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Sunday, August 23, 2009

How Much Should Roads Cost?

When I write "Taxation is theft! Who needs a government anyway?", a pro-State troll retorts "But who will build the roads? Who will pay for police? Who will pay for schools?" How much should these things actually cost?

According to this page, the NYPD has less than 40,000 officers. That's less than 0.5% of the population. Assuming that "0.5% of the population must work as policemen!" is the optimal number, then 0.5% of my income is a fair price for police protection.

The State falsely declares many activities as crimes. With no "victimless crimes", then the actual number of police needed would be less than 0.5%. With a "criminal pays!" legal system, the cost would be even lower.

The NYPD has an monopoly. Subject to free market competition, police would definitely be available more cheaply.

A pro-State troll argues "What about national defense?" 40,000 people should be sufficient to protect a city against an invasion. If necessary, more soldiers could be hired temporarily during an invasion. Suppose there were no Federal government and a hostile invading army of 10,000 landed in Manhattan. Would they really have any chance of success?

The only reason that 40,000 policeman are sufficient to collect taxes is that the vast majority have been brainwashed to believe that taxation is legitimate. A hostile invading army would not be recognized as legitimate masters.

Also, if I double my income, the State charges me twice as much for police protection. (Actually, more than double when you consider progressive income taxation rates.) Subject to free market competition, I probably wouldn't need to pay twice as much for police if I had twice as much property. It would be more, but not double.

What about roads? Suppose that the street in front of my house is repaved once every 5 years. Suppose it takes a crew of 50 people one day to repave the road, and an equal value of equipment (a high estimate). Assuming that road repair workers get paid the same salary as me, it costs approximately 50% of my annual salary to repave the road. The road must be repaved only once every 5 years, so the cost is 10% of my annual salary per year. Suppose there are 50 families living on the same block as me. That brings the cost down to 0.2% of my annual salary.

In the present, suppose the State road repair crew does a bad job. There's no penalty. In fact, if they do shoddy work, they can get hired again to repave the road soon. The incentive is for the road repair crew to do a bad job.

Subject to market competition, I can make sure that I hire a repair crew that does a good job. The true cost of roads is less than the 0.2% figure quoted above.

Road building is even cheaper than police protection. Local roads would be paid by residents in the area. Highways would be toll roads exactly the same as now, but their construction wouldn't be subsidized by the State. Most people would have reciprocal agreements so that they could travel. "I'll let you drive on roads near where I live if you let me drive on roads near where you live."

What about schools? Suppose I want to send my child to a school with a 20:1 student:teacher ratio. (Most State schools have a ratio of 30:1 or worse.) Then, it would cost 5% of my salary, assuming the teacher gets paid the same as me. However, only people who have children pay the cost. Of course, if I earn more than a typical teacher, then the cost is less than 5%.

Suppose I want to send my child to a better school with a 10:1 student:teacher ratio. Then, I could pay more and get such a school. The State offers me no such option.

If I have no children, I must still pay for State schools via taxes. If my children have graduated, I must still pay for State schools via taxes. If I send my child to a private school or homeschool, I must still pay for State schools via taxes. Even if I have several children, the total cost of schooling over my life is less than 5% of my salary per year.

Schooling is one of the functions that the State does particularly badly. A State school is really a brainwashing center. With free market competition, the schools would be of much higher quality.

This calculation is very enlightening. If you think about it carefully, police and roadbuilding and schools should cost *MUCH* less than the extortionate price that the State monopoly charges me. In a free market, the prices would be lower and the quality would be better. If you include that, it's obvious that government parasites are stealing from me.

1 comment:

Joel Laramee said...

Fantastic post. I want everyone everywhere to read it.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at realfreemarket.org.