Jul 222010

Queen's ParkA proper government is one whose sole reason for existence is the protection of man’s individual rights.  The protection of a man’s right to his life, his liberty, his property, and his pursuit of happiness to name a few.

A proper government is one whose goal is to eliminate the initiation of force in society.  It is able to do this if it acts as our agent for our own right to self-defense.  A proper government therefore would be the only institution that holds the exclusive power to use force (as a consequence of our individual right to self-defense).

To quote Ayn Rand — “A government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of physical force under objective control —i.e., under objectively defined laws.”

What would such a government look like today?  To think about what it would look like we might take a look at our own Provincial government and then start peeling away all of the non-essentials, all of the areas our current government  that are not proper functions for the only institution permitted to use force in society.  The same exercise could be performed on the federal government.

Here is a quick list of some of the items in Ontario’s 2010 budget that would not appear if Ontario had a proper government whose only role was the protection of our individual rights:

  • Health care – It wouldn’t be difficult to eliminate this expense considering that health care provision and administration is only a recent misuse of government power.  State control of health care only came about in my life time.  In Ontario it was in 1967.  Cost $44 billion.
  • Education – Education used to be privately provided by employers to their employees and their families.  But around the turn of the twentieth century the government took it over because they saw too many American influences in the curriculum.  Only later on did they deem this service to be a role of government. A proper government would not provide money for the building of schools, the salary of teachers, student loans, or the purchase of text books.  Cost $20 billion.
  • Government involvement in the economy – A proper government would be completely separated from the economy.  No subsidies to individuals, no subsidies to corporations or business, no setting of interest rates via a central bank, no wealth redistribution of any kind.  A proper government would be a referee in the economy, not a player.

To continue the list:

  • Aboriginal Affairs
  • Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs,
  • Community and Social Services
  • Consumer Services,
  • Economic Development and Trade,
  • Energy,
  • Environment,
  • Office of Francophone Affairs,
  • Health and Long Term Care,
  • Health Promotion
  • Labour
  • Housing
  • Natural Resources
  • Northern Development, Mines and Forestry,
  • Research and Innovation
  • Tourism and Culture,
  • Training, Colleges and Universities
  • Transportation
  • Liquor Control Board of Ontario
  • Human Rights Commission

Here are some of the items which would remain in the budget

  • Community Safety and Correctional Services – Cost $2.3 billion
  • Office of the Lieutenant Governor – Cost $1.3 million
  • Ministry of the Attorney General – Cost $1.5 billion
  • Citizenship and Immigration – Cost $112 million
  • Office of the Premier – Cost $2.8 million

As well as a few other items such as a much scaled back Ministry of Revenue, a smaller Ministry of infrastructure etc.

Total cost of a proper Ontario government would probably not exceed $5 Billion.

The 2010 operating expense of the Ontario government is over $105 Billion, or 21 times the expense of a proper government.

Currently the government gets its revenue in the following way:

Revenue ($ billions)
Taxation Revenue 71.6
Personal Income Tax 25.9
Sales Tax 19.1
Corporations Tax 7.4
Education Property Tax 5.3
Ontario Health Premium 2.9
All Other Taxes 10.9
Government of Canada 23.7
Income from Government Business Enterprises 4.2
Other Non-Tax Revenue 7.4
Total Revenue 106.9

While all taxation, by definition, requires the initiation of force and is therefore immoral, of all of these forms of taxation the only one with any legitimacy as a means to fund a proper government would be sales tax.  In a free society there is only one thing that we owe each other and that is JUSTICE.  That being so if everyone were to pay for the service they uniformly receive from the government in order to see that everyone benefits from a just government without discrimination or favoritism a sales tax would fit that bill.

A sales tax is also appropriate because it is directly tied to the social activity of trade, of entering into contracts with each other with the government acting as referee and not a participant.  The purpose of government is to ensure an environment where individuals can trade with each other with a degree of trust and with the knowledge that such trade is protected by law, where one party in a dispute can go to the government for redress because he has paid for that service via his sales tax during the transaction.

The Provincial portion of the HST (8%) is estimated to take in $19.1 billion in 2010.  Four times what a proper government would require from this single tax alone.  If we cut the Provincial portion of the HST from 8% to 2% we could fund all the needs of a proper government and would then, as individuals, have $100 Billion dollars to spend between us each year on many of those things the government provided at hyper-inflated prices.

Except for direct fees for discretionary services or voluntary contributions to government a sales tax would be the only moral way to fund it. The most immoral way is income tax which, through its progressive nature, penalizes people for participating in society and being productive.  An income tax is even more intrusive into our lives than the long-form census.  Consider all of the receipts for personal claimable expenses we submit which the government records and then keeps on file.  Don’t forget to submit your birth control pill receipts under medical expenses, and that anti-itch powder your doctor prescribed, or the soccer school fees for your kids.

The list of personal activities the government is privy to due to income tax is extremely invasive.  Besides that, the government knows where you work, what you make, what you spend your money on, your personal medical history, your education history, and what you spent to renovate your home last year.  All of this information is in the hands of the government.  None of this information should be in the hands of a proper government.

(Originally aired on Just Right show #161 July 22nd, 2010. To download the show visit //www.justrightmedia.org)