by John David Garcia
January 22, 1992
In the December, 1991 issue of Counterpoint there is an intriguing article, Exploring Tax Remedies, on how to reform our tax system into a more equitable and simpler entity. The idea is to replace all current taxes in Oregon by a simple transaction tax of 1% on all purchases, levied on the purchaser. It can easily be shown that if all transactions were so taxed it would raise more taxes, for Oregon, than are currently collected by all other means. It is also a less painful tax for most persons, and harder to avoid in most situations.
This seems like a much better and fairer alternative than the current plethora of unjust taxes. However, the joker lies in how this would apply to businesses. This system, proposed by the Direct Legislation League (DLL) of Oregon, would greatly lower taxes for most people. Only the very rich, the self-employed, and businesses might be forced to pay more taxes.
Currently, businesses pay income taxes only on their net profits. These taxes are often much less than 1% of the cumulative sum of all their purchases. Therefore, the taxes on some businesses would be increased by this system. Since businesses do not truly pay taxes, but merely pass on all their expenses, including taxes, to their customers, this problem could be easily solved by simply excluding all businesses from this tax and just taxing the owners and employees of the business, when they spent the earnings that they took out of the business. Employee and owner fringe benefits would also have to be taxed at 1%. Individuals would, of course, also be taxed 1% when they bought shares or equity in any business.
With these, and a few more, slight modifications the DLL tax system would be an enormous stimulus to business, create many jobs, induce saving, and discourage frivolous consumer spending, among other beneficial side effects. The main reason we have the current inequitable tax system is that a majority of the electorate is fooled and manipulated by demagogues, who use the electorate's hatred of the rich and business to impose a tax system that mainly, not entirely, benefits the rich as well as businesses in general, and big business in particular. Many of the same demagogues would oppose the DLL system. I would, personally, prefer the DLL system to the current tax mess. However, tax reform is the right solution to the wrong problem.
An inequitable tax system is a symptom of a much deeper and more difficult problem. The reason that we are currently rapidly declining economically, educationally, ethically, and creatively as a society is not so much because of the inequity of our tax system as due to the fact that, as a society, we have been extorting ever more wealth from ever fewer creative producers and redistributing it to ever more parasitical consumers, for at least two generations. No matter how we reform the tax system, this problem will continue to grow worse, unless we have a much more radical social, political, and fiscal reform than the DLL tax system.
In 1933 the United States was facing a disastrous depression, due entirely to the fact that the Federal Reserve Board had cut the money supply by almost 70% during the previous three years. This has been shown by Milton Friedman to be a failure of Government, which has a virtual monopoly on the money supply, not a failure of business or capitalism. However, in desperation the American people elected, and continued to elect politicians who would promise, for the first time in American history, that the U.S. Government would become a major engine for redistributing the wealth of the nation through tax and spend policies. This was further exacerbated by World War II and the Cold War. Political corruption now became ubiquitous.
Today it is generally accepted, by electoral majorities in all democratic nations, that the redistribution of wealth is a legitimate function of government. Parties, such as the Libertarian Party, who advocate getting government out of our lives as much as possible, have virtually no chance of gaining public office at any level, no matter how attractive and gifted their candidates or reasonable their proposals. Majorities in many electorates are now corrupt.
As soon as Government institutes new methods for people to live parasitically off of other people's labor, they spawn new classes of parasites whose major objective is to control all the institutions that redistribute the wealth of the people who create the wealth. This class includes, as its least virulent, but most maligned, parasites, welfare recipients and those who administer the welfare distribution while receiving secure, handsome salaries.
The most virulent and destructive parasites are the politicians and bureaucrats who redistribute the wealth of the creative people of the nation in the form of Government contracts, subsidies, tax credits, Government protected monopolies or near monopolies, which include Organized Labor as well as Organized Crime, and in other ways to the better educated and/or richer parasites. Bureaucracy is the welfare system of the middle class.
A human parasite is any person who has reached a point in life where he or she will consume more wealth during the rest of his or her life than he or she will produce.
A general theorem is that, any problem that the Government claims it can solve by confiscating and then spending the wealth of creative people, will be exacerbated in direct proportion to how much and how long the Government spends in its alleged attempts to solve the problem.
