Romancing the state vs. a bake sale for AIG

Conor Clarke writes,

Decisions about what will make our community better should be made communally -- by pooling revenue and making collective decisions about where and how it should be spent.

Let me fix that sentence.  It should read, "At the margin, even more decisions about what will make our community better should be made by Congressmen, and fewer decisions should be made by other members of the community."

To me, the institutions of the state do not represent a communal way to make collective decisions.  They are institutions that over time have evolved to give enormous concentration of power to a remarkably small group of individuals, who rarely exercise that power in a way that represents my preferences.  If it were up to me, the charitable deduction would be 100 percent for everyone.  That way, if anybody wanted to spend money bailing out AIG, they would have to hold a bake sale.


Presented by

Arnold Kling

Arnold Kling earned his Ph.D in economics at MIT. He was an economist on the staff of the Federal Reserve Board. From 1986-1994 he worked at Freddie Mac. He started Homefair.com in 1994 and sold it in 1999. His fourth book, From Poverty to Prosperity, co-authored with Nick Schulz, is due out in April of 2009. He blogs regularly at Econlog.

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