Our income tax system gives each of us a stake in the work of others – the more money others make, the more we each get via taxes. In principle we could use this fact to justify a great deal of intervention in everyone’s work lives. For example, one might argue: why should we let folks choose fulfilling but poorly paid jobs like social worker, veterinarian, or forestry agent, if they are capable of becoming an lawyer, doctor, or engineer? Or why should we let folks work part time to focus on a music or acting hobby, or choose to live anywhere but the city where their skills are worth the most?
I don't get your medical cost analysis. I'm guessing you are saying that the fixed costs of funding a cure for a disease are much higher than the marginal benefit to any one customer. But in a market society people do invest in such assets, one group of people build something and then charge everyone else who wants to use it a fee - eg how many of the people who visit Disneyland would pay for the entire park to be built?
Is it really a matter of status? I've encountered situations where the neighbours had no respect for my need to sleep, and I am not unique. I mostly eat good food because I don't buy the other sort and can cook. This has been true throughout my adult life.
How good is the food and respect for need to sleep in the military? How about when it was a conscription military? I think it's a matter of how easily you can switch to other options, not how low or high status you are.
Veterinarians are far from poorly paid. In the small town i grew up in, veterinarians were some of the wealthiest residents.
"Median annual wages of veterinarians were $79,050 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $61,370 and $104,110. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $46,610, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $143,660."
from the BLS website
Because we are incapable of doing it? You need capability AND happiness for productivity, if you have a truly efficient planner for most people it won't feel "forced" it would feel like this perfect advice giver. In the rare cases where a person is being irrational and being "forced" they will soon be happy and find out the planner after all "knew better".
Now this impractical to say the least.
Now the other "forced" things is practical and effective, thus the vast majority approves and find benefit of the social benefit.
See that 16 years of schooling and I cannot write a coherent sentence. My grandparents on the other hand operated well on 1 year of schooling.
I think you inadvertently provided us with evidence to disprove your argument.
Subsidizing education for the masses, however, brings substantial benefits to everyone.
First schooling and education are not equal. There is little evidence that schooling for the masses, brings significant benefits to everyone. Even less for school beyond a 3 years. Almost all the gains do to schooling are do the signal value.
Certainly we can all agree that at some point more spending on schooling will yield less benefit than cost. To be concrete perhaps we should all give a number of years and amount of spending that we each think is optimal else we cannot have an edifying debate.
I will go first: I would guess that we would be close to optimal at 3 years of schooling per person and spending about $5,000/year per student.
I think we are asking the wrong questions when it comes to schooling and education.
consider the usual treatment (low quality food, lack of respect for their need to sleep) people get in hospitals
I could not agree more.
Alan Fiske's Relational models explain all this well. People have an inbuilt intuition that Health is an issue based on Communal Sharing, and should not be subject to the market, which is based on a different type of relationship, Equality Matching.
Politics is such a mess because people are trying to mix types of relationship which shouldn't be mixed. The solution is simple, go through every issue on a case-by-case basis and carefully weigh up evidence until you've firmly decided which type of relationship the issue in question falls under. Then apply only that type of relationship to the domain in question - either 100% Socialism (e.g health, environment), 100% Libertarianism (e.g., basic consumer goods) or 100% Authoritarianism (e.g law and order, defence). Don't mix these three!
Income Tax is a big mistake, there is no need for it. Income taxes should be abolished. The Georgists had the answer: all natural resources should be taken off the market, put under pure (100%) democratic control and rented only rather than owned outright. This would amount to an extended version of Land Value Tax (LVT), which is the only correct way for the government to raise revenues. It is far more efficient than income tax, since there is no drag on innovation, and it doesn't take from other peoples work. Embyronic forms of Georgist ideas work very well in places such as Alaska and Hong Kong - it is very promising, do the research:
You can be sure that a super-intelligence (SAI) would put an immediate stop to the insanity that is the current politics. Income Tax will be abolished at once, issues matched to their correct type of governance and kept sharply separated. No 'mixed economy' nonsense allowed!
Considering how important sleep is for recovery, that seems remarkably counterproductive...
Most people don't assume that everyone makes optimal decisions. Health decisions may tend to be less optimal than income decisions because they tend to have more distant benefits, produce less regular feedback, and require more specialized knowledge, and it seems pretty obvious that better health is good for someone so other people can judge "improvement." And if you look at specific examples where government health interventions are supported because they raise tax revenue, I'll bet you see the supporters also claiming that the interventions benefit the people that they influence. Do you have any specific cases in mind where this doesn't hold?
With education, I'm having trouble thinking of any examples that involve forcing (rather than subsidies or government spending) besides mandatory schooling for children, which can be defended on straightforward paternalistic grounds and which typically overrules parents' choices for their children (rather than the children's choices for themselves).
Funny enough, the KKK was one of the early boosters of compulsory education combined with separation of church & state. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, who was influential in promoting such concepts, was a Klansman. This doesn't of course prove that any of it was bad.
I thought it might clutter up things too much here to talk about the productivity issue, your UR puzzle as well as market-failures in healthcare/education. So I made a post at my blog where I invite you (and others interested) to respond.
As Bryan Caplan & Robin Hanson have noted, even economists drop economic reasoning for some topics.
One important purpose of compulsory education is to pass on shared values to children of parents who don't share some of those values (immigrants, religious fanatics, KKK members, etc.)...
People are most productive in jobs that they enjoy doing. Their productivity suffers when they are forced to do jobs they dislike. The best business managers understand this.