[ExI] Friedman and negative income tax

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Mon May 4 02:48:09 UTC 2009

On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 6:14 PM, Damien Broderick <thespike at satx.rr.com> wrote:
> This is a serious question. The usual responses, in my experience, ignore
> that issue and fiercely defend the "right" of all wealthy humans to dispose
> of their (lawfully-acquired) legacies in whatever way they choose. But do we
> want to see wealthy wastrels wrecking their own lives and squandering wealth
> that might have been invested wisely by those instilled with the virtues of
> self-reliance and independence? (Or is this loafing subset of society--the
> ParisHiltonariat--too small to bother worrying about?)

### The main problem is not depriving Paris Hilton of the chance to go
whoring in style but rather the long term costs of constructing the
organization and the system of expectations about the workings of the
society that allow such interference in private affairs.

Think about it: There is wealth that is not legitimately yours since
it was created by Mr Hilton and therefore should remain his, as a
reward for his efforts, and a signal to others that hard work will
make them rich. Still, you want to "invest it wisely". How do you go
about it? It seems that you need to create an organization capable of
wresting the wealth away from workers like Mr Hilton. That
organization should be wiser than Mr Hilton, unerringly capable of
determining the right and the wrong uses of workers' monies (e.g. if
giving money to your granddaughter who decides to out-slut others is
wrong, is it also wrong to bequest a really nice car? A house? A penny
more than the average? How about spending on a non-hybrid or God
forbid, foreign car?) All kinds of questions will inevitably occur to
the officers of this organization, and I have a hunch that they will
favor one answer - Give us the cash, and shut up. The good Officers
would have to be saintly devoted to investing for the benefit of us
all, while wielding the guns, prisons, and other devices needed for
separating men from their cash and giving nothing in return. And of
course workers like Mr Hilton who see it happening will now think
twice about trying to get rich, thus depriving us of, for example, the
chance to check in to a well-run hotel at a reasonable price.

Do you think it is possible to sculpt such an organization out of the
crooked timber of humanity? I don't. Plus, I have no envy, I don't get
upset when I see rich brats in Porches passing my humble Mustang. I am
a consequentialist, which is where I differ from Rothbard, and I am
convinced that giving the state the right to order us all about just
to spite Paris Hilton is a really bad idea.


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