“Taxes are compulsory because otherwise a populace wouldn’t pay them.”
Taxes are compulsory because otherwise a populace wouldn’t voluntary pay enough money for things that they value. Right now, as far as I know, nobody voluntary pays for poison oak. This isn’t a problem because nobody values poison oak.
Well… everybody values the sun but nobody voluntarily pays for it. This isn’t a problem because the amount of money that people spend, or don’t spend, on the sun has absolutely no impact on the sun’s supply. If people’s payment for the sun did determine its supply, then there would certainly be a problem if the amount of money that people spent on the sun was less than their true valuation of it. The populace would end up with less sun than they truly want.
Just like with the sun, it’s hard to exclude people from the benefit of national defense. Unlike with the sun, the supply of national defense depends entirely on the amount of money that’s spent on it. More money spent on defense means more defense. Less money spent on defense means less defense.
So with defense it is a problem when the amount of money that the populace voluntarily spends on it is less than their valuation of it. The populace will end up with less defense than they truly want.
Compulsory taxation certainly can and does ensure that populace has more defense. But it definitely doesn’t ensure that the supply of defense will equal the demand for defense. This problem can be solved simply by allowing taxpayers to choose where their taxes go. In other words, the solution is to create a market in the public sector.
It’s pretty straightforward supply and demand stuff. The supply should reflect the demand. Supplying more defense than people truly want is a waste of limited resources just like it would be to supply more poison oak than people truly want.
This same straightforward economic logic is equally relevant whether we’re talking about defense or stories about defense. In all cases the demand should determine the supply. In order for this to happen on Medium, subscribers should have the option to choose where their fees go. Each and every subscriber should have the freedom to decide for themselves how much of their own fees they spend on stories about defense.
If you disagree with any of this, then for the first time in our discussion, please try and support your own conclusion by sharing a credible source. Failing to do so will support my belief that you haven’t seriously studied the subject.
Personally, I have seriously studied the topic which means that I know what a diverse range of economists have written about it… from the anarcho-capitalist Murray Rothbard to the liberal Paul Samuelson. As different as these two economists were, they both agreed that the supply of public goods should determine the demand for public goods. However, they very much disagreed about the government’s ability to “divine” the demand for public goods. Samuelson was very confident in the government’s ability while Rothbard was very skeptical. Like Rothbard, I’m very skeptical that the government can somehow “divine” my valuation of defense. But unlike Rothbard, I don’t believe that the solution is to abolish the government. I believe that Buchanan’s solution of individual earmarking is far superior.