Category Archives: government

Taxes? Payment for privileges.

Who doesn’t like socialism? Well, if you consider all that society provides for itself already, nobody shouldn’t like socialism. That is, rejoice in Socialism — cuz’ we’re already in it.

Who likes paying taxes? Well, if you consider calling them payment for privileges then maybe they wouldn’t feel like taxes. Let’s say we DON’T tax anybody’s income anymore. But then everyone would be forced to independently purchase things like the following:

Protection from:
• Foreign nation states,
• Criminal activity,
• Medical catastrophe
• Fire,
• you know, all those things a national, state and local government setup of systems does for our protection.

And then there are the perks we would each have to pay for:

• A maintained and well marked road system,
• A system of education,
• A system of justice,
• A system of water delivery and sewage handling,
• An electricity system,
• Systems for managing air traffic, boat traffic, compliance for building, food safety…

If you examine that list you’ll come to the conclusion that, hell!, we already are living in a socialistic society. Without all that money (taxes) to pay for all those common good services, we’d be a helluva lot worse off.

Now how about upping the tax on the wealth? “Booooo,” all the wealthy will say, but wait a minute Mr. & Mrs. Oligarch, do you like having a trustworthy banking and investment system? You like being able to buy and own vast swaths of land, buildings, planes and boats? You like living in a safe, well protected and just system? Well, it’s gonna cost ya… Because, you know, you wouldn’t be wealthy if We The People weren’t here to provide all of that protection.

One would think that a natural algorithm would be that the more wealth you possess the more you owe it to society as the protector and provider of that wealth. The fallacious theory of “I’m a self-made man!” ignores the fact that all of one’s success is based on living in and working with a society that provides all of the protections and benefits previously mentioned. No one stands alone. The wealthy tend to think it’s they who have succeeded when in reality it is society that enable all of that success. No society, no success.

If the wealthy don’t like this theory well maybe they should consider that in the coming apocalypse, when society has collapsed, dissolved even, and they’re standing there, alone, having to protect themselves, feed themselves, clothe themselves, shelter themselves and they wonder, “how can we rebuild our wealth?”, and the answer comes that you, they, can’t because they’re spending all their time surviving. Then they might realize that only a society can support wealth. And that the more wealth one owns the more one owes society for the opportunity to have acquired it.

Is this wealth hatred? Bah! A certain dynamic of wealth in a society is necessary. Achievable betterment, the lifting of station through education, ideation, creation and hard work should always be possible and acknowledged. But even then, such betterment is a function of society and must be recognized. Taxation is one of the tools for that recognition.

Without a taxation system, throughout its history, to build all of the protection and privilege systems I mentioned above, no society would exist. Without taxes (historic and present) I couldn’t ever have written this blog — nor could you been able to read it. Which, by the way, thanks.

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Self-regulating Systems

Nature knows how to self-regulate. The cycles of feast or famine are simple examples of such systems. Too much browse for caribou produces too many caribou calves, which then feeds too many wolves which then produce too many pups which then grow up and eat too many caribou… Leading to too few caribou, starving too many wolves, which end up producing too few new pups, which then let too many new caribou to prosper. Yeah, The Lion King was right, it’s a circle, sometimes it’s a big circle and sometimes it’s a little one. But around and around it goes.

Other self regulating system examples are the human body: when we get hot, we sweat, which cools us down. If we get too cool then we shiver which produces excess heat which warms us up.

The climate is generally a homeostatic system – a system that reaches an equilibrium (or oscillates between extremes, the average of which is steady over time). Ignoring humans impact for now, too much CO2, produces too much plant growth, which then extracts much more CO2 (a greenhouse gas) which then allows the planet to cool, which kills or retards plant growth allowing the decay of plant material to return the CO2 to the atmosphere which then heats up and allows plants to thrive again.

Over the years I’ve tried to figure out how to apply such self-regulating behaviors to social systems. For instance, I dreamed up a number of Constitutional Amendments, one of which addressed campaign contribution limits. I figured that if we used median wage as the basis for contributions — this would self regulate: every citizen could contribute one days gross wage, per candidate, per year. If politicians wanted greater contributions — they should work to elevate wages.

Another one is: what should be the minimum wage for any one location? I figured that the cost of living should determine the minimum wage; it would cost more to live in New York, NY than in Lincoln, NB. To create an algorithm for this: if we use the median monthly cost of an apartment as the basis for minimum wage: $1000 / mo. rent multiplied by 2 and divided by 100 would give us $20/hr. At 20 dollars an hour, a $1000 a month rent seems reasonable. If you want to raise rent, you have to raise wages too. If you want to lower wages, you have to lower the cost of rent.

All sort of systems can be redesigned with self-regulation in mind. Taxes for instance. Or how to handle income inequality. I’ve posted on these topics here if you’re curious. But what about other applications? Healthcare? Are there self-regulatory aspects we could apply there? I’ve posted my thoughts on the “win/win” vs the “win/lose” aspect of capitalism. That seems like a candidate for determine when free-markets should be used. In fact when the “win/win” impact of capitalism is applied, supply and demand also finds its own equilibrium.

Tragedy of the commons algorithms? Water rights algorithms? Gun laws? Energy production and consumption? Land use? The elimination of biases in the hiring process for employers? I’m sure there are many facets of life that would benefit from an intelligent analysis and design of algorithms which would produce a self-regulating system.


Aristocracy stymied corptocracy

European countries do not kowtow to corporations the way the United States does. In the US, the corporations own the politicians and they do the bidding of the plutocrats and the oligarchs — you know, the share holders and board members.

But European countries don’t let corporations run the show. And I wondered why this is.

Could it be that because Europe has had the bad taste in its collective mouth regarding kings and queens through the ages, that when it came time to form democratic governments they KNEW how to construct rules of government that limited the power of the powerful?

In the US, the new aristocracy are the corporate plutocrats that run and pay for government. The Koch asshats, and their ilk. When the corporations were just beginning to become “a thing” in the US, the likes of the robber barons, the train tycoons, the oil and steel magnates (Rockefeller and Morgan) we tried to handle them and the monopolies they formed (as all true capitalistic enterprises will eventually try to do). But when dozens, then hundreds and then tens of thousands of corporations and the power they wielded rose and demanded control of the country, its resources and its wealth — US Citizens had NO IDEA what to do? Why? Because we’d never had tyrants trying to run our lives for century after century.

So, is the United States just an aristocratic victim in the making because there’s no way that the plutocrats in power are going to relinquish that power? Or, like Europeans, can we learn to control the corptocracy?