Government carries out theft through taxes. It carries out bribery through spending (or wealth redistribution). The bribe recipient is expected to support the government, government taxation and government spending. The spending is expected to influence votes of bribees, garner favorable publicity from recipients and others, and increase campaign contributions of recipients.
To bribe is to “persuade (someone) to act in one’s favor, typically illegally or dishonestly, by a gift of money or other inducement.” This persuasion is precisely what government spending does, among other things. The aimed-at-action in government’s favor includes legitimizing the government, supporting it, voting for particular candidates, and all other ways of otherwise acting on behalf of the government or particular persons in it.
Bribes are offered openly by legislators in office and candidates for office, but their true purposes, their quid pro quos, are concealed beneath the rhetoric of noble causes. Every spending proposal is a bribe, but bribers claim that their spending is urgent, necessary, a gain to society and above all doing good in multiple ways. Government bribery is always sold by the bribers as beneficent, problem-solving and bringing us one step closer to any number of ideals deemed to be all but holy.
Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez provide a timely example of bribery. They propose that the government steal and spend $180 billion over the next 10 years: “The Green New Deal for Public Housing Act would commit up to $180 billion over 10 years to upgrading 1.2 million federally owned homes.” It is not difficult to track down who the main recipients of this huge bribe will be.
Similarly, one can find out who is being bribed with funds earmarked for nuclear weapons. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “The U.S. will need to spend $1.2 trillion over the next 30 years to modernize and maintain its nuclear weapons, according to a new government estimate.” That’s $400 billion per 10-year period, which is more than double the Sanders-AOC plan, but of course they and other legislators have many other plans for the funds they plan to steal.
Government spending is driven, not by noble or even worthy causes, but simply by symbiotic relations between the bribers and taxers in Congress and the recipients, the bribees. The U.S. government theft estimated via tax revenues is estimated at $3.3 trillion in fiscal year 2018. The bribery through spending is estimated at $4.11 trillion. The latter, which is spending, is a better estimate of the total theft because it includes debt that can only be repaid by taxes or repudiated.
The government determines the composition of its theft (taxes) and bribes (spending). That is a complex political process to which the bribers and bribees pay great attention, not least because the outcomes have huge money implications. In the libertarian analysis, these outcomes of the political process have no known favorable impact on such constitutionally-stated goals as “a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…” Indeed, the opposite is the case. In other words, these goals would be better achieved without the Constitution than with it. The Constitution is a blueprint for the twin evils of government theft and government bribery: taxation and spending.
Government should be condemned, not celebrated; shrunk and not expanded, destroyed and not spread.2:23 pm on November 18, 2019 Email Michael S. Rozeff