I recently received a message from Dave Hollist on my facebook page which read, “Darryl, thanks for running for office. On your page and website, I could not find your plan to finance government without violating our Libertarian pledge to never force anyone to do anything. Please steer me to that info, or have you considered contract insurance?” He then asked, “How can a government operate without taxation?” and provided his answer, which can be found on his website.
Before offering my opinion on how government would be funded absent taxation, I feel compelled to say that I have only seen a handful of people mention “contract insurance” and based on what I’ve read, I would not oppose such a proposal, nor would I support it.
Now, to answer the question: How can a government operate without taxation? I believe that governments (if they are to continue existing) can operate without taxation in a similar way that your neighborhood grocer operates without taxation. Any proposed government project should be able to be funded through voluntary means. Just as your local grocer doesn’t point (or threaten to point) a gun to your head to force you to purchase his groceries; governments should not use the same tactics to force you to fund its schools, roads, post offices, bureaucrats, regulatory agencies, military conquests, and/or any other government function.
This does not mean that I oppose schools, roads, and post offices. In fact, I like all three of those things, and regularly use two of them. I’m opposed to the use of force to fund them. I’ve been a regular contributor to the arts and libraries, however I’m opposed to the use of force to fund them!
For a quick comparison between the private sector and government monopoly, lets look at the delivery of mail and packages. During the fiscal year ending in September 2012, the United States Post Office had a deficit of $15.9 billion, and a deficit of $1.9 billion in the second quarter of the current fiscal year, while UPS “is projecting to haul in $4.6 to $4.8 billion in after-tax profits” in 2013.
With regards to education, some statistics show that government-funded schools spend one and a half times more per student than their privately run counterparts. Private schools also hire more teachers and spend much less on administration than government-funded schools. Many museums operate almost entirely on private-funding, yet claim they will cease to exist absent the government funds they receive. There are also free-market solutions to policing and roads that currently exist, and operate better than the one-size-fits-all government-controlled solutions.
I admit that I do not have all of the answers, though I do offer solutions. My solution to operating a government without taxation is to have said government (if such would even exist in a libertarian society) rely on voluntary contributions, just as privately run businesses and charities do!