Designing A New Nation - Part 3 - Taxes - Caleb Jones

This is the third installment in the ongoing series in which I design a purely hypothetical, small government, libertarian nation called Ascendia. Please read parts one and two if you have not yet before reading this article so that you’re up to speed.

Today, I will explain how taxes would work in a nation based on individual freedom, peace, and free markets.

As discussed in prior installments, Ascendia would be a minarchist libertarian nation, not an anarcho-capitalist nation. Most people, being politically illiterate, think these two are the same, when they are not.

In an anarcho-capitalist “nation,” there is essentially no government. Everything is run by groups, individuals, organizations/guilds, and companies.

In a libertarian nation like Ascendia (as well as libertarianish societies like the USA prior to 1913, and certainly prior to the American Civil War) there is a government, but it’s somewhat weak (in terms of internal issues, not militarily) and doesn’t do very much other than provide some cash and pomp to a small number of elites (which, as I explained back in part two, is literally unavoidable). The federal government is especially weak, but the local governments (in the case of Ascendia, the cities) are much stronger, and can enact any laws they wish based on democratic vote of the local citizens in those cities.

Therefore, this small government needs to be funded somehow. That means, among other things, taxes.

Taxes

(Much of what I’m about to say is directly lifted from an article I already wrote on this blog titled How Taxes Would Work In A Free Society.)

In Ascendia, at the federal level at least, there would be no income taxes, no payroll taxes, no capital gains taxes, no corporate taxes, no property taxes, and no estate taxes. These taxes all involve theft, i.e. the forcible taking of money from innocent citizens by threat of force. If our goal was socialism, then these kinds of taxes would be fine, but we can’t have any government theft in a free country.

In addition, like prosperous nations such as Hong Kong and Singapore, there would also be no import tariffs of any kind. Ascendia would be a small nation, so free trade would be essential to its economic prosperity. (I realize there are times where some level of protectionism is a good idea, but that more applies to larger nations with vast amounts of natural resources.)

There would be only one tax that is levied at the federal level in Ascendia: a flat 4% national sales tax. Here are the details:

  • The tax would be 4% across the board, applied to everything equally.
  • This tax would only be applied at the point of consumption; business-to-business transactions would not be taxed, only business-to-consumer.
  • There would be no exemptions or exclusions from this tax. Literally everything purchased at the consumer level would be taxed, including groceries, houses, cars, alcohol, everything. Most governments using a sales tax exempt things like groceries. No. Doing that creates a huge mess, because then you have various companies lobbying the government on what exactly a “necessary” grocery item is. Should you tax Twinkies? Are they “necessary” like ground beef? And so on. To avoid all this crap, everything is taxed, nothing is exempt, no favoritism, no exceptions.
  • There would be no possible way to deduct or write off this tax for a consumer. The only way he/she could avoid this tax (a little) is by starting a small business. There would be a few laws/protections regarding preventing tax fraud, i.e. people starting businesses that just sit there and never make a profit just to avoid paying the sales tax, but Ascendia would understand there is tax fraud in every society and there is no perfect way to prevent this 100%.

If we assume a population of around 6 million people in Ascendia, which is similar to the size of Singapore, we can also assume a similar level of consumer spending in Singapore (if not much better) due to the fact that Singapore is one of the top two freest nations in the world. Average consumer spending in Singapore is around $109 billion per year[*]. A 4% tax on that means the tiny federal government would get around $4.3 billion per year in revenue.

$4.3 billion per year is more than enough to support a constitutionally-bound small federal government for 6 million people. Since the federal government would never give any money to the free cities, never give money, lend money, or bail out companies or banks, and never give any money to any citizens for any reasons, the federal government only needs to fund itself.

A second source of federal government funding would be voluntary donations. Similar to Ancient Greece, the government would encourage voluntary donations to the government. People who donated would be honored with special plaques and other such accolades, hopefully creating an environment where more people would be willing to donate to the government just like a charity. The government could encourage more donations by being more transparent with budgets and expenses, and so on.

Via the national sales tax and donations, the federal government would pay for:

  1. Federal government administration.
  2. External security, meaning  things like the military, CIA, and border security. There would be no internal police, and no FBI. (Police would be a city function, not a federal one.)
  3. Federal infrastructure (roads and bridges located outside any city or private property).
  4. Three or four other minor functions.

That’s it! Literally everything else would be taken care of by the local city governments or the free market.

City Taxes

Things like police protection, non-privately-owned roads, jails, and courts would be paid for by each individual city or town. These free cities would be able to levy taxes in any way they wished. However, they would be forbidden to charge any Ascendian citizen any form of property tax or capital gains tax (since those two taxes are a direct violation of basic property rights). Moreover, they would be heavily encouraged by the federal government to avoid using any income, payroll, corporate, or estate taxes, but would be allowed to do so if they really wanted.

