Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone is not enough to produce widely shared prosperity.
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Deficit and Public Debt


Nic Tideman:  Improving Efficiency and Preventing Exploitation in Taxing and Spending Decisions
There is a proposal that tax increases be allowed only with a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress. That has some merit, but it carries a risk of excessive deficits. It also allows the existing level of taxation to go unquestioned. It would probably be better to have a rule that every spending proposal must be approved by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress to be enacted. Maybe three-fourths. If spending is truly worthwhile, then, as Wicksell said, there is a way of financing it that will secure the approval of nearly everyone.  ...  Read the whole article

Nic Tideman:  A Bill of Economic Rights and Obligations
... In fulfilling its obligation to ensure that future generations had opportunities at least as great as those of the present generation, people would want to take account of:
1. The amount of land per capita, adjusted for the quality of land;
2. The level of technology that will be available;
3. The education and any initial wealth that is provided to all children;
4. The level of public infrastructure;
5. The level of public debt;
6. Environmental quality;
7. The price of depletable natural resources.

Decreases in some items could be offset by increases in others. If people wanted to have more children than could be provided with opportunities equal to those of the present generation, Congress and state legislatures would have an obligation to tax those who wanted to have children, so that people would have fewer children, and so that all children could be provided with an initial endowment upon attaining maturity, to compensate for reductions in other items on the list.  Read the entire article

Mason Gaffney:  Rent, Taxation, Dissipation and Federalism
I. The issue
II. Sources of rent
III. Dissipation of rent before the fisc takes it: what and how?
A. Dissipation means waste and destruction or suppression.
B. How rent is dissipated.
C. Open access followed by tenure: rent-seeking institutions.
IV. Dissipating rent via public spending
A. Taxes and lease provisions need not twist incentives.
B. Public spending of tax proceeds may dissipate rent.
C. History of recognition of this spending effect
D. Successful compromises with the principle.
1. Barriers to immigration or sharing.
2. Selling voters on the benefits of immigration
E. Less successful compromises with the principle
1. Public works.
2. Subsidized public works in tandem with exclusionary zoning
3. Hocking the revenues
V. Solutions
A. Socialize rent at the national level.
B. Limit benefits to citizens per se (not to landowners per se).
C. A social dividend to citizens is the obvious route.
D. Return rents to local school districts in inverse proportion to local tax base per capita (the Colin Clark principle).
E. Promote James Madison and Neville Chamberlain to elder statesmen emeritus.

Borrowing to spend worsens the public works problems. Worse yet is borrowing to pay for current services, with some admixture of graft, as the NYC bankruptcy illustrated, and much 3d-world borrowing illustrates today on a wider canvas. Read the whole article


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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper