Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greece's problem, Italy's problem, and ours, too.

It's called Hauser's Law, according to the Wall Street Journal, and more or less it points out that when government attempts to take more than Joseph's 20% tax (Genesis 41:34), people find ways around that tax.

This explains why so much of the economy is in the black market in places like Italy and Greece, and it has a parallel in the United States with estimated tax evasion of about three hundred billion dollars; there is a limit to how much taxation citizens will endure, and when government attempts to go beyond that level, they succeed only in pushing their citizens out of the legitimate economy--impoverishing the people and actually cutting tax revenues.

The WSJ article suggests that it's merely an empirical law; I would suggest, rather, that Scripture subtly but firmly points out (see Genesis 41, 2 Chronicles 10) that there are limits to what level of taxation government can extract without causing disaster. It is, perhaps, God's Laffer Curve.

H/T Anti-Strib.


pentamom said...

I don't see a distinction between an empirical law and a biblical principle in a world that God created. Something that is "merely" empirical is still 100% God-designed -- there's a lot inside that "mereness."

Bike Bubba said...

Simply the source of the idea; is it a look at overall revenues as a % of GDP from historical data, or is it inferred from the pages of Scripture?

One can refute the former, the latter, if a valid inference, not so much.

pentamom said...

Yes, but if it really IS empirical, instead of fallaciously empirical, you can't refute it.

I don't disagree that God's word is a stronger authority -- I'm just objecting to the contrast between empirical and God-given. That which is God-given is also empirically verifiable and will eventually be discovered (if not necessarily believed.) If you'd said "they don't realize that it's both empirically verifiable and knowable from scripture" or "they could have learned this from scripture without waiting until they figured it out empirically." I'd not have quibbled.

Bike Bubba said...

The trouble with empirical laws, though, is that when you're dealing with statistics--and you always are with empiricism--you never have 100%. You have durned near, but never 100%, even in a very valid test.