Instead, those cities wishing to charge a tax (and some wouldn’t charge any) would be encouraged to utilize sales taxes, poll/head taxes (for those cities allowing local elections), excise taxes, or tolls and usage fees.

One variation on the usage fee is a concept I’ve called the city bill. The city you lived in would send you a bill once a month. On that bill, it would itemize all the local services the city was responsible for maintaining that you were using. A city in Ascendia might have a monthly bill that looks something like this:

Police Protection: $22.24

Library: $3.45

Government-Owned Roads/Bridges: $9.73

Local Parks: $4.32

Courts/Jails: $8.28

Sanitation Services: $2.42

Total Due: $50.44

Fire protection and ambulance services wouldn’t be on there, since those functions would be covered by insurance companies. Education wouldn’t be on there since that would be more than adequately handled by local religious organizations, nonprofits, and the free market. Sanitation services might not even be on there, since that could easily be handled by the free market as well (and actually is in many states in the US).

You could also remove certain items from your city bill, essentially opting out of particular services. For example, you could opt out of your local library. You, nor anyone else in your household, could then not use the library for any reason, but you wouldn’t be charged for it any more. The same would apply to parks and the like. With today’s technology, this would be easy to do.

You probably could not opt out of things like police protection, but every city would make their own judgements about that, based on the will of their local voters. (Again, this is assuming the city was a democracy. As I explained in prior installments, each city could form any type of government it wanted, democracy or otherwise.)

Attached to the bill would be a monthly budget of exactly how much money your city was collecting in taxes, and how much it was spending, and on where. It would be as transparent as possible.

If you didn’t like what you were being charged for, or what your city was spending its money on, and your voting (if any) didn’t cut it, then you’d move to a different city. All cities and towns would have their budgets published online so you could pick out the exact city you’d like the best. Cities would compete against each other for the best lifestyle for the lowest cost. Poorly-run cities would suffer and people would leave those areas, and well-run and transparent cities would thrive, which is the way freedom is supposed to work.

You’d pay your city bill just like you’d pay your electric bill. No one would be putting a gun to your head and pulling money out of your paycheck without your permission, nor forcing you to file a tax return, nor forcing you to pay taxes on something you purchased that you already paid taxes for.

What if you didn’t pay your city bill? It would be the same as if you didn’t pay any utility bill like your electric bill. You’d get several nasty warnings, then you wouldn’t be allowed to drive on roads, then you’d get sued or worse. You’d better pay your city bill, or you’d be in big trouble, again, just like any other utility bill.

This is just one example. Many cities could try many different ways of raising funds for their local city governments. Cities would be encouraged to experiment with different systems.

That about wraps it up for taxes. In part four of this series, I will address the military and foreign policy. Coming soon.

27 Comments on “Designing A New Nation – Part 3 – Taxes

  1. People who donated would be honored with special plaques and other such accolades, hopefully creating an environment where more people would be willing to donate to the government just like a charity.

    After not being into history for many years, I am starting to enjoy finding statues with obscure stories tucked into nooks and crannies around cities.  Building smaller, public statues seems to have fallen out of fashion in the last 50 years.

  2. I truly hate the fact that my property taxes all go to mainly the schools which I don’t use and will never use since I don’t have or want kids.   Families with kids in these schools should pay the lions share of education, not me.  I literally get nothing from this tax and it’s not chump change, believe me.

  3. I truly hate the fact that my property taxes all go to mainly the schools which I don’t use and will never use since I don’t have or want kids.   Families with kids in these schools should pay the lions share of education, not me.

    Yep. Property taxes are not only pure theft, but since most of those go to educate children, it’s blatant tax penalty on those people who choose to not have kids.

    Even worse, families who send their kids to private school (not using the public school system at all) are still forced to pay property taxes!

  4. Privatized health care (at least under the US model) is one of the worst models available, especially at a “value-for-money” point of view.

    Your country with around 8 million people would at a world median health care cost require at least $20 bn if it was tax-funded (E.g. Danish hospitals for 5.5 million people cost approximately this amount, and I added a lot of room for efficiency for your 2.5 million extra inhabitants), and a lot more if it was privatized. Thus, you’d have people have 5 times their tax rate in health care cost – again, if it was universal.

    In many small countries with universal health care, you have a single company (really a public instance) who purchase and sell all the medications, medical equipment etc. that the country needs. This is done in order to recieve massive discounts. This public instance then sells the medication and equipment to the public hospitals at the cost + a small handling fee. Then, you have distribution of the expensive medication from the hospital pharmacies (no charge for patient) and you have distribution of the less expensive medications from regular pharmacies that recieve a small fee for each product sold. This ensures that almost all medications are 1/3rd of the cost in the US.

    In the US, each hospital has to contact the company / one of the many medicine grossers or be part of a consortium in order to recieve the medication/equipment. Usually, this means that about 3-5 companies in a given distribution chain have to make money (often 50 % of the total price), and thus Americans pay heavily inflated health insurance prices (or cannot afford even basic treatments if they are uninsured).

    Again, socialized health care (or really, socialized anything) has not been perfected, but you should take a lot of consideration into your “free market model”. It doesn’t work anywhere else, so why should it work for Ascendia?

    This of course includes prisons, schooling, daycare, kindergartens, universities, colleges, clinics and many other instances. Privatization in many of these instances drive prices far, far up, not down.

  5. Privatized health care (at least under the US model) is one of the worst models available

    The US does not have a privatized health care system. It uses a big government corporatist one, as I described here. And yes, it’s terrible.

    In many small countries with universal health care…

    …the health care system is bankrupt. Again, as I described here.

    Again, socialized health care (or really, socialized anything) has not been perfected, but you should take a lot of consideration into your “free market model”.

    Sending people and doctors to prison because they use a doctor outside of the government health care monopoly? Uh, no. That’s not a free market.

    I think it’s hilarious that you left-wingers hate monopolies… unless it’s the government, then you sing its praises.

    This of course includes prisons, schooling, daycare, kindergartens, universities, colleges, clinics and many other instances. Privatization in many of these instances drive prices far, far up, not down.

    To make that argument, you need to compare socialism with capitalism, not socialism with corporatism (i.e. the USA), which is not capitalism.

  6. Sending people and doctors to prison because they use a doctor outside of the government health care monopoly? Uh, no. That’s not a free market.

    I have no idea what you mean by this. That has nothing to do with socialized health care. Nor has this ever happened in my country.

    I think it’s hilarious that you left-wingers hate monopolies… unless it’s the government, then you sing its praises.

    When you create a small country, the mentality of people is drastically changed from what you are used to in the US. A monopoly that is not for-profit may be a huge advantage, such as Amgros (the medical grosser) in Denmark. Again, this all depends on corruption etc., of which Denmark has the lowest (or 2nd lowest) in the world. With an American or Italian mentality in mind, the whole concept instantly makes you uncomfortable because you are used to living with a high corruption rate. Again, I’m thinking of a somewhat utopian socialist model that has worked for many decades (which could, of course, never work indefinitely, just like capitalism), but so are you, since you are decribing the ideal BD utopia.

    Again, I’m not left-wing. I just live in a small, socialized country. I oppose immigration and many parts of the welfare system, but I support the parts that are working somewhat better than what I see in the rest of the world.

    To make that argument, you need to compare socialism with capitalism, not socialism with corporatism (i.e. the USA), which is not capitalism.

    Capitalism combined with libertarian government creates corporatism. What would prevent Goldman Sachs from simply buying your country? They can build all your schools, hospitals, universities, government buildings, power plants etc. at a much lower cost than any individual or small country, since they have enough purchasing power to buy everything at wholesale prices. If you wish to prevent corporatism in taking over your country the day it is born, you will have to regulate against it; then you’re no longer a libertarian nation.

    You and I could whole-heartedly agree that it would be wonderful to have a whole small country of only well-meaning, hard-working citizens that were all rational people. This was how the Scandinavian countries were running before mass immigration (and yes, they did have some help upholding the standard because of income from natural ressources). Of course it’s now going to shit along with the West anyway, but that’s another topic.

    A lot of industries also need heavy government regulation in order to run – Food and medicine (compliance with GMP, GDP etc.) in order to be able to export any of it, environmental regulation in order to prevent the companies from simply dumping garbage everywhere and so on. Your $ 4bn a year budget might not last this long – although you could force the costs onto the companies, which then force it onto the consumers.

  7. There would be no internal police, and no FBI. (Police would be a city function, not a federal one.)

     

    That would be a problem, because criminals would just play whack-a-mole with local police by city-hopping. Or worse, settle in a city where their flavour of crime is legal, and then use it as a base to harass another city (one can imagine child-molester tourists, or even literal pirates operating this way).

    Education wouldn’t be on there since that would be more than adequately handled by local religious organizations, nonprofits, and the free market.

    Handing education to a religious organisation is a surefire way to have it push anti-libertarian, cancerous Social Programming that will erode your nation even sooner. All religions are by necessity and design, a form of magical totalitarian collectivism, only usually countered by local laws and common sense.

    Even now you can see how the Libertarian movement is easily seduced and eroded from the inside by the addictive idiocy of religious SP and social conservatism.

    A nation built on libertarian principles will have no “immune system” against religion (which ironically, is usually leftism and cultural marxism!), and would be ripe for conquest.

    How would you handle that?

  8. Have you ever contemplated the idea of just out right refusing to pay taxes, and if the government complains say you don’t care and that your decision is final?

    Of course, this is not something a normal individual can get away with without exposing to disproportionate inconvenience but I can imagine several scenarios where this would still turn out to be profitable even if would cost some time, effort and money to deal with government countermeasures.

    If you are national of another country then where you live, you do not spend all your time in the country where you do live and would save enough on the tax money to hire mercenaries to protect you from the police would be one (dramatic and maybe extreme) example, but I am sure you can imagine some more realistic scenarios.

  9. The US is just too big at this point and needs to be broken up which I assume is why you’re keeping Ascendia to a much smaller population.  There are wildly different opinions coast to coast on how the country should run and you can’t possibly manage it all under one Federal apparatus with any efficiency.

    The country should be split up into regions in my opinion to make any attempt to salvage this shit show.  The Feds have proven time and time again they are incompetent in running the business of America.  It also seems like the US is always forcing integration with us all, regardless of our values and beliefs.  Most people want to stick with their own and those who share the the same values.  As much as the I see these white hipster types preaching about diversity, I know damn well they would prefer their own neighborhood to stay predominantly white.

  10. I have no idea what you mean by this. That has nothing to do with socialized health care. Nor has this ever happened in my country.

    Do I have the freedom in your country to bypass the entire governmental health care system, and pay my own doctor cash out of pocket to have him do whatever I want, if I so choose? Do I have the freedom to then opt-out of the government health care system and not pay those taxes since I won’t be using it? Are doctors able to provide these kinds of total free market services to their own customers who pay them cash, completely outside of the government monopoly? And so on.

    Of course not. And you know it. That is not freedom.

    Again, this all depends on corruption etc., of which Denmark has the lowest (or 2nd lowest) in the world. With an American or Italian mentality in mind, the whole concept instantly makes you uncomfortable because you are used to living with a high corruption rate.

    That’s correct. The problem is, when designing a new nation from scratch, we can’t assume that the citizens or government won’t be corrupt. That’s a recipe for disaster. A quick glance at history and geopolitics clearly shows us that the vast majority of human beings become corrupt when you hand great power to them. Thus, the least-bad-though-still-bad option is to limit the power you hand people, which means limiting government.

    since you are decribing the ideal BD utopia.

    Incorrect. The ideal BD utopia would be an anarcho-capitalist society with no government at all. But I realize that’s utopia, and thus would never work in the real world with real human beings (real human beings are corrupt and like governments, sadly). The hypothetical nation I’m describing isn’t utopia at all and would have lots of problems, but at least it could actually work in the real world. That’s the purpose of this exercise; what would really work?

    Again, I’m not left-wing.

    Yeah uh huh. A lot of Europeans say that. You are not only left-wing, but you’re on the far left, if you want government run health care.

    I have no idea what you mean by this. That has nothing to do with socialized health care. Nor has this ever happened in my country.

    Capitalism always ends up failing no matter what you do, just like socialism always ends up failing. Again, we’re dealing with human nature. The goal is not to sustain capitalism forever, since that’s impossible, but to keep it going for as long as you can.

    What would prevent Goldman Sachs from simply buying your country?

    1. That would be illegal.

    2. They wouldn’t want to, because the government of Ascendia has little to no power over its people, unlike governments in Europe and the US, which have massive power over its citizens and are thus very enticing to greedy corporatists and bankers.

    A lot of industries also need heavy government regulation in order to run Food and medicine (compliance with GMP, GDP etc.)

    Incorrect. We didn’t see millions of people dying in the streets from poisoned food in the US before the FDA was formed in the late 1930’s. The free market worked just fine before that.  Moreover, in the internet age, you don’t need any government regulation over food or medicine. If someone dies, everyone will know about it very, very quickly.

    in order to be able to export any of it

    Private companies in Ascendia could choose to comply with international trade standards if they wished. No one’s stopping them.

    environmental regulation in order to prevent the companies from simply dumping garbage everywhere and so on.

    That would be illegal and a violation of property rights. I will discuss the issue of environmental protection in this country in an upcoming article.

    That would be a problem, because criminals would just play whack-a-mole with local police by city-hopping.

    Incorrect. Such criminals would be caught by the cities who ran effective police forces. In cities where their police sucked, yeah, there would be a problem, and people could punish those cities by moving away. That’s how competition works.

    Or worse, settle in a city where their flavour of crime is legal, and then use it as a base to harass another city (one can imagine child-molester tourists, or even literal pirates operating this way).

    1. Any city who establishes legal child molestation or legal piracy gets what it deserves.

    2. Cities with good police protection would capture / punish these criminals when in their city. It doesn’t matter if the criminals happened to live or be based somewhere else. If you’re physically in a city committing a crime, you’re under its jurisdiction.

    3. Cities would be able to sue each other in federal court for major problems, like massive crime waves, pollution, etc. I will cover that in a future article.

    Handing education to a religious organisation is a surefire way to have it push anti-libertarian

    I didn’t say that. I said that would be one source of education among many. I’d prefer to see secular, free market, for-profit schools, which would be encouraged. Charity schools too. But churches could be allowed to have their own little schools too, sure.

    All religions are by necessity and design, a form of magical totalitarian collectivism, only usually countered by local laws and common sense.

    Of course. There would be a very strict separation of church (ANY church) and state in Ascendia. Religious freedom would be allowed, but no one could pass any laws at the federal level regarding it, and they would be severely punished if they even attempted it.

    A nation built on libertarian principles will have no “immune system” against religion (which ironically, is usually leftism and cultural marxism!), and would be ripe for conquest.

    Ripe for conquest? How? As opposed to ripe for conquest by big corporations like in the US? Or left-wing socialists like in Europe? You just made very big claim, so you’re going to have to back up how a government with no power over its people could be used to exert religious authority over the same people.

    Have you ever contemplated the idea of just out right refusing to pay taxes, and if the government complains say you don’t care and that your decision is final?

    No. I don’t want to go to prison.

    That being said, I have, through the grapevine, heard of certain people who have a decent amount of money who literally never pay taxes. They just use attorneys to manage the torrent of paperwork and constantly respond to the legal challenges from the states and IRS. This seems like a lot of money and expense and hassle, and I’m not sure how long-term sustainable this is, but I’ve certainly heard of it.

    If you are national of another country then where you live, you do not spend all your time in the country where you do live and would save enough on the tax money to hire mercenaries to protect you from the police would be one (dramatic and maybe extreme) example, but I am sure you can imagine some more realistic scenarios.

    That’s certainly viable if you don’t live in the country that’s trying to tax you, sure.

    The US is just too big at this point and needs to be broken up

    Yep. Way ahead of you:

    http://calebjonesblog.com/how-to-fix-every-political-problem-in-the-united-states/

    which I assume is why you’re keeping Ascendia to a much smaller population

    Yes. The Constitution would also encourage secession if it grew too large as a nation. Big giant nations are always problematic. Smaller nations are almost always much better.

  11. Sales Tax B2C – would this include services ?

    Should mechanics and plumbers etc. charge 4% ?

    Just curious.

  12. Sales Tax B2C – would this include services ?

    Should mechanics and plumbers etc. charge 4% ?

    Yep. All consumer spending, including services.

    Some small business people and “gig” people would get around this by simply charging cash, which is what happens where I live (where there is a 8% sales tax on services). I had an electrician at my house the other day; he was happy to take cash and give me a discount for doing it so he wouldn’t have to fuck around with sales taxes or credit card fees.

  13. to mainly the schools which I don’t use and will never use since I don’t have or want kids

    Those schools educate the future scientists, lawyers and doctor that will end up making your country prosperous in the long term. And while the decision to never have kids may be a good one for an individual, if everyone in your country does the same thing, you end up having economic stagnation in the long run because of an aging population. Many countries in Europe are facing this problem now.

    Do I have the freedom in your country to bypass the entire governmental health care system, and pay my own doctor cash out of pocket to have him do whatever I want, if I so choose?

    Do I have the freedom in your country to pay a police man cash out of pocket to have him protect him in whatever way I want? Because in some countries this is known as bribing.

    Incorrect. We didn’t see millions of people dying in the streets from poisoned food in the US before the FDA was formed in the late 1930’s

    People indeed used to have all kind of health problems caused by industrial products that are now prevented by regulations.

    A good example is tobacco. Back in the 1950’s, it wasn’t widespread knowledge that tobacco could cause lung cancer. When the evidence for this started coming out, the tobacco companies went to great lenghts to hide it

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_tobacco#History

    Another example is asbestos, which was widely used as an insulator until it was discovered that it could also cause cancer.

    There is also lead, which has also been used as an additive in paintings, and it turned out to have neurotoxic effects.

    There are plenty of examples of drugs that were sold and latter withdrawn over safety concers. See Rofecoxib https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rofecoxib

    Among many others. I could go on but you get the point.

    Moreover, in the internet age, you don’t need any government regulation over food or medicine. If someone dies, everyone will know about it very, very quickly.

    This is so naive. Most people can’t even distinguish fake news from real news. There are tons of examples of stories that become popular on the internet and later end up being hoaxes. To suggest that the internet could be a good substitute for food and health regulation is ridiculous.

  14. @BD

    You’ve made some very great points in your response (I’m not going to cite them one by one) and I do see your POW in all the cases.

    A few responses to your questions are necessary, however:

    Do I have the freedom in your country to bypass the entire governmental health care system, and pay my own doctor cash out of pocket to have him do whatever I want, if I so choose?

    You absolutely do not. I believe that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you could make the point that politics interfere with doctors’ (even the specialists) decisions with regards to things like hormonal treatment to “transgender” children (my medical opinion as a licensed pharmacist, shared by many doctors, is that children are not able to make permanent life-altering medical decisions, but that’s another topic), where a certain left-wing political agenda is forcing them at gunpoint to prescribe pharmaceutical treatments as well as perform medical procedures against their own better judgement.

    But then again, under the libertarian model you could simply find a doctor who’d prescribe whatever you wanted, but I guess that if you want to be a bad parent nobody can really stop you.

    we can’t assume that the citizens or government won’t be corrupt.

    A very fair point that transcends from one of your core rules.

    Yeah uh huh. A lot of Europeans say that. You are not only left-wing, but you’re on the far left, if you want government run health care.

    You’re likely right from an American perspective. In my country I’d be considered far right-wing, but even our libertarian party are rooting for a 40 % flat income tax rate, so go figure.

    Incorrect. We didn’t see millions of people dying in the streets from poisoned food in the US before the FDA was formed in the late 1930’s. The free market worked just fine before that.

    Well not millions, but you did have things such as the swill milk scandal that killed 8.000 children in New York. Even most medicines as well as medical treatments back then have turned out to be worse than placebo/standard care.

    Moreover, in the internet age, you don’t need any government regulation over food or medicine. If someone dies, everyone will know about it very, very quickly.

    This message hurts my perception of your knowledge of the medical/pharmaceutical field. Medication is, for many reasons, one of the highest regulated industries in the world, if not *the* highest. In order to prove that any medication works (against placebo or more likely against a well established treatment), you do double-blinded studies to ensure that you have irrefutable proof that this medication has an effect on a somewhat large population that is greater than placebo and/or equal/better than a currently established treatment.

    Without regulation, any company could simply claim that their drugs cured whatever disease, and many desperate people would and already do pay billions for medicine that has absolutely no established proof. This includes acupuncture, zone-therapy, anything that has to do with crystals, almost all supplements (>90 % have no proven effect, or rather there is proof of effect equal to or worse than placebo). In my opinion, we should regulate the market even more and get rid of all those pesky witchdoctors that have no medical expertise and only aim to sell goods to stupid/desperate people that can’t tell the difference.

    The internet is actually a huge source of misinformation regarding the medical industry, since most of the publicly available material has nothing to do with the medical profession but is rather marketing / nonempirical “evidence” (i.e. my grandmother ate this pill for 10 days and suddenly her sore throat was gone).

    If I was Ascendian, I’d buy my medicines imported – but I believe that your point is that I am free to do so if I choose. If you aim to comply with the current world wide patent / intellectual property right laws, you’d have no choice anyway, since many treatments have 20 year patents.

     

    A very interesting series. Believe it or not, I’m glad to get some different perspectives on how I think the “ideal” nation should be.

     

  15. My knowledge of free-market capitalism is still too small so I might miss something but my question here is:

    How are people who were born with a serious medical condition taken care of in a system with only private healthcare? Their lifetime costs would be far too great for it to make financial sense to an insurance company. The insurance company knows they would have to spend lots of money on a person who was born with a serious medical condition. Let’s say it would cost $10,000,000. Why would a profit-oriented company make a losing deal?

    Well, I think under a free-market system the prices would be way lower, but still, it would be very expensive for a person with a serious condition.

    Since I grew up in Europe I know that I have a bias and maybe I’m just missing something.

  16. if everyone in your country does the same thing…

    Stupid, irrelevant argument; always is…

    http://www.blackdragonblog.com/2017/10/02/what-if-everyone-did-that/

    Do I have the freedom in your country to pay a police man cash out of pocket to have him protect him in whatever way I want?

    Yes. They’re called “security guards.”

    And wait a minute… you’re a Trump supporter… you want government health care like in Denmark? Hmmmm…. confirming what I already think about Trump supporters, dude. You guys love big government.

    People indeed used to have all kind of health problems caused by industrial products that are now prevented by regulations.

    And the FDA has caused thousands of deaths by the drugs they’ve approved. And hundreds of thousands of people die USA because the FDA prevents them from taking the live-saving drugs they need. And the FDA protects big corrupt pharma companies. (sources 1, 2, 3, just to name a few.)

    As usual, your system sucks, my system sucks, but my system sucks less, so I’ll go with mine (until you can provide me with a superior third option).

    This is so naive. Most people can’t even distinguish fake news from real news. There are tons of examples of stories that become popular on the internet and later end up being hoaxes.

    People have the right to be stupid in a free society. People have the right to put drugs in their own bodies without doing the research in a free society. To have big brother government babysitting us and running our lives to the tune of trillions of dollars a year is not a good solution in my view.

    You absolutely do not.

    And that’s my problem. I like freedom, you like government oppression over doctors and the free market. So you should never move to Ascendia and just stay in socialist Denmark.

    But then again, under the libertarian model you could simply find a doctor who’d prescribe whatever you wanted, but I guess that if you want to be a bad parent nobody can really stop you.

    Correct. Bad parenting is allowed in a free society. I don’t want big brother government putting gun to my head and telling me how to raise my kids, nor do I want my tax dollars to go to telling other parents how to raise their kids. I’ll raise my kids how I like, and I’ll choose to live in neighborhoods where I agree with my parenting value systems.

    You’re likely right from an American perspective. In my country I’d be considered far right-wing

    Again, Europeans have tried to use this argument on me and they have always failed. If you want 100% government control over health care plus a strong welfare state, what is to the left of you? The answer is a communist or something very similar. Thus, when talking to an American, just say “I’m not a communist” instead of saying “I’m not left-wing” so we don’t have to waste time. Moreover, saying you’re not a communist is completely irrelevant to our entire discussion. We’re not talking about communism nor classic socialism.

    Medication is, for many reasons, one of the highest regulated industries in the world

    Yes. That’s why so many people die because of medication and hospitals.

    Without regulation, any company could simply claim that their drugs cured whatever disease, and many desperate people would and already do pay billions for medicine that has absolutely no established proof.

    As I said, people are allowed to be stupid in a free society. Even if I was dying, I certainly wouldn’t be the first person to take a brand new drug simply because the company creating said it was okay. That would be stupid. I would need to see independent third-party verification from reputable third parties with long track records before I did so, and such non-governmental entities would exist in a nation with zero governmental regulation on medicine.

    Yes, some people would be stupid and take these drugs and hurt themselves, but people are allowed to be stupid in a free society. I know that bothers some of you emotionally, but I’d rather have few stupid people hurt themselves than have a gigantic government that hurts millions over the long-term.

    If I was Ascendian, I’d buy my medicines imported – but I believe that your point is that I am free to do so if I choose.

    Precisely. Unlike in your country or mine, citizens in a free country could by medication from anywhere in the world they liked, including the regulated ones. That’s the beauty of freedom.

  17. How are people who were born with a serious medical condition taken care of in a system with only private healthcare? Their lifetime costs would be far too great for it to make financial sense to an insurance company.

    Incorrect. With zero regulation and a 100% free market healthcare system (NOT corporatist, which is what the US has, but capitalist), heath care would be really, really cheap. Read this. On top of that, you’d have churches, charities, and families to help out, which we know happens in first world countries with no welfare state. (One third of all working men in the USA regularly donated to charities before welfare became a thing in the 1940’s. Today, very few do, because they all expect the government to do it, which sucks.)

    The problem is that none of you (myself included) have actually seen a zero-welfare-state system work with your own eyes; big government welfare is all you’ve ever seen, so it’s hard for your brain to imagine anything differently. But America prior to the 1940’s and Hong Kong prior to the 1990’s clearly shows that these systems not only work, but work very well. Not perfectly, but well.

  18. No. I don’t want to go to prison.

    Indeed, I said this is not for a normal individual. You need to have the resources and some back ups before you take such steps. That would be some serious power and influence to the point where paying money for something or not (including taxes) does not make much difference, but it was more of a thought exercise how it would be fun in such a position.

  19. Yeah uh huh. A lot of Europeans say that. You are not only left-wing, but you’re on the far left, if you want government run health care.

    Thats an oversimplification of the political scale by saying that if you are left on one issue you just are left and thats it. What if you want government run health care but are right wing on most other things? Or am I supposed to take an average of all the things an see where I am on the scale? Then I might be somewhere in the centre in total but what if all my views are extreme, am I still considered a centrist? But maybe some of my ideas are more important than others to certian people or in certain times. Indeed, it would be better to not use such labels and instead completely ban political parties and politicians can only stand as individuals with a list of things they want to do and individuals then chose the politician who they agree with the most.

  20. The problem is that none of you (myself included) have actually seen a zero-welfare-state system work with your own eyes

    What about China or India?

  21. Thats an oversimplification of the political scale by saying that if you are left on one issue you just are left and thats it.

    That isn’t what I said. I’m quite sure he’s for a massive welfare state on top of government health care. I’d also bet $100 he’s left-wing on most social issues.

    That’s my point. If you’re that left-wing on one issue (government run health care) you’re going to be left-wing on many other issues. You’re not going to be a small-government, traditional conservative on everything else if you want the government running the entire heath care system. That’s laughable.

    Trust me, he’s left-wing.

    Indeed, it would be better to not use such labels

    Read this.

    What about China or India?

