Sunday, January 21, 2018

MUST READ: An Open Letter to Congressional Leaders

21 January 2018

Rep. Paul Ryan, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Charles Schumer
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

Congressional Leaders:

The theory (one to which you undoubtedly subscribe) is that the United States government bestows real and vital benefits upon us Americans in exchange for the taxes that we pay; that is, that taxes are the prices we citizens pay for services rendered by our government.  If this theory is correct, the current closure of much of the U.S. government denies to us many of these services and their accompanying benefits.

Will you, therefore, reduce our tax bills accordingly?  After all, why should we pay for services and goods that we do not receive?  I’m not obliged to pay my physician for services that she withholds from me.  Likewise, I’m not obliged to pay for a restaurant meal that is never served to me.  Ditto for services not rendered to me by my dry cleaner, not rendered to me by my appliance repairman, not rendered to me by my auto mechanic, and not rendered to me by any of the many other individuals and firms who refuse, for whatever reason, to serve me in exchange for what I would otherwise pay them.  Furthermore, if any of these merchants nevertheless attempted to forcibly extract from me payment for services not rendered, he or she would be rightly regarded as a common criminal and imprisoned.

Especially because you are, as they say, “public servants,” you of all people don’t wish to behave as common criminals.  I therefore request – actually, demand – that you adjust my and every other taxpayer’s tax bill downward so that we are not charged for services not rendered.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

The above originally appeared at Cafe Hayek.

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