This theorem is most obviously demonstrated by the now five and more generations of welfare dependents, a malignant educational bureaucracy that destroys the creativity of its students, and the many monopolistic industries and unions that can no longer compete on the world stage.
Creativity is the process by which we discover scientific laws, invent machines, produce works of art and help others do the same. More formally, Creativity is anything that increases truth for at least one person without decreasing it for any person. Truth is any information, that, when we believe it, increases our ability to predict and control in the objective world. Falsehood is information that, when we believe it, decreases our ability to predict and control in the objective world. Destructiveness is anything that decreases anyone's creativity. Creative persons are driven primarily, not by the desire for wealth or power, but by the need and the desire to be creative. Parasites are driven primarily by the need and the desire to accumulate the power and the wealth that is produced by creative people. All wealth and power stem from creativity.
Wealth is anything that can be accumulated and exchanged for the products of creative labor. Creative labor is any labor that produces any goods or services that can in any way be used to enhance anyone's creativity. Only creative persons can produce creative labor.
Wealth can be accumulated in the form of (1) defendable and controllable natural or manufactured resources, including knowledge, (2) commitments by creative persons to labor on one's behalf, or (3) money. Money is a symbolic representation of alleged units of creative labor which has value only insofar as persons are willing to exchange creative labor or resources for the money. The key to wealth, therefore, is not money but creative labor. Resources are of little or no value in themselves unless they are used to fuel creative labor. Resources without creative labor may have even less value than petroleum has without pumps, fire or heat engines.
Uncreative persons are, by definition, parasites. The cost in wealth of interacting with parasites is always greater than any profit in wealth that one might obtain from the interaction. In other words, parasites, even when they are capable of creative labor, will by definition produce more destructive acts than creative acts, so that they will decrease the wealth of anyone with whom they freely interact. Parasites can only accumulate wealth by exploiting and in some way forcefully taking it away from creative persons. To exploit persons is to interact with them in such a way that we decrease their wealth. When two creative persons interact they both end up with more wealth than when they began, even if this wealth is entirely in the form of knowledge and it is unevenly distributed.
The fact that all wealth comes from creativity is shown by our cultural and anthropological history. The human species is continuously depleting its readily available resources and being forced to create new technologies to utilize the resources that remain. We have increased our obvious material wealth over the centuries solely through creativity. First our hunting-gathering ancestors depleted the readily available food supply. Then our ancestors developed group hunting and other technologies to compensate for this but depleted all the big game. Then they developed the spear thrower but depleted smaller, fleeter animals. Then they developed the bow and arrow but depleted the most wily game of all. Then they developed herding technologies but depleted the natural pastures. Then they developed agriculture but depleted the soil. This forced them to invent ever newer agricultural technologies, from fertilizers and plows to irrigation and food processing technologies, to use the resources that were left. These technologies led to such an enormous increase in the numbers of humans that soon there was not enough land for everyone, or so it was perceived. This led to constant warfare, putting highest priority on military efficacy and strong, centralized governments, leading ultimately to nation states.
Humanity has been in constant warfare for thousands of years, and even today, over territorial rights. Each culture survives only by constantly (1) innovating or borrowing innovations to squeeze new livelihoods out of the remaining resources and (2) defending itself from the more predatory governments who want their territory and/or wish to control their people. This process has now brought us to the modern nation state, which exists and justifies its massive bureaucratic structure by the greater military efficacy due to large, centralized economies of scale. However, the same process that gives us initial military superiority, eventually produces a massive parasitical bureaucracy which collapses economically, as it destroys the creativity of its people by nurturing ever more bureaucratic, political, legal, & economic parasites.
Farmers, artisans, technologists, scientists, artists, cooks, gardeners, carpenters, mechanics, miners and other such persons are the creative base of any society. They create by producing the goods and services which increase truth for all of us. They can survive in the open market and do not need to live off the wealth extorted from the taxpayers. In fact, they produce all of this wealth. However, we now have a social structure which concentrates wealth and power, primarily in the form of money, in the hands of the most parasitical members of society.
