As the death toll mounts in the areas hit by Sunday's tsunami in southern Asia, private organizations and individuals are scrambling to send out money and goods to help the victims. Such help may be entirely proper, especially considering that most of those affected by this tragedy are suffering through no fault of their own.On a related note, and one that more closely resembles sanity/reality, Canada today doubled its aid contribution, bringing the total aid package to $80-million. When comparing Canada to the U.S. I tend to invoke the 1/10th rule, as the U.S. is fiscally about ten times the size of Canada. This means that, in order to match Canada's effort per capita, the U.S. should be donating $800-million, which is well beyond the current $350-million that was donated.
The United States government, however, should not give any money to help the tsunami victims. Why? Because the money is not the government's to give.
Every cent the government spends comes from taxation. Every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first. Year after year, for decades, the government has forced American taxpayers to provide foreign aid to every type of natural or man-made disaster on the face of the earth: from the Marshall Plan to reconstruct a war-ravaged Europe to the $15 billion recently promised to fight AIDS in Africa to the countless amounts spent to help the victims of earthquakes, fires and floods--from South America to Asia. Even the enemies of the United States were given money extorted from American taxpayers: from the billions given away by Clinton to help the starving North Koreans to the billions given away by Bush to help the blood-thirsty Palestinians under Arafat's murderous regime.
January 2, 2005
Get this: David Holcberg, a research associate at the Ayn Rand Institute -- yes, the institute that promotes the philosophy of psuedo-philosopher Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead -- argues that the U.S. should not help tsunami victims:
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Well, that would be fine if the money the gov't didnt extort was actually still in the hands of the people. Too late though, they got it. And they can do what they like with it.
Gross, it appears that a Randian is reading my blog.
I don't see why it's allegedly so horrible that responsible democratic governments collect taxes, when in principle every citizen benefits from the services the taxes provide. The standard libertarian critique of taxation would make more sense applied to the world's despotic governments which use taxation to benefit privileged elites and minorities without being accountable to the citizenry as a whole.
I'm especially amused when libertarians say that we're threatened by people with guns to pay our taxes, when most of the civilized democratic parts of the world (i.e., other than the United Red States of America) don't even have the death penalty and you'd be hard-pressed to see a firearm brandished in public, even by the police. Americans who fear that armed men will come after them might want to consider that the odds are their assailants will be acting in a private capacity and not as agents of the state. In other words, libertarians in the U.S. who fear gun violence are living in the wrong country.
Moreover, in their libertopian fantasies, libertarians emphasize the employment of private police and military forces to enforce "contracts," showing that they aren't as squeamish about using guns as they profess when it comes to getting their way. Apparently they haven't bothered to consider the appalling REAL WORLD conduct of the private military companies operating in Iraq, which regularly engage in criminal behavior because they know they can get away with it, unlike the case for security and military personnel under the authority of democratic governments.
libertopian....love it. Thats, what, a sort of utopia for Libertarians, right?
I dunno, I have a lot of trouble figuring out the difference between bureaucracy and government. One is clearly good in excess, the other is clearly bad in excess. It is always cool to bitch about the taxes you pay, not so cool to try to get your buddies to remember that we get stuff when we pay our taxes. Yet, we do pay taxes.
Oh well...glad its not MY problem....
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