The Business of Government
Amid the din of economic nonsense being bandied about since the collapse of the housing bubble and the steep ramping up of our national debt, there has been the persistent refrain that Washington should be run more like a business. If only more business people were in charge to wield their business acumen, we would have this country in shape in no time. But is that a good solution?
Businesses seek primarily to increase their revenues and profits. Government revenue depends on taxes. Government accumulates taxmoney by squeezing it out of people's productive earnings with threats of audits, fines and imprisonment. Our government already collects roughly $2.1 trillion annually from the productive taxpayers of America. We hardly need to increase our federal government's revenues like a private business!
Businesses sell products or services to voluntary buyers, always looking to increase their market share as much as possible. But what is the federal government's product or service? Rules, regulations, bureaucracy, paperwork, red tape, hoops to jump through, uneven protection and security from people with guns, coercion and compliance through force and confiscation of assets, militarism instead of national defense, and of course a vast welfare state. Do we need more of these government services? Hardly. In fact, we have far too many of these destructive things already.
What we need is more freedom. Freedom is the simple ability of people to live their lives as they see fit without government coercion, provided they do not initiate force or fraud against others. What we really need is a less coercive government, not more revenues.
Washington needs to stop seeing itself as a growth industry and realize that the true function of government is to protect liberty. Washington certainly has expanded and grown and accumulated a great deal of the people's capital for itself, but this has been at the expense of our nation's prosperity. This trend needs to be reversed.
We don't need yet another "jobs" bill to supposedly put the American people back to work. Politicians need to realize that, aside from outright hiring some 14 million people, government does not create jobs. The only thing government does is hinder job creation by getting in the way and consuming otherwise private resources. Therefore, the most useful thing government can do for unemployment is to "liquidate" much of what government does in the first place.
One plain example is our tax policy that encourages US corporations to accumulate foreign earnings abroad rather than repatriate such earnings. Currently there is over $1 trillion of capital that companies are keeping overseas because of the 35% tax charged for bringing it back to the US. Our government literally is pushing capital and jobs overseas that could be used to hire an estimated 2.5 million people here at home.
Businesses create jobs. Government is not a business. We don't need more stimulus or phony jobs bills. We don't need more revenue – $2 trillion is plenty to fund the federal government annually. What we do need is a wholesale rejection of government as a central economic planner.
Posted by seanmPWH on 10/21/11 10:12 PM
Ron Paul Rocks the House & the Senate!
Posted by NAPpy on 10/18/11 09:28 PM
"There's your fair tax! You only pay it when you purchase the product.
What problem are you trying to solve? If you care about it, do you need a gun to your head through taxation to get involved in solving that problem?
Posted by NAPpy on 10/18/11 09:25 PM
"If those corporations were still here providing employment we would not have to pay the tariff."
Corporations are run by people. People respond to incentives. The culture of democracy is one where one group of neighbors gangs up on another group of neighbors to steal benefits. Then, the neighbors that were stolen from gang up and steal from another group of neighbors. Rather than acting like a jealous 5 year old because people in corporations are better at stealing than you are, why not stop condoning theft at all? Then, you'd have the moral high ground, at least. While you're rightfully mad at people in corporations who steal, why aren't you just as bad for condoning stealing from me through tariffs?
Posted by NAPpy on 10/18/11 09:06 PM
Yeah, you should re-read your free-market literature. We do not now, nor have we ever, had a free market. A free market means voluntary exchange. Anything that inhibits voluntary exchange is a deviation from the free market. So, the current corporatism / mercantilism / fascism, is a deviation from voluntary exchange. I won't put words in Dr. Paul's mouth, but I'm pretty sure he read Mises, Rothbard, and Hayek before I was born. I'd bet he could easily define voluntarism, since he's written several books on similar topics. Can you? If not, then kindly stick to asking questions instead of making inane comments on a free market website where everyone here has done their homework, while the dog ate yours.
Posted by kenn on 10/18/11 02:28 PM
If I had the ability to hold funds offshore for protection of tax collection I would do it and not feel bad about it in the least. Bret.
Thank you! That's one of my points... ... ... ... ... .. you can't! But those poor, poor corporations can... . Why? ... ... Because they own the gubermint and the financial system. They knew when they left there would be no tariffs and that they were privileged to put their money offshore with tax impunity. A TWOFER!
Heck, I'd do the same if I could!
Now, everyone knows (or should know) that corporations pay no tax no matter what. All costs are passed on to the final consumer. I get very little argument from that statement. With that said,,,,
There's your fair tax! You only pay it when you purchase the product.
Posted by kenn on 10/18/11 02:17 PM
If those corporations were still here providing employment we would not have to pay the tariff. Please note tariffs are levied on "foreign products"... The corporations left the US because they knew their paid for gubermint would not tariff them.
If tariffs are so bad why is it that Gubermint and corporations adamantly oppose them. From my point of view anything they say is bad is probably good! and vice versa.
No I don't think corporations will thank me kind sir...
Posted by haha on 10/18/11 12:17 PM
"Corporations are allowed to offshore production then bring the goods back tariff free sold in the country they abandoned for wage arbitrage, then allowed to park money elsewhere to avoid taxes in said country! "
You want to add tariffs on top of the prices you pay currently? Sounds good. The corporations thank you for your kindness.