How many of our presidential candidates, congressmen, senators, judges, governors, multi-millionaires, lawyers, bureaucrats, and other persons with positions of wealth and power in our society have ever produced a significant work of art, invented anything, built anything, improved anything, grew a crop, discovered a scientific law, helped others do the same, or, in fact, been in any way creative? The answer is very few in the last sixty years; and this percentage is constantly diminishing, as parasitism proliferates among the electorate and their leaders.
Although not all lawyers may be parasites, particularly if they do not practice law, they are our most obvious parasitical class. Lawyers have tripled in number (200% increase) in the last thirty years while the population has increased by less than 30%. (This is a leading indicator of a tenfold increase in the parasitical load on the American people.) George Will has pointed out that lawyers are a grossly inflated, self-catalyzing parasitical class that decreases the quality of life for everybody while providing creative goods or services for nobody. It is as if doctors went around injecting diseases for other doctors to cure.
In general, the millions of new parasites we engender through our tax dollars every year are akin to the mythical vampire. They live off of creative hosts by draining their wealth and in the process transform the hosts into new vampires devoid of creativity who in turn make still more creative people into parasitical vampires until the society collapses as has already happened in the Soviet Union and is currently happening to us for exactly the same reasons.
We have not learned our lesson from the collapse of Communism. While the ex-communists are desperately trying to get rid of socialism, our leaders justify ever more tyrannical socialism by convincing a majority of the electorate that they will be given more parasitical opportunities than will be taken; political control is ever easier, once parasites begin to proliferate.
Our entire social, political, and economic structure has been transformed, in the last sixty years, to nurture parasites by exploiting the most creative members of society and redistributing their wealth to the most parasitical members of society. It is suicidal to continue to nurture parasites. It seems that this process can be stopped, only if creative people band together, learn to be self-sufficient, and refuse to continue nurturing parasites.
Self-sufficiency is extremely important, because so long as we are a part of the larger economy we cannot avoid nurturing parasites . Every time we attend or send our children to the educational bureaucracy we strengthen that system and contribute to the destruction of the creativity of others and our own. Yet the educational bureaucracy has the knowledge we need to create an independent educational alternative, such as has been presented in my books.
Farming communities are the closest approximation we have to self-sufficiency. Farmers value their independence so much that they are willing to take great risks and work extremely hard for very little money in order to maintain it. And yet they are failing by the thousands. They are failing because their priorities are wrong. The most important self-sufficiency to achieve first is not in housing or food, but in education. It is our ignorance that makes us poor.
The creation of independent educational alternatives requires a critical mass of creative talent plus a certain minimum of material resources. The process for bringing this about is given in my books. This process automatically links us to the creative talent necessary to create non-bureaucratic schools that maximize the creativity of their students rather than destroying it. It also opens new economic opportunities which automatically provide the resources necessary for the schools. These resources autonomize us from the current, highly destructive, educational and economic system. In order to succeed we need only have the courage (1) to take these opportunities as they are presented and (2) to stop nurturing parasites.
It may be too late to reform the political system in the United States, so that it is no longer ever more oriented toward nurturing ever more parasites, although we should never stop trying. However, there is still barely enough freedom for us to liberate ourselves educationally and economically before the system collapses, just as it did in the Soviet Union, which collapsed from parasitical overload as we are now doing, except that being much more tyrannical, destructive, and socialistic than we ever were, the Soviets collapsed at three times our rate.
The School of Experimental Ecology, at no charge to its students, teaches techniques and processes for becoming maximally creative while achieving educational and economic independence, as well as a higher standard of living. Anyone who wishes to learn from us is welcome. We have learned that whatever we do to increase anyone's creativity while refusing to nurture parasites is in the best long-term interests of everybody, including ourselves. It is an optimal long-term investment, that maximizes our own creativity. We in turn support ourselves entirely from our own creativity. That is why we do not charge for our services. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be a lesson that can be learned by current governments at any level, since all current governments seem devoid of creativity. Governments seem to always want more power over individuals; they almost never give up the power they have already achieved, until they collapse economically and/or by revolution.
© John David Garcia, 1992, All rights Reserved.