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Friday, May 16, 2008

 

Private Property

Private Property rights are pretty much the best thing since sliced bread...ok, they probably came before sliced bread. Private property creates stability in a society. When someone own's something they are going to take good care of it. It is in their self-interest to take good care of their own possessions. Private property also aids in law enforcement. With private property there is an incentive for the owner to protect his or her possessions from theft.

So these are all things that most economists know and all things that are mentioned in Power and Prosperity by Mancur Olson. The scary thing that some people don't realize is the connection between taxes and private property. Now, before going further let's explain what a tax is. At a bare minimum a tax is a portion of societies money that it used to pay the government to enforce private property, enforce contracts, and in today's day and age to provide a country with national defense. I believe that this type of tax is good. However, when a government taxes beyond these boundries the tax becomes a redistribution of wealth.

This redistribution of wealth acts is the government infringing on private property instead of enforcing it. Our possessions are our private property. When the government takes from some people in the form of a tax to give to others where is the enforcement of private property.

Now we are overtaxed in America but I can live with that. This doesn't mean that I won't stand up for the economic freedom I believe is rightfully ours as outlines in the constitution but we are taxed much less that other countries. In some countries taxing takes away much more production than it does in America.

However, here is the scary thing. The government in America sometimes uses taxes to take over private property. Sometimes taxes are intentionally raised so high that people can no longer afford to live there. I have some friends that own some really nice property up in the mountains of Colorado. They have lobbying pressures from developers that want to mine the surrounding area including their property and they have lobbying pressures from environmentalists that want to make the area accessible by hiking only. As a result taxes are beginning to sky rocket. If this continues they won't be able to own the property for too much longer...and they are even pretty well off.

It is ironic how our governement infringes on private property sometimes when it has the duty to protect it...probably more scary than ironic though.

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