Entitlements and Taxes

Dr Ben Carson had a couple thoughts a while ago; they’re still valid.

On taxes:

What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called a tithe.

We don’t necessarily have to do 10% but it’s the principle. He didn’t say if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithe, or if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithe. So there must be something inherently fair about proportionality. You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you’ve got to get rid of the loopholes.

On health care:

Here’s my solution: when a person is born, give him a birth certificate, an electronic medical record, and a health savings account to which money can be contributed—pretax—from the time you’re born ’til the time you die. If you die, you can pass it on to your family members, and there’s nobody talking about death panels. We can make contributions for people who are indigent. Instead of sending all this money to some bureaucracy, let’s put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they’re going to learn how to be responsible.

The only place I disagree with him is on the degree of heritability of the HSA. Given the slowness of growth of the relevant supply (of health-related services) compared with the rapidity of growth of its demand, accumulating wealth in an HSA would over just a couple of generations create too much money earmarked for health services; this money would rapidly increase health services prices. And that would price those just starting out—newborns, new immigrants, and so on—out of the health services market, just as the present system and its immediate precursor have done. Instead, let the dearly departed’s remaining HSA be passed into his estate as an ordinary asset of the estate, and let each new entrant—those newborns, new immigrants, and so on—start their own HSAs anew.

Nonetheless, The Wall Street Journal titled their article about these thoughts “Ben Carson for President.” We could do worse.

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