Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Guest Post: "Skip Alston made his argument last Thursday for a tax increase based upon the following notional arguments:", by W.E. Heasley

(a) the rational voter (“voters will” regarding passing the bonds),

(b) that voters knew in advance that a 8 cent property tax increase would be required to fund such bonds (rational voter again),

(c) that bond voters and taxpayers are one in the same (a fallacy as some voters are not tax payers, some voters are now dead, some voters moved away, etc.),

(d) That no one likes a tax increase including Skip Alston. That is a fallacy as well. Milton Friedman disproved Skip’s proposition long ago and summed it up as: “Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?” Stated alternatively, in Mr. Alston's particular situation, he weighed his own economic self-interest against his own political self-interest and found the tax increase more to his self-interest (his political self-interest ahead of his economic self-interest and his political self-interest ahead of your economic self-interest),

(e) Skip Alston then made the argument that the employees of the county are experiencing gasoline price increases, grocery cost increases, etc. and they need income too. That removal of their 401k plan contributions would create worker apathy. That is, your money is not your money as it’s the state’s money first as the tax increase is necessary to pay the state’s costs. Stated alternatively, the needs of the state and those that work for the state are greater than the taxpayers needs,

(f) Skip Alston also made an incremental tax argument, which is a redirection argument. He stated the tax increase was only $45 on a $100,000 home. The real argument is the current $1500 the taxpayer is already paying not the additional $45.

Hence there are six basic flaws to his argument. Six gaping holes as they were.

Bryan Caplan of George Mason University wrote a book (based on empirical evidence) in 2007 upsetting the long held view of “the rational voter”. The book’s title is The Myth of the Rational Voter. An essay prior to the books release appears below. You might find the essay enlightening.


Would doubt seriously if Skip based his point (a) above on the concept of the rational voter. He based his argument more on the notional argument of “voter will” which has no empirical underpinning [merely a politico slogan].

If one took Alston's position [bonds and hence tax increases] of the rational voter and “voter will” [which are fallacious and notional], then one would then have to point to three straight tax increase defeats as the rational voter and “voter will” as well. If Skip increases taxes to notionally satisfy his view of a particular political constituency, what satisfies the other particular political constituency that voted “no” to three straight tax increases? Hence Alston, and the six other Frenchmen/women on the French Commission aka County Commissioners merely picked winners and losers.

W.E. Heasley

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