Why Taxation Is Not Theft

Just as all political debates inevitably end with someone making a Hitler comparison, all debates with libertarians sooner or later involve the claim that taxation is theft. It doesn’t matter whether you are discussing the welfare state, universal healthcare or a TV licence, at some point a libertarian will accuse the government of acting like the mafia and stealing people’s money (just the last day a commenter asked me to “stop promoting the use of force against me or my family“, by which he meant don’t regulate bitcoin). Of course we all know this argument is melodramatic hyperbole, but it would be useful to spell out why. Continue reading “Why Taxation Is Not Theft”

Conservative Logic

There is no such thing as a free lunch . . . except for free trade which makes everyone everywhere better off

It is naive and foolish to imagine there is some magic pot of gold which will make us all magically richer . . . but competition magically makes everyone richer

As Adam Smith said, the “invisible hand” of the free market ensures everyone is best off . . . even though Smith never said that about the market but rather about protectionism.

We should never rely on one-size-fits-all solutions that don’t take account of the specifics of each case . . . and cut taxes in response to every problem

The government makes everything worse . . . which is why countries like Somalia which have no government are so much better off Continue reading “Conservative Logic”

The Truth About Spending And The Stimulus

Republicans regularly criticise Obama’s stimulus plan, claiming it was an ineffectual waste of money. The internet is full of people arguing it failed to work, that unemployment is still high and growth is low. However what few people realise is that the stimulus did work. Without unemployment would be higher and growth lower. In fact the only problem is that it was too small to solve the greatest crisis since the Great Depression. Continue reading “The Truth About Spending And The Stimulus”

The Mythical Laffer Curve

Conservatives everywhere condemn the use of tax increases for fear of the Laffer Curve. This is the idea that if taxes are too high, people will lose the incentive to work and therefore revenue will actually decrease. It is most famous for its counter-intuitive argument that a tax cut could increase revenue. Unfortunately there is little or no evidence to support this claim. History clearly shows that cutting taxes does not increase revenue. The Laffer curve is a political idea used to justify tax cuts for the rich. It is not based on sound economics.

Continue reading “The Mythical Laffer Curve”

The Myth Of The Self-Made Millionaire

Most millionaires claim that they are self-made in that they earned their fortune alone. But no person is an island. Every millionaire owes their fortune to the help they received from others. In this world we are so interdependent that no one achieves anything without help from another. Obama was right, we received more help than we can possibly imagine. Our wealth and success are not only a measure of our talents and luck, but also a measure of how much help we had. We are tall because we stand on the shoulders of giants. Continue reading “The Myth Of The Self-Made Millionaire”

Ron Paul – Radical Or Ridiculous?

Ron Paul is either a respectable, insightful voice of liberty or an eccentric old fool clinging to long out dated and daft ideas. A man who will save us from the clutches big government or someone who will deliver us into the claws of big business. Someone willing to challenge the PC brigade and speak the truth or a bigoted racist. A voice of common sense or a man ignorant of facts of life. A brave advocate of a new vision for American foreign policy or an isolationalist crank who wishes to cut America off from the rest of the world. A man who can bring great prosperity to the nation or economic Armageddon. Someone who belongs in the White House as leader of the free world or someone who belongs in a cave wearing a tinfoil hat, muttering conspiracy theories. Continue reading “Ron Paul – Radical Or Ridiculous?”