Friday, January 11, 2008

Replace Taxes with Federal Auction

We should eliminate the whole idea of taxes from our society and transistion to an auction system where people would voluntarily fund our government. There are millions of high demand/low supply goods and services that would allow the government to raise enough money to provide the desired public services.

The gist of the idea is for the government to buy up to 10% of any good/service to be resold in a free-market auction.

For instance:
Opening night on Broadway
Sold-out sporting events like the NFL Playoffs
The release of a new product such as the Iphone
The ability to avoid a line at the Division of Motor Vehicles
The opening night of a blockbuster Movie
Seats at a Presidential debate
Picnic spaces in public parks on holidays
Ability to see the State of The Union address
Reservations at a popular restaurant
Ability to speak with Elected Officials personally

The list truly is endless of areas in our lives where we are willing to pay more than the market value because it is truly worth it to us. Sometimes the service is "free" but since so many people desire it, most of us get left out. For instance, on July 4th in every community thousands of people want to get to the park early and stake out the "best spot". A local jurisdiction could reserve an area where people would bid for the space. The winning bidders wouldn't have to rush to get there at such an early hour, but they would pay for that privilege. Others would have to rush to get a good place, but it would be free. Think about it, if you are having a picnic for your family on the 4th of July, how much would it be worth it for you to have the best spot to see the fireworks?

Another example: Right now when any new product comes out. Speculators buy up the product and then immediately resell it for what its' worth on the free market. If the government had a monopoly on this process for at least a short time after a product is released, people paying an extremely high price are happy, the taxpayers get the difference between the product and the sell price, the business is paid for the product, and we get public services.

I'm sure some will resent that the "rich" would get to enjoy better benefits than the rest of us. Also, that many events/processes that are now democratic or random would be subject to the higgest bidder at least in part. But the end result would be people would only pay taxes voluntarily. And make no mistake, they would do them. We each are overly interested in something that others don't understand.

Take something that we think should be totally free: the ability to visit a public official and voice a greivance. Why not have an open public auction for a 1 hour sit-down with each Congress person. Each member would be required to do it 5 times per week. So, 535 members each would list that hour on the auction. People would bid whatever it was worth to them to meet and greet the official. If everything is public, the process transparent, and everyone can read a transcript of the meeting, no one loses. We all win.

Right now, the best I can hope for is a few minutes with my favorite representative, if that. For some elected officials it would be as little as $20, while how much would you pay to sit and talk with Barack Obama for an hour?

I would be willing to pay $20 to get one hour to talk with any elected member of Congress about my ideas. The other route is to write a letter, and call repeatedly as they ignore you.

There would need to be an Independent Government Agency similar to the Federal Reserve Board whose job would be to identify/create markets so that whatever level of revenue the government needed could be raised.

This would free Democrats from having to advocate higher taxes to pay for popular government programs. It would end the neurotic nature of the American people who want more government and less taxes.

These are the kind of new ideas that we need in the public square from the left.

Craig Farmer
making the word "liberal" safe again!

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