Tax Breaks are not Subsidies

According to the Chronicle, if a robber takes only half of your possessions, he has given you the other half of what you own. Admittedly, the paper didn’t put it in those words, but that is the meaning of what they did print.

Amazon is building warehouses across the United States to develop its own delivery infrastructure to guarantee next-day delivery.

So why have state and local governments given Amazon $241 million to build facilities that they couldn’t build anywhere else? Why did Houston give $7 million for a warehouse that had to be here anyway?

According to this theory, allowing Amazon to keep more of the money it earns is the same as giving it money. According to this theory, all property belongs to the government, and any that it allows us to keep is a gift.

Interestingly, the writer claims that

This is not a liberal position, by the way, but a conservative one. Conservatives believe that government should not interfere in the private market place, or pick winners and losers.

Giving a tax break is not interfering in the private market place. Giving a tax break is less interference in the market.

Also, these tax breaks are not free. When local governments cut taxes on a few companies, they are making every other company pay more. If local officials have too much money on their hands, they should cut taxes on all businesses, not just a few.

According to this theory, if a thief takes only half of my possessions, he must make up the difference by robbing someone else. I do agree, however, that local officials (as well as state and federal) should cut taxes on all businesses. And they could easily do that if city government was limited to its proper purpose–the protection of individual rights.

If the city quit providing parks, libraries, housing, roads, sanitation, and water, and allowed private businesses to provide these services, taxes could be slashed. If the police did not have to enforce laws against consensual activities, such as drug use, gambling, and prostitution, their budget could be cut and they could spend their time on real crimes.

Uber does a better job than Houston’s taxi monopolies. UPS and FedEx do a better job than the post office. Private schools do a better job than government schools. Private companies can, and do, provide the services that we want and need. For examples, see my book Individual Rights and Government Wrongs. You can download Introduction for free by clicking here.

Houston is a great city. It can be even greater. Let the Renaissance begin.

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