Saturday, April 19, 2008

Government's Job: Do Not dictate What My Values Are - Protect Them

Over at Forbes Dr. Yaron Brook from the Ayn Rand Institute writes that "government's job is not to dictate your values but to protect them". Wow! How dare this man say that our government cannot TELL us what to value! Why the nerve of him. We're just helpless pawns of life blindly following the whim of the moment! Of course government has to hold our hands and tell us what to value-how could we manage by ourselves? How could we live without the Nanny State? (Read the whole article here).

"They awaken in their highly mortgaged house (interest deduction), make breakfast for their adopted child (tax credit and exemption), then drive their hybrid cars (more tax credits) to work. John, at his office, signs a contract for solar energy panels (tax credit), but he turns down a promotion that would launch the couple into a higher tax bracket. Meanwhile, across town, Jane signs an application to get historic preservation status (tax credits) for her office building."

"...Tax policy works by attaching financial incentives to a long list of values deemed morally worthy. If you want to maximize your wealth come tax time--and who doesn't?--you must look at the world through tax-colored glasses, "voluntarily" adjusting your behavior to suit social norms and thereby qualifying for tax breaks. In this way, the social engineers of tax policy preserve the impression that you're exercising free choice, while they're actually dispensing with your reason and your judgment...

"Here's the point: Government's job is not to dictate your values but to protect them. In a free country, you choose values and then use your own money as a tool to achieve them. But a value-rigged tax policy reverses this cause and effect--it uses your money against you, bribing you with tax breaks that let you keep some of your earnings in exchange for abandoning your preferred values.

"Clearly, we have slid a long way downhill from this nation's founding, when political leaders respected individuals' ability to make rational decisions for themselves about how to pursue their own health, wealth and happiness. Today, it is commonly accepted that Uncle Sam has a right to reach not only into your wallet but into your soul, through tax policies that substitute some version of the "public interest" for your own rational desires."

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