That Mayor Bloomberg believes that “tax policy is the way government uses capitalism… to encourage the right behavior” is shocking. It belies a fundamental ignorance of capitalism while revealing the mindset of a dictator.
Capitalism is the system wherein the government exists solely to protect the right of the individual citizen to make his own choices based on his own judgment, so long as he abstains from violating the equal rights of others. A dictatorship, by contrast, is the system wherein the government forces the individual citizen to follow the judgment of a single political leader.
Of course, we don’t yet live under a dictatorship or anything near one. What we live under is a mixed economy, i.e., a mixture of capitalism and statism that is currently drifting towards the latter. In this context, the brazen assertion that the purpose of taxes is to influence behavior, rather finance government, represents yet another principled step away from our country’s founding principles.
Under capitalism, a political leader is not endowed with superior wisdom and the right to enforce it on the citizenry through tax policy, law, or any other means. Not in theory, not in fact, and not in a country founded on the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Mayor Bloomberg says that New Yorkers pay more taxes because they get more services; this is just another way of saying that New Yorkers pay more taxes because New York’s government spends more of their money. He also says that he doesn’t “know anybody that’s urging us to reduce the services.” Oh really? May I be the first then? We could make a start by not only reducing, but by eliminating, all of the economically destructive “services” provided by the meddling licensing and regulatory agency bureaucrats who use their arbitrary powers to prohibit peaceful economic activity. That would radically reduce taxes, while simultaneously lowering the costs and increasing the quantity and quality of the real services that the public actually wants and is willing to pay for voluntarily.
Reducing the city workforce is the very best thing that Mayor Michael Bloomberg could do to help the economy [“Time to Tighten Up,” Jan. 31], not because it would reduce the city’s payroll, but because it would reduce the number of bureaucrats who have the power to prohibit peaceful economic activity.
As a New York musician who is forcibly under-employed due to bureaucratic meddling, I hope that the mayor eliminates both the bureaucrats who administer the bizarre cabaret laws that criminalize the hiring of musicians and the community-board bureaucrats who have the arbitrary power to deny restaurants and nightclubs liquor licenses if they hire musicians. I’m sure that New Yorkers in other lines of work can think of other bureaucrats we’d all be better off without.