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by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist

Imagine for a moment that by some strange quirk of realism or madness the government allowed us to pay our taxes to whatever qualified recipients we chose.

Such “qualified recipients” could include the sort of organisations that now receive tax-deductible donations, such as the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Universities, Schools, Smith Family, even The Centre for Independent Studies … there are thousands of them, organisations that are “non-profit” and are deemed, by the government, to be worthy recipients of donations and philanthropy.

So just imagine that we could choose whether we paid out our tax to the government, or to one or several of our preferred non-profits and charities. The amount of “tax” in this hypothetical exercise would be the same and must be paid, but the recipients could be of our choosing. And we could send it, or some of it, to the government if we so chose.

How much would the government get of peoples’ “taxes” if they could choose to direct it elsewhere? Would people think well enough of the government and the way they spend our taxes to continue to send the money to them? Or might they send it to some other favoured cause and charity?

If you, for example, had a $10,000 tax bill, how much, if any, would you send to Canberra for them to use and disperse? Some people may send something to Canberra just to keep the show on the road, but I suspect few would send it all to the Tax Consumption Capital of Australia. Most people, I suspect, would think that they can direct it in better directions to organisations who will make better use of it than the government seems to. Charities and “non-profits” are more accountable than are our governments, even though we “elect” them and like to think they work for us.

I would feel good giving my tax money to my favourite educational institutions. Others would like it to go to help the poor, or to private non-profit foreign aid organisations. The Nature Conservancy would be on some people’s list and others would direct it to medical research. Churches who do good work would receive some, no doubt, as would sporting and community groups.

The point of this little exercise in imaginary thinking — because it is not going to happen — is to make us think how much we trust our government and how much we like what they do with our money.

(in order of appearance on
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
  68. Neville Kennard in 1979 proposes new alliances to end penalty rates
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