The pay of state politicians in America is low

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George Stigler’s theory of economic regulation

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Must everything be a crisis

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Bruce Yandle on interest group capture of regulatory agencies

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Groucho Marx on evidence-based policy

HT: https://twitter.com/aClassicLiberal/status/526829565482893314?s=09

The public choice economics of Winston Churchill

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Paul Heyne on good government

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Richard Posner on the drivers of interest group capture of regulatory agencies

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Modern democracy: the power to replace governments at periodic elections

Citizens do have sufficient knowledge and sophistication to vote out leaders who are performing poorly or contrary to their wishes. Modern democracy is government subject to electoral checks.

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The power of the electorate to turn elected officials out of office at the next election gives elected officials an incentive to adopt policies that do not outrage public opinion and administer the policies with some minimum honesty and competence.

A representative democracy enables the adult population, at very little cost in time, money or distraction from private pursuits commercial or otherwise:

  1. to punish at least the flagrant mistakes and misfeasance of officialdom,

  2. to assure an orderly succession of at least minimally competent officials,

  3. to generate feedback to the officials concerning the consequences of their policies,

  4. to prevent officials from (or punish them for) entirely ignoring the interests of the governed, and

  5. to prevent serious misalignments between government action and public opinion.

Enough of politics and elections, I have a life to lead, don’t you? Too many want to remake democracy with the faculty workshop as their model.

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Such deliberation has demanding requirements for popular participation in the democratic process, including a high level of knowledge and analytical sophistication and an absence, or at least severe curtailment, of self-interested motives.

More on More Efficient Tax Systems Leading to Bigger Government

…in Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government (NBER Working Paper Number No. 6789) , [Gary Becker and Casey Mulligan] conclude that flatter and broader taxes also tend to encourage bigger government because taxpayers offer less resistance to increases in flat tax rates than in rates of more onerous and less efficient forms of taxation.

Any decline in the resistance of taxpayers leads to larger government budgets since an endless number of groups agitate for greater government support.

Flat tax rates, such as the VAT and Social Security taxes on earnings, usually start at very low levels but invariably increase over time.

The VAT is now 20 percent and higher in some countries. And payroll taxes began at a modest 2 percent in the 1930s in the United States, but have been increased 21 times to the present 15 percent combined rate on employees and employers.

via More Efficient Tax Systems Lead to Bigger Government.

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