Re-Blogged From http://www.Mises.org By John P. Cochran
As highlighted by David Henderson and Peter Boettke, markets and competition are like weeds, not delicate flowers. Economies recover even from severe boom-bust episodes and despite growth-retarding regime uncertainty. Even burdensome regulation, per Pierre Lemieux, causes a “slow-motion collapse” or stagnation, not a crash. But one thing can be counted on, as innovation or recovery begin to deliver additional spending power to the productive class of the economy, the “unmet needs” crowd will just as quickly be out clamoring for a heightened government share of the ‘bounty’ for some imagined greater public good.
A recent example; an editorial, “Capitalize on low fuel prices by raising Colorado gas tax,” in the Denver Post emphasized that the currently low and expected-to-remain-low gasoline prices presents an excellent opportunity to painlessly raise the gasoline tax, if not at the Federal level — due to resistance of some to raise taxes — then at the state level. Like many who support big government, an extra dollar in a potential taxpayer’s pocket is much better spent by the enlightened elite.
The Post’s argument, reminded me of my second favorite passage from classic libertarian literature, Lysander Spooner’s comparison of the taxman to the highwayman. I say second because if I said favorite someone would remind me of Franz Oppenheimer’s and Murray Rothbard’s distinction between the political means (plunder, predation) and the economic means (voluntary production and exchange), or Bastiat’s numerous contributions such as The Law, “The Candlemakers’ Petition,” or “What is seen and what is unseen.”
The Post’s proposal would, as Spooner argues, have the government ride beside you as you drive while extolling how much you benefit from this ‘partnership’ all the while the government continues to pick your pocket. You will hardly notice, we’re told. It’s only pennies on the dollar! Who could possibly object besides Walter Block?
Lysander Spooner! Spooner very effectively refuted the contention that government and its taxes are akin to voluntary club membership for mutually beneficial gains as he compares the government to a highwayman.