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Big Local Government and the Guaranteed Loss

February 15, 2014

by John K Rooney

Printed in the Progress Index

Imagine a world where there was no formal government, sheriff or police force, but perhaps a judge. In such a situation, people may feel inclined, by necessity, to stay by their homes and guard their property for fear of theft. One could convincingly make the point that such an arrangement, while approaching anarchy, actually limits freedom because property owners would not be as free to move around, bound to the responsibility of personal security.

This, however, is similar to the arrangement ordained for the Israelites under the Law of Moses during the time of the judges. Curiously, it worked because the citizens themselves became the fabric of security, safeguarding their neighbors’ interests and safety. Freedom and prosperity flourished, that is, until they worshiped before those mute idols.

In the modern world, seemingly reasonable leaders establish complex systems of justice, giant buildings and police to protect the citizens, but even this is never enough. They assume if the children are not all educated into the system, they will become criminals, therefore, massive amounts of money are needed so the “STATE” can protect the people through government run education programs. And so it goes on and on, one program after another, all to protect us from crime, mayhem, poverty, falling property values, etcetera. Let’s not forget that some programs encourage immorality and family disintegration, increasing the calls for greater government.

https://i0.wp.com/mercatus.org/sites/default/files/State-and-Local-Spending-vs-Private-GDP-580.jpg

Imagine Joe, a hard working home owner who pays $4,000 a year just in local taxes in order to purchase his right to own a roof over his head and a nice set of wheels. In 10 years Joe pays $40,000 (simplified) to the local treasury, a government that exists to protect him from evil. He could have invested that money at a conservative 6 percent which may have grown to $316,000 in 30 years. Or, he might have employed this property (cash) in other ways to enrich his and his family’s lives, but Joe’s money is gone. Each year his family takes a guaranteed $4,000 hit, whereas they may go for years without any significant losses from criminals. If he does not pay these taxes, something bad happens. How much do you think the “average Joe” would have lost to crime if there were no police or complex governmental structure? My guess, far less than $40,000 over 10 years. With those odds, one might rather take their chances.

I’m not recommending anarchy, but from a cost benefit perspective, the cost is much higher than the benefit.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 21, 2014 2:09 pm

    Great article and great thinking. We are enmeshed in a system that no longer serves the public; instead it more often, serves itself.

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