Debate Magazine

Shiney's Tiers of Government.

Posted on the 20 September 2021 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

I like Shiney's way of categorising things, posted in the comments here: Isn't this about degree. Govt provides:
Tier 1 - A standing army, police and certainty of contract (rule of law, property rights, justice, whatever)... basically to stop the bad guys, whether domestic or forrin', taking yer stuff.

Tier 2 - #1 plus basic infrastructure like roads, a power grid, sewerage, rubbish collection to 'grease the economic wheels'.

Tier 3 - #1 #2 plus some 'services' as payer/insurer - such as basic education and basic health service, a fire brigade.
Beyond #3 we get into increasing levels of nutty socialism via coercive taxation to the point where the government thinks it can tell me how much fruit to eat, whether I can have me mates around for a barbie, what pronoun I ought to use and how high up the privilege scale I am.... me I get about -500 points being white, male, straight, English, over 50 and from the West Country.
Trouble is... we are where we are... at about level #25 on 'Shiney's measure of nutty socialism' scale.
Back to the original point about NI.... MW is right - roll all the taxes into a flat tax and tell the proles how much all the stuff beyond #3 is actually costing them then see where we get to. And I'd wager that there'd be a lot less nutty stuff than there is now.

When you are debating what the government 'should' do, you can either apply some basic principles - but which principles? - or just ask on a case-by-case basis, are we, all of us as a society, better off if they do it (i.e. do we end up with more of the stuff we want, steady incomes, goods, services, clean air, low crime, all round 'freedom' etc), always asking whether the private sector is helped or hindered?
Everybody will have their own list.
Personally, I would put fire brigade into #2 - it's not really there for the benefit of the mug whose house catches fire, it's there for the benefit of his immediate neighbours. It's the same with rubbish collection. Responsible people would happily pay on an individual basis to have it taken away. Public refuse collection is for the benefit of the neighbours of the inconsiderate arseholes who would just let it pile high, rot and attract vermin. It's easier for the council just to collect it and then to try and force everybody to pay individually to whichever business.
Also, if the council gets one contractor in to do everybody, there are economies of scale and better bargaining power for residents. It's low-cost compulsory mass insurance which directly adds to land values, so is an ideal candidate for being funded out of LVT.

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