I was listening to a lecture by Murray Rothbard the other week about John Maynard Keynes the man. The lecture itself was fascinating, and revealed to me that Keynes referred to himself as an “immoralist” who lectured about the virtues of homosexuality over heterosexuality, actively preferring the former even though he was actually attracted to women. It became clear to me that this man was entirely backwards to the core, and now has the world addicted to the idea that in order to become rich, one has to go into debt.
But there was one thing that stood out that had little to do with Keynes in that lecture. That is, Murray made the offhand remark that public employees – meaning anyone receiving a government paycheck – should not pay any taxes. In fact, public employees are the ones that are living off of private sector tax money, and it makes no accounting sense to have them pay back into the very funds they are living off of.
Instead, public employee pay should simply be reduced by the percentage they would have had to pay in taxes had they been private sector workers. For example, let’s say a Knesset Member gets 20,000 shekels a month and pays 6,000 in withheld income tax, arnona, bitach leumi, and whatever else he pays. Instead, he should simply earn 14,000 shekels period.
What’s the difference? The difference is huge. The fact that public employees “pay taxes” so to speak blurs the line between private and public sectors – between who pays taxes and who consumes them. It makes people think that the tax eaters pay equally into the trough, when in fact that are simply consuming and vomiting back into it. If public employees – ALL of them – paid ZERO taxes – no bituach leumi, no income tax, no arnona (land and property taxes), nothing at all as all these taxes go to fund their salaries anyway, then it would become much clearer who is eating and who is producing. It would give Israel a much better idea of exactly how big their government is and how destructive. And people would start to wake up about what exactly they’re paying and to whom.
Special pay stubs should be made for all public employees that show ZERO withholding. These should be plastered all over the place. They would not be required to file a return at all. They would simply earn less. This means no doctor would pay any taxes, no state-employed Rabbi, no Knesset member, no government clerk, no judge, no police officer, no Shabak agent, not a single active duty soldier, the prime minister, the cabinet, their aids, no child day care employee, no school teacher, no public university professor, no histadrut labor union worker, garbage man, no public radio talk show host, no school administrator should pay a single shekel in taxes of any kind whatsoever from their tax-funded salaries.
They should not feel that they are contributing to the public tax burden, because in fact they are feeding off of it. Every penny of their salaries is tax money. They should understand that very well. And the people of Israel should understand very well just how much of their lives the state runs, how humongous their public sector is.
Only then will it start shrinking.