Posted by Bret on 10/18/11 11:04 AM
I think you missed one of Dr. Pauls main points. The tax take is already to high. More collections only encourage more power grabs and wasteful spending. If I had the ability to hold funds offshore for protection of tax collection I would do it and not feel bad about it in the least.
Posted by rossbcan on 10/18/11 10:35 AM
RP: "The Business of Government"
Government is NOT a business, nor is it "allowed" self-interest.
Government are our employees. They do what "we, the people" say, at the pay rate that "we, the people" say and, if a pay rate cannot be arrived at by mutual consensus (free market competition), then, clearly, the "service" is not of value (willing to pay for) to "we, the people" and the "service" and those who provide it should just wither away and seek something productive to do.
It's that simple. Can those who point guns at you and make bully demands EVER have any "value", except to themselves? The fact they restrict their actions to initiation of force / fraud and "obey or else" threats thereof indicates that "they" are also aware of this FACT (of their complete and utter lack of positive value and overabundance of negative value).
Posted by kenn on 10/18/11 10:33 AM
Currently there is over $1 trillion of capital that companies are keeping overseas because of the 35% tax charged for bringing it back to the US. RP
Most of the corporations paid little to nothing income taxes.
General Electric (Received 4.1 billion refund)
Chevron (Received refund).
Boeing, (124 million refund).
Valero Energy ($157 million refund).
In 2004 Corporations were allowed a repatriation holiday and brought back $150 billion and then fired another 21000 employees.
Corporations are allowed to offshore production then bring the goods back tariff free sold in the country they abandoned for wage arbitrage, then allowed to park money elsewhere to avoid taxes in said country!
Oh,,, the poor, poor corporations.
I must have missed the tax breaks for citizens in this article, after all, I don't see many corporate execs living under a bridge or in their cars.
American Ex Pats are taxed on foreign earnings regardless of where they "park" their money.
This is the messiah, the man to save America. This man represents the libertarian view of a free market allowing corporations having their cake and eat it too!
Guess I need to reread my free market literature...
Posted by Bluebird on 10/18/11 08:30 AM
Tell, it, Sir! Excellent.
Take a look at inheritance for an example of government on-the-ball working. It will soon be a year since my last parent passed on. They left a modest 4 bedroom, 50 year old home 2 worn out vehicles and a will with clear instructions: Sell it all and divide it between our children, who were clearly named. The will and all relevant papers were turned it the week of the death and we had a buyer ready with cash in hand.
Moving right along. First, there was a wait for "whatever". Next, it had to be advertised in the paper (FOR 3 MONTHS!) to make sure no one other than the children and our big government could lay claims to it. Finally the buyer was allowed to purchase it. But then it had to be run in the paper AGAIN to make sure no kids were hiding in the bushes who were not named (as if the folks could not say who was to be included). No strays came along, of course, but everything is STILL held hostage. "Oh, we just can't let go of it until we see if there is any more we can siphon off."
Needless to say, I do not expect much more than a steak dinner (if I can hide it from AGW nuts). And I will be taxed repeatedly on that until I actually say, okay, the money is all gone. Wonder how many people got their "share" from the death of my loving parents and their life time of work?
Posted by rossbcan on 10/18/11 06:47 AM
RP: "What we need is more freedom. Freedom is the simple ability of people to live their lives as they see fit without government coercion, provided they do not initiate force or fraud against others."
Justice Defined: We are all free to profit or suffer and learn (adapt to excellence) by facing the consequences of our OWN choices. Injustice is to be forced to suffer the consequences of choices of unaccountable (irresponsible) others.
Survival EQUALS ability to adapt to environment EQUALS ability to choose correctly EQUALS freedom:
Click to view link
... and, absolutely nobody, except YOU, with your "boots on the ground", in your unique environment is able to perceive and establish the facts required for YOUR correct choice equals YOUR survival:
Click to view link
Posted by oneman on 10/18/11 06:28 AM
"What we do need is a wholesale rejection of government as a central economic planner."
Well, good luck with that, then!
Oh, I agree! And, I suspect everyone at DB, and most, if not all of it's readers agree, as well. But the sad truth is, an overwhelming majority of Americans (apparently) DON'T agree.
I wish Dr. Paul every good luck! I'm just not optimistic.
Posted by Hognutz on 10/18/11 06:04 AM
RP-"We don't need yet another "jobs" bill to supposedly put the American people back to work. Politicians need to realize that, aside from outright hiring some 14 million people, government does not create jobs. The only thing government does is hinder job creation by getting in the way and consuming otherwise private resources. Therefore, the most useful thing government can do for unemployment is to "liquidate" much of what government does in the first place."
You got that right Mr. Paul! It ain't easy living with a jackboot on ones neck... ... ..
Posted by Pete 8 on 10/18/11 05:51 AM
Dr Ron Paul, I salute you.
Would a Constitutional Mass-Jury Review system help?
Help and IP are Available.
Posted by Joelg on 10/18/11 01:40 AM
You are a breath of fresh air and sensibility, Dr. Ron Paul. Thank you.