aggressive war. Only coercive methods of funding could pry the cash for such things from the hands of American citizens.

People are hurt even when government involves itself with honorable things that need doing, such as education and child protective services, because the inherent dynamics of coercive funding -- and (in many cases) coercive "services" -- ensure inefficiency, corruption, and often much worse. Coercive government funding even pays for systematic assault against the citizens themselves -- for example, the various "wars" against your freedom, such as the War on Drugs, the earlier Prohibition of alcohol, the FDA's long-standing and intensifying campaign against supplements and healthy foods (see also here), and chilling assaults on honest free speech.

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Questions: How likely is customer satisfaction in any situation where customers are forced to pay, even if they don't like the quality of the product, and even if they don't want the product at all? If Microsoft, Apple Computer, or your local drug store operated that way (and could get away with it), do you suppose you would be more satisfied or less satisfied with their products than you are now?

Honest, civilized organizations do not obtain their money from customers at gunpoint. They offer goods or services to those willing to pay. Competition with other providers plus the customer's freedom to not buy what he/she doesn't want are critical elements for ensuring customer satisfaction. For the most part, coercive government eliminates both of those elements, and the results are predictable.

Every real and honest action governments perform can and should be funded non-coercively, in the same way that Dell and Google and every other honest organization funds their business (or charity or whatnot). This would instantly put an end to government evil and to most of the corruption now rampant in governments world-wide. Only when the customer can say "no" with impunity do things work properly.

You've been propagandized your entire life to believe that honest practices (including non-coercive funding and honest money, i.e., gold) simply won't work for those special, magical things that only government can do.

Time to wake up, take the red pill, and see things as they are. Coercion is evil, and pretending this evil is necessary will keep you enslaved. Government services would greatly improve if they were competitively and freely offered on the market -- the real and needed services, including charity, roads, and national defense. Unreal "services" -- including corporate welfare, needless and aggressive no-win wars, military bases in 130 foreign nations, and systematic assaults on the people themselves -- would disappear. Imagine the people of this nation having more than a trillion extra dollars every year to spend on what the people themselves actually want. Only a move to non-coercive funding for most things the government now does (and why not for ALL things?) will make that happen.

There is a great deal of material on the topic and the history of voluntary provision of goods and services, including those services that have since been taken over by government. Consider, for one example, The Voluntary City: Choice, Community, and Civil Society.

Love and freedom are the necessary foundations for any healthy society. Government coercion (or any coercion) -- including coercive funding of government programs and services -- harms both love and freedom, and the more coercion, the more harm. Coercive funding is useful only to obtain money for doing things the people do not want done, including things that actively cause harm. Here, as always, freedom is the better, safer, healthier choice.

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* "Bread is sold in Chicago in large quantities at certain prices per loaf, 95 per cent of the bread made by the bakers, outside of the restaurant business, consisting of loaves sold for 5 cents or multiples thereof, and 85 per cent of such bread being sold for 5 cents a loaf. The 5-cent loaf weighs about 14 ounces when baked . . ."

~ From U.S. Supreme Court, SCHMIDINGER v. CITY OF CHICAGO, 226 U.S. 578 (1913), 226 U.S. 578: MATHIAS SCHMIDINGER, Plff. in Err., v. CITY OF CHICAGO , Illinois . No. 115. Argued and submitted December 20, 1912 . Decided January 13, 1913 .

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Glen Allport's picture
Columns on STR: 104

Glen Allport co-authored The User's Guide to OS/2 from Compute! Books and is the author of The Paradise Paradigm: On Creating a World of Compassion, Freedom, and Prosperity. He maintains paradise-paradigm.net. This is one in a series of columns on the human condition.