|COMMUNITY ISSUES: GETTING SOMEWHERE
"...in the majority of men, there is such a love of tried arrangements, and so great a dread of experiments, that they will probably not act upon this right until long after it is safe to do so."--Herbert Spencer, Social Statics
The key concerns in implementing Libertarian programs areAs Libertarians are elected to local office in greater numbers and increasingly have opportunities to influence public policy, it becomes more important that they acquire the ability to translate Libertarian principles into action. It was for this reason--to show how these principles apply to concrete, present-day community issues--that this book was written.
The ability to make headway primarily involves:
Identification of Issues
Identification of Libertarian concerns
underlying complex community issues is crucial because the Libertarian
officeholder for the most part confronts issues which are not of his or
her own making. Even Libertarians who ride into local office on the strength
of popular support for a particular clear-cut Libertarian position soon
find themselves mired in a host of governmental controversies which seem
to have little to do with the question of expanding liberty. "When are
you going to fix Maple Street?" What offer should the municipality
make to its police when the contract is up? Should planning be contracted
out to the regional agency and the city's planning department be abolished?
Should we "buy local" when we buy paper clips?
|GETTING SOMEWHERE NOTES|
|1.||In this chapter, the term "local government" includes school boards.|
|2.||The basic problem here is that the surrounding governmental unit continues to provide its services free of direct charge. The Libertarian can use the possibility that dissolution might "victimize" a surrounding governmental unit as an argument why that unit should privatize those services by pricing them and offering tax cuts to those who do not subscribe.|
|3.||E. Ostrom and R. Parks, "Suburban Police Departments: Too Many and Too Small?" in Lewis H. Masotte and Jeffrey K. Hadden, Urban Affairs Annual Reviews: The Urbanization of the Suburbs, vol. 7, (Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publication, 1973), pp. 367-402, p. 390. Cited in Robert L. Bish and Vincent Ostrom, Understanding Urban Government: Metropolitan Reform Considered (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1973), p. 76, p. 78.|
|4.||Werber Z. Hirsch, "Local Versus Areawide Local Government Services," National Tax Journal, vol. 17 (December 1964); and Hirsch, "The Supply of Public Services," in Harvey S. Perloff and Lowden Wingo, Jr., eds., Issues in Urban Economics (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1968). Cited in Bish and Ostrom, op. cit., p. 78.|
|5.||Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Size Can
Make a Difference: A Closer Look (Washington, D.C.: ACIR Bulletin No.
70-8, 1970), p. 2. Cited in Bish and Ostrom, op. cit., p. 79.
|6.||Bish and Ostrom, op. cit., p. 80.|
|7.||Ibid., p. 80. See notes 15-17 there.|
|8.||"Grass-roots Revolt: Soaring Property Taxes Infuriate Homeowners,
Spur Legislative Action," The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 1977, P. 1.
|9.||Tax Foundation, Unions and Government Employment (New York: Tax Foundation, Inc., 1972), p. 41; citing research by Paul T. Hartman.|
|10.||E. Wright Bakke, "Reflections on the Future of Bargaining in the Public Sector," Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 93, No. 7 (July 1970), p. 24. Cited in Tax Foundation, op. cit., p. 26.|
|11.||The best source of information about contracting is the Local Government Center, 221 West Carrillo St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.|
|12.||Bish and Ostrom, op. cit., p. 60.|
|13.||Ibid., p. 60.|
|14.||The definition used here assumes that a purely voluntary association for self defense would not be called a government, recognizing that the word is often used to describe such an association.|
|15.||Both "government" and "revenue" are here defined on an economic
basis: "government" including the actual institution and its supporters, and "revenue" including money, goods, services, and psychic income.
|16.||And this includes, in the extreme, the right of revolution.|
|17.||Other things being equal. Federal government policy is such that a municipal service organization can often receive federal funding whereas private counterparts cannot. While outside the scope of our focus upon the local community, this is still consistent with our thesis that the political monopoly over the service is maintained only by expanding access to new revenue--in this case, the wallets of federal taxpayers.|
|18.||It is, for instance, sometimes claimed that it is easier to avoid sales tax than property tax.|
|19.||Presumably, if Libertarians succeeded in putting a local government on a purely voluntary footing before the loan's maturity, repayment could come from voluntarily-provided local government revenues.|
|20.||Taxes here include all charges levied by organizations possessing government support of wielding a coercive monopoly. Thus they would include any "user charges" levied by government authority, and the funds which pay off revenue bonds.|
|21.||A detailed analysis would demonstrate that such decisions are unavoidably political rather than "financial." One borrows when the rate of return achievable by the investment exceeds the market interest rate. Government has no "rate of return on investment" except a political one; even the income of quasi-independent authorities is a function of their politically-determined monopoly license.|
|22.||The Libertarian objective sought in eliminating a government service or program may not always be the obvious one of saving money. A tax-subsidized service has the effect of "regulating" private competition--either allowing private operators to charge artificially high prices or making it impossible for them to operate at all. In such cases the reason for eliminating the service would be to remove the coercive intervention into free market exchanges.|
|23.||This includes the psychic rewards which some politicians derive from "doing a public service," etc.|
|24.||Though in certain cases, "hidden" taxes may also be easier to evade, and thus would produce lower collections.|
|25.||"Soaring Property Taxes," The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 1977; the last statistic is from Tax Foundation, Facts and Figures on Government Finance (New York: Tax Foundation, 1975), p. 243.|
|26.||"Soaring Property Taxes," The Wall Street Journal, September 7, 1977.|
|27.||"Revolt Against Property Taxes," U.S. News and World Report, January 17, 1977, p. 81.|