It's been a while since I read this article, but it never grows old. It's so simple, and yet, has such far reaching social implications. WARNING: Some politically incorrect language is contained in this article.
The recognition of democracy as a machinery of popular wealth and income redistribution, then, in conjunction with one of the most fundamental principles in all of economics – that one will end up getting more of whatever it is that is being subsidized – provides the key to an understanding of the present age.
All redistribution, regardless of the criterion on which it is based, involves 'taking' from the original owners and/or producers (the 'havers' of something) and 'giving' to non-owners and non-producers (the 'non-havers' of something). The incentive to be an original owner or producer of the thing in question is reduced, and the incentive to be a non-owner and non-producer is raised. Accordingly, as a result of subsidizing individuals because they are poor, there will be more poverty. In subsidizing people because they are unemployed, more unemployment will be created. Supporting single mothers out of tax funds will lead to an increase in single motherhood, 'illegitimacy', and divorce. In outlawing child labor, income is transfered from families with children to childless persons (as a result of the legal restriction on the supply of labor, wage rates will rise). Accordingly, the birthrate will fall. On the other hand, by subsidizing the education of children, the opposite effect is created. Income is transfered from the childless and those with few children to those with many children. As a result the birthrate will increase. Yet then the value of children will again fall, and birthrates will decline as a result of the so-called Social Security System, for in subsidizing retirees (the old) out of taxes imposed on current income earners (the young), the institution of a family – the intergenerational bond between parents, grandparents, and children – is systematically weakened. The old need no longer rely on the assistance of their children if they have made no provision for their own old age, and the young (with typically less accumulated wealth) must support the old (with typically more accumulated wealth) rather than the other way around, as is typical within families. Parents' wish for children, and children's wish for parents will decline, family breakups and dysfunctional families will increase, and provisionary action – saving and capital formation – will fall, while consumption rises.
In subsidizing the malingerers, the neurotics, the careless, the alcoholics, the drug addicts, the Aids-infected, and the physically and mentally 'challenged' through insurance regulation and compulsory health insurance, there will be more illness, malingering, neuroticism, carelessness, alcoholism, drug addiction, Aids infection, and physical and mental retardation. By forcing non-criminals, including the victims of crime, to pay for the imprisonment of criminals (rather than making criminals compensate their victims and pay the full cost of their own apprehension and incarceration), crime will increase. By forcing businessmen, through 'affirmative action' ('non-discrimination') programs, to employ more women, homosexuals, blacks, or other 'minorities' than they would like to, there will be more employed minorities, and fewer employers and fewer male, heterosexual, and white employment. By compelling private land owners to subsidize ('protect') 'endangered species' residing on their land through environmental legislation, there will be more and better-off animals, and fewer and worse-off humans.
Most importantly, by compelling private property owners and/or market income earners (producers) to subsidize 'politicians', 'political parties', and 'civil servants' (politicians and government employees do not pay taxes but are paid out of taxes), there will be less wealth formation, fewer producers and less productivity, and ever more waste, 'parasites' and parasitism.
Businessmen (capitalists) and their employees cannot earn an income unless they produce goods or services which are sold in markets. The buyers' purchases are voluntary. By buying a good or service, the buyers (consumers) demonstrate that they prefer this good or service over the sum of money that they must surrender in order to acquire it. In contrast, politicians, parties, and civil servants produce nothing which is sold in markets. No one buys government 'goods' or 'services'. They are produced, and costs are incurred to produce them, but they are not sold and bought. On the one hand, this implies that it is impossible to determine their value and find out whether or not this value justifies their costs. Because no one buys them, no one actually demonstrates that he considers government goods and services worth their costs, and indeed, whether or not anyone attaches any value to them at all. From the viewpoint of economic theory, it is thus entirely illegitimate to assume, as is always done in national income accounting, that government goods and services are worth what it costs to produce them, and then to simply add this value to that of the 'normal', privately produced (bought and sold) goods and services to arrive at gross domestic (or national) product, for instance. It might as well be assumed that government goods and services are worth nothing, or even that they are not "goods" at all but "bads"; hence, that the cost of politicians and the entire civil service should be subtracted from the total value of privately produced goods and services. Indeed, to assume this would be far more justified. For on the other hand, as to its practical implications, the subsidizing of politicians and civil servants amounts to a subsidy to 'produce' with little or no regard for the well-being of one's alleged consumers, and with much or sole regard instead for the well-being of the 'producers', i.e., the politicians and civil servants. Their salaries remain the same, whether their output satisfies consumers or not. Accordingly, as a result of the expansion of 'public' sector employment, there will be increasing laziness, carelessness, incompeence, disservice, maltreatment, waste, and even destruction – and at the same time ever more arrogance, demagogery, and lies ('we work for the public good').