Taxes are bleeding people to death in this country.
50 years ago, taxes were a very small fraction of one's annual income, and one only had to work two weeks of the year in order to pay their annual tax bill. Today, 3 or 4 month's worth of your income goes to the government in the form of taxes.
Why is this? There are numerous causes, but the worst of these is crime. The relationship between crime and taxes is a chain reaction, which as of late appears to be approaching critical mass.
What started it was crime. The criminal activity caused direct economic damage, such as law enforcement and court costs, as well as the secondary damage of the cost of everything rising due to the victims of crime attempting to recover their losses. Shoplifting costs are a good example of this secondary damage.
This leads to increased taxes, to cover the costs of the law enforcement and court systems, and due to the reduction the economic tax base and the amount of real capital as a result of business failures due to crime, and high security costs and risks preventing the formation of a fair number of businesses which would otherwise be viable and contribute to the tax base.
This in turn leads to more crime. The damaged economy makes more people turn to crime who otherwise, in a healthy economy, would not. This leads to further economic damage and the higher taxes that result, and this leads to more crime. The more damaged the economy becomes, the more people turn to crime. The more crime there is, the worse the economy is damaged. The tax base is reduced to a mere shadow of it's real potential.
Vast areas of inner cities in large cities have become virtual wastelands due to crime. You would be a fool to open a convenience store in Harlem, given the current crime rate there. Conditions are so dangerous that pizza delivery services refuse to send their delivery drivers into these areas.
This self-amplifying closed loop has been amplifying itself for many decades now, causing some truly appalling conditions as a result.
What effect will the system have? What happens when shoplifting can be 99.9 percent prevented?
What will the prior shoplifting victims, the stores, do with that extra 14.1 billion dollars a year? The answer should be immediately obvious. Wal-Mart will start building new Wal-Mart stores left and right, and hiring new employees all across the country, There will be product price reductions in order to gain a competitive edge. The vast majority of the nearly 200 billion a year saved will be channeled directly back into the economy in similar business expansions nationwide.
A job shortage will develop shortly thereafter, and wages will skyrocket.
Past economic changes have shown that when there is a wage increase, the cost of everything else rises to compensate, and the wage increase quickly becomes meaningless in terms of changes in real income.
However, this is not the case in this scenario. There is no economic pressure to raise prices, because the extra 200 billion present in the economy as a result of the system easily covers the costs of the increased wages.
Also, an enormous and vast number of new small businesses will start up, which had not been feasible prior to the installation of the system because of high crime rates and high security costs. The combined positive economic impact of these ventures should not be underestimated, as it is likely to be capable of causing far more than an additional 200 billion in economic improvement in and of itself.
The end result is a vast increase in the size of the real tax base. Because of this, the two improvements described above can easily push over 400 billion in 'new money' into the economy, so long as the government recognizes the need to immediately reduce taxes.
Because of this increase in the size of the real tax base, (and considerably reduced law enforcement and court costs) the government will be in a position to reduce all taxes to half their present income percentage levels, and yet bring in twice as much tax income. This is the first step in the adjustment back to the initial state the economy was in where two week's worth of labor paid your annual taxes.
Realistically, had it not been for the vast cost of crime, you would be able to make a decent living by working only 20 hours a week. This is the effect that powered devices, automated processes, and the use of robotics displacing workers should have had upon the economy.
The economic improvement that will be seen here is quite capable of repairing the U.S. economy to this level of health. Although one would not get rich, one could easily live beyond the poverty level by working only 20 hours a week at a paid job.
There are currently numerous economic ailments, such as health care, which are now viewed as serious problems, but are only so because the economy is so damaged that it cannot sustain these otherwise minor loads. These problems are too numerous to list here, but their negative effect on the general economy is severely amplified when the economy is in such a damaged state, and these contribute further damage to the general economy in and of themselves. These would not have this negative effect if the economy was in good basic health. A horse can be overworked, and will pull an excess load or carry an excess weight that two horses are actually required for, but the result is always the death of the horse. Of course, if you have two horses, then you don't run into the problem...
This is because some of these people will end up being displaced small time criminals, and many of these people have few marketable job skills. Considering that the positive economic effects of the system are not immediate, a fair number of these people could well become so desperate at having their only known lifestyle instantly destroyed, that there would likely be a rash of severe and hideous crimes with the suicide of the perpetrator and vast and unfortunate damage to innocent people and to property being the result. There have been many of these lately as it is now without the system neing in operation, a desperate person having one last 'live it up' session on their way out after finding life too demanding and not rewarding enough, going out in a 'blaze of glory', and leaving many innocent victims raped and / or killed.
Further, without these measures being taken, the government themselves would likely be the favorite target of these activities, due to the hatred generated by the destruction of the criminal's only known lifestyle and income without a livable alternative being provided. The government cannot view the starting up of a huge number of new small businesses as a tax, licensing, and regulatory feeding frenzy, or it will defeat a very respectable part of the economic improvement, and likely instigate a large number of 'going out in a blaze of glory' and 'live it up' scenarios.
Actually, the vast majority of current criminals would have it far better under the operation of the system and the associated economic improvement.
They would no longer live in fear of themselves being a victim of crime. No one could ever steal their possessions, or successfully rise up against them, and in actuality there would be less effort expended by them in working part-time than there is in burglary and selling their stolen items, and serving the occasional stay in jail. Many of the economic and social barriers that prevented them from obtaining a legitimate and livable income would be removed. But many of these changes would not be immediate,
Most of these people would not have turned to crime to begin with, had it been possible for them to have an adequate and acceptable lifestyle via employment. If the economy had been healthier, and the government had not been bleeding them with taxes until nothing of any real enjoyable value was left, most of these people would never have turned to crime. A large number of these people come to the conclusion that because of these endless taxes and fees, and other barriers, they will never be able to attain the basic economic levels that the majority of other people seem to be able to have, and they become bitter and jaded, and decide to turn to crime instead.
Actually, many of these people have come to be shrewd businessmen, as it sometimes goes with the territory of dealing in stolen merchandise, and already have at least this necessary skill for starting their own legal enterprises, once the costs of these enterprises fall to the level where they can be realized.
Many criminals would not admit to it outright, but will privately acknowledge that they would find it preferable not to have to live their lives under the fear of getting caught, of losing their possessions, and of meeting their doom someday at the hands of other criminals.
There are those who commit what is normally termed crime, but is nothing more than a way of life. The anti crime system need not totally prevent these activities. The Harley-Davidson riders can still get drunk and beat each other senseless, but the bar owner will have to post a sign at the entrance to their establishment warning that you enter at their own risk, and you agree to participate in such activities as they might arise without any legal complaints about these activities.
But to return to economic issues, the almost non-existent crime rate in Japan may well explain their economic successes in the United States and in general. Japan's economy is an excellent reference for what lack of crime can do for the economy of the United States.
Copyright 1997, 1998, Robert J. Nelson.
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