(urth) Gene Wolfe's Politics

Chris P rasputin_ at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 26 13:22:56 PDT 2009

> >> A good practical place to start.
> >> You can only make a new tax if you remove two others: you can only raise 
> >> a
> >> tax if you reduce other taxes by twice the amount.
> >
> > This is a formula for bankruptcy.
> I don't think this resolution is exactly what Horn suggested; however, it is 
> only a formula for bankruptcy if one of the following is true:
> A.) The leaders of a government cannot curb their inclination to spend more 
> and more--or commit themselves to spending more and more--without regard to 
> the money coming in (admittedly, a genuine impetus in democratic and 
> autocratic governments)
> B.) There is some kind of law of good governance that demands governments 
> continually spend ever larger percentages of the nation's economy (which I 
> don't consider true, and would inevitably lead to bankruptcy).
> J. 

To pick nits, it depends on the size of the taxes being removed and the tax being levied. If you assume they are equal size (or for that matter any arrangement where the two removed taxes add up to more than the added one), you will go bankrupt even if spending remains equal.

In any event my point was that it's unlikely that Silk meant burdens of exactly the same type, because it simply wouldn't make sense as a guideline for *anything*. Ie,

"We need more soldiers for the war, let's draft 100." 
"Well, OK, but only if we let 200 of our current soldiers go back to civilian life."

The idea can make sense if you assume the burdens come from different contexts; one relaxes laws and lowers taxes if you need to force mandatory civil service, or eases up in other ways if you suddenly need more money for an emergency, and so on. But this is all too nitpicky, because if you try to take the principle literally as a precise way to govern it's never going to work for anything. These kind of utterances just gesture toward a general truth.

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