Sunday, April 28, 2019

Brian Romanchuk — Why Doesn't The Government Impose Taxes In Chickens?

Silly question? Brian is responding to someone who asserted that in effect government does. 

Actually, it used to be that government confiscated property to move it to government use, but that is no longer considered "proper," unless the police do it on other pretexts. In a monetary production economy, taxes are payable in "money," that is, the government's currency.

What David Andolfatto apparently means is that one's purchasing power declines as a result of taxation, which is true. But that is not all there is to it, as Brian points out. In addition, neoclassical assumptions come embedded in the assertion.

Physicist Richard Feynman famously pointed out that a major purpose of science is to keep us from fooling ourselves and we are the easiest one's to fool (because of cognitive-emotional bias). 

While David Andolfatto states the obvious at the household level with respect to barter, this is not actually what happens and that makes a big difference in the approach to economics.

Thomas Aquinas is famous for his paraphrasing of Aristotle in De ente and essentia, "A small mistake in the beginning becomes a big one by the end."

Framing counts. Get the framing wrong and miss the point.

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