    What about them? Are you saying they have no welfare systems? Or that they have no welfare systems yet their economic systems work great and have little poverty? Because both of those statements would be untrue.

  22. What about them? Are you saying they have no welfare systems? Or that they have no welfare systems yet their economic systems work great and have little poverty? Because both of those statements would be untrue.

    The first, but after I posted it I realised that was not the case and clicked delete. It said it deleted it but clearly it did not. I guess your system is a bit buggy. Your blog sometimes also shows me (on diff computers with diff OS) that there are no new posts / articles when in fact they are. But I think you already know about this. Its usually resolved by reloading more than once.

    By the way, didn’t you say that you are in favour of taxing only the things that one uses, and now you want to make a universal tax? Did you change your mind? Why?

  23. That’s my point. If you’re that left-wing on one issue (government run health care) you’re going to be left-wing on many other issues. You’re not going to be a small-government, traditional conservative on everything else if you want the government running the entire heath care system. That’s laughable.

    I think I am in favour of welfare as long as I see it well used and that I get clear benefit from the taxes I pay. I dont mind paying higher taxes if I know that I am totally covered by the government who provides free high quality healthcare and unemployment money which I will get for at least 6 months after I become unemployed and which are close to my current salary. Then I dont mind paying taxes because I see it as an insurance that I am covered form all sides. If on the other hand I pay higher taxes and I see that the healthcare is not totally free or the unemployment money is some laughable amount that is disproportionate to my former income then I do not consider the tax I pay a good investment, or if the government starts doing something dodgy with the money like giving it to immigrants (who should just be kicked out and there should be a hard cap as a small percentage of population to how many are allowed in and will be selected on case by case basis). Where does this fit for your categorization?

  24. didn’t you say that you are in favour of taxing only the things that one uses

    Yes.

    and now you want to make a universal tax?

    A universal sales tax, only on the things you purchase, yes.

    Did you change your mind?

    Nope. Read the above.

    Where does this fit for your categorization?

    Left-wing. “I like the welfare state as long as the government does it the way I want” is a left-wing viewpoint. “I don’t want a welfare state” is a traditional right-wing or libertarian viewpoint.

    And before you say it, yes, the “alt-right” is actually left-wing one the issue of the welfare state. “I like the welfare state as long as only native white Christians get free taxpayer money” is a left-wing view.

  25. Left-wing. “I like the welfare state as long as the government does it the way I want” is a left-wing viewpoint. “I don’t want a welfare state” is a traditional right-wing or libertarian viewpoint.

    And before you say it, yes, the “alt-right” is actually left-wing one the issue of the welfare state. “I like the welfare state as long as only native white Christians get free taxpayer money” is a left-wing view.

    I see so for you it is about being fine with paying extra in exchange for securities and assurances vs paying almost nothing and getting nothing? Thats quite far from any definition that is accepted as standard either now or in the past but fine.

  26. I see so for you it is about being fine with paying extra in exchange for securities and assurances vs paying almost nothing and getting nothing?

    That is not what even close to what I said. But we’re at the point where you’re defensively not interpreting my wording correctly, so I’m done talking to you about this topic. Let’s move on.

  27.  

    – No INCOME taxes would be allowed and highly illegal.  Sales taxes is fine of course.
    – No Judges would be allowed and highly illegal.  Only Jury or panels of people.
    – No President or king or one individual that we look to.  It makes people put their faith in 1 person way too much.
    – No Federal Government at all if there were States or Territories.  It is not needed.
    – No money issued by the FEDERAL Government would be allowed.  The people would barter and trade everything, including services, goods, housing, gold, silver, etc. If there were States or Territories, each would be required to have it own currency or use Gold, Silver notes etc.  So, back to the Gold Standard.
    – The Government would not be in the biz of issuing Marriage Certificates at all. Churches or 2 people could make up their own “mutually beneficial contract” of course if they wanted.
    – No Child Support since there would be forced split 50/50 shared time.  If one parent splits town and does not help the other, he/she goes before a large Jury (not a Judge) or panel and may have to do time helping build roads or hard labor of some kind.  Each parent can negotiate these together as well.  Alimony is highly illegal. 
    -Property Division can be decided by a large Jury if needed.
    – No Prison for Citizens except for Hard Crimes only
    – No Drug war.  Most hard drugs would be legal, which would cause prices to fall in some cases.  The Jury’s or the People would decide what is a drug or not.
    – Prostitution would not be illegal.  If a man wanted to trade a woman some food for a good time, that is fine.
    – Guns would be required to be carried by all citizens over 18 to 59 and be considered the Defense Force (police and army kinda).  If you had a reason not to carry one, you go before the Jury, not one Judge.
    – Home Schooling would be required IF you decided to have kids lol
    – No Property Taxes.  You either own the land or you don’t.

     

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