Wednesday, June 17, 2009
If the government is directly spending above (25%) of GNP it shall be forbidden to increase the budget spending of any department of government beyond 50% of any inflationary increase. Hypothecated charges raised from specific duties & allocated to specific organisations not forming a formal part of government shall, if they & formal government spending exceed (30%) be limited in the same way.The chosen percentages are put in brackets & are, in my opinion & apparently in the public's opinion too, somewhat high. On the other hand they are about 50% of current government spending. The current hypothecation I can think of is the BBC licence fee. In theory National Insurance should be the same but it is administered as a purely government tax not on independent actuarial terms. Historically such things as tithings for an established Church would count this way. I can see a very good case for National Insurance to actually be run this way or for the health service to be funded from, for example if 1/3rd of income tax & 1/3rd of excise duties were legally committed to the Health Service it would stop such spending being a political football. Or 40% of fuel duty, £10 bn, could be hypothecated to an X-Prize Foundation independent of government.
In a declared national emergency this limitation may be suspended by a 75% vote of Congress, which must be repeated annually until it lapses.
Where UK government money comes from
Where UK government money goes
If we did sell the airwaves, then maybe the US could have internet service like Japan without the need to lay millions of miles of optical fiber to each customers house.
That, and if we did sell the airwaves, then the networks would be out of business.
It does seem to be a limited good that needs to be regulated, for which the price mechanism looks the best means & for the profits of which nobody has a better claim than the nation as a whole.
If the spectrum were sold off, either it or its profits could be taxed.
If the broadcasters make a profit, as they surely will, they pay taxes on it anyway.
On the other hand the difference between owning something but having to pay a set amount of tax on it & the government owning it but having to lease it to you for a set amount is not that great. The latter is Land Value Tax which I rather approve of (since the amount of land is fixed taxing it is not a disincentive to production as most taxes are.
Around the end of WW2 the federal bureaucracy began issuing licenses to the first businesses that would operate television. In all likelihood these businessmen were all Democrats, like the administration and Congress of the era. The first generation to be raised in the glow of TV was also the one that began squandering the inheritance they had received from their parents, and I think the tube is partly to blame.
Having the airwaves in private hands may entail some economic inefficiency, but having the networks campaign for the Left in every election and having them work to reshape society in the image of either the Soviet Union or Gommorah convinces me the cost of public ownership is greater than its private alternative.
The two articles above exemplify what I am talking about. FDR proposed national healthcare back during the Depression but wasn't able to get it at the time. Since FDR's failure the Democrats have worked to get such a plan in place one piece at a time, starting with funding for county hospitals, then care in rural areas, then care for the poor, and then finally care for all seniors. In each vote the Democrats either split off a few Repubs or use their majority to pass the legislation. Amazingly, the Repubs get defeated and then claim their new position as the conservative one, losing sight of the old one.
This "free" healthcare has also been used a a way to import as many Democratic voters as possible, by giving them care near the border that they can't afford in their own country.
Now the Dems are on the verge of closing the deal, the media they built is working for its original purpose.
My understanding is that many businesses in the US (possibly the UK too) donate money to both parties. It is difficult to believe this is because of an idealistic belief in the policies of both.