“Will we throw grandma out of the nursing home?”
That exact question was asked by the committee chairman during the historic first public hearing in a legislative body on the question of independence in at least 160 years. While it may sound extreme, it is a reasonable question at its core.
Many New Hampshire citizens are concerned about what will happen to retired and incapacitated individuals in New Hampshire once we separate from the union. Some people erroneously believe that all welfare comes from DC. It is important to keep in mind that while some welfare does come from DC, all of the money they send to state governments and to individuals was first taken by force from Americans via federal taxes. So, at best, the DC politicians are stealing our money and then giving it back to us (minus costs of administration and other expenditures). Let’s address the largest welfare programs:
Social Security is a federal program that is funded by a 6.2% tax on income and another 6.2% tax on payroll (the employer must pay this to DC whenever they pay their employees). Social security alone causes the DC politicians to receive $12.40 for each $100 paid to employees anywhere in the united states. The employee and employer must each also pay 1.45% for the federal Medicare tax, bringing the total taxation to 15.3% for Social Security and Medicare. This is totally separate from the income tax, which has tiered rates that range from 10% to 37%. If the average employee has an effective federal income tax rate of 20%, this means that DC politicians take 35.3% of every dollar paid to employees in the union via income/FICA taxes alone. Keep in mind that all of this ceases to exist once New Hampshire secedes. Considering that all other federal taxes and regulations would disappear, workers would be considerably wealthier after the separation from DC.
Contrary to what some fear-mongers have claimed during the debate on whether to place the question of independence on the ballot, individuals who pay into Social Security are entitled to receive their money back even if they move out of the union. According to SSA.gov, DC cannot send Social Security checks to North Korea or Cuba, for obvious reasons. Those who reside in one of those countries are eligible to receive their checks once they move to another country.
Medicaid is a state program that is heavily funded by DC via federal tax dollars. New Hampshire may choose to abolish the program after secession, but that would be a separate issue entirely. Secession would not cause Medicaid or any other state program to disappear.
Federal programs such as SNAP, HUD, WIC, and TANF would likely not give welfare to citizens of the Republic of New Hampshire. As we discuss in the article on healthcare, few (if any) working-age humans truly need welfare due to the physical inability to work (quadruple amputee). Additionally, any person who did feel strongly about their desire to continue living in a state with robust welfare programs would be free to move to any other state in the union in order to continue living their lives as they always have.
Let’s get back to the case of ‘grandma in a nursing home’.
Ideally, the secession negotiations would include a provision that stipulates that all persons who paid into Medicare for more than two decades and who are now relegated to live in a nursing home shall continue to receive the same Medicare coverage that they received before secession for the remainder of their lives. Realistically, these people did pay into the system with the expectation that they would receive Medicare, and they can no longer work.
It is possible that the DC politicians would admit that they do not care about letting the elderly die and that they do not care that they agreed to cover them with Medicare that they paid into. If DC politicians cut off Medicare and other federal welfare programs from the old lady in the nursing home, the burden would fall onto the residents of New Hampshire. Currently, we are already an extremely generous people. We give large amounts of charity and we spend a lot of time volunteering to help the needy. Once we become much more prosperous due to the elimination of all federal taxes and regulations, we would likely have an average of anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 more in our pockets each year. Keep in mind that federal regulations cost the economy well over 2 trillion dollars each year. All of them would cease to exist in New Hampshire, unleashing economic freedom and prosperity at levels never seen before. These people would surely contribute enough money, volunteering, and other resources to help ensure that the old lady in the nursing home is well cared for.
It is likely that each person could save money for retirement, earn a pension from a private company, or have family who could ensure that they are properly cared for as they age. In worst-case scenarios in which a person has no money, retirement fund, pension, or family, the neighbors, churches, and other charity organizations would step in and help. While some Marxists claim that Americans are super greedy, the facts show that Americans donated over $410 billion in 2018. It is not likely that grandma would be thrown out of the nursing home or that anyone would starve in New Hampshire.
Many people have expressed concerns about the state raising taxes to make up for the federal taxes and welfare going away once we separate from DC. One Representative said that secession is the quickest path to a state income tax and state sales tax (New Hampshire currently has neither). This is a reasonable concern.
What if New Hampshire’s state and local governments could continue to provide all of the services they currently provide while drastically lowering – and possibly even eliminating – all taxation in the state?
There are a few revenue-raising programs that the New Hampshire government already uses:
Like every other state in the union, the NH government operates a lottery system. Many stores throughout the state sell the state government’s lottery tickets. A quarter of the gross proceeds go to the state budget for education. This program has contributed nearly $2 billion to the state’s education budget since its inception in 1964. Unlike taxation/extortion which is collected using the threat of violence or prison, people purchase lottery tickets of their own volition – whenever they feel like it!
If the government operates more lotteries, improves its efficiency, or spends less money each year, this revenue stream could fund a large portion of the state government’s annual budget.
Fee for service
The New Hampshire government currently operates 82 liquor stores around the state. Since the prices and products are attractive & tax-free and since the selection is large, consumers voluntarily give their money to the government stores in exchange for liquor and wine products. The NH Liquor & Wine stores earned $160 million in profits in 2016.
The NH state government and local governments operate many programs. These programs should fund themselves by simply charging a fee for their usage. This is the basic premise of tolls. If the government wants our money for a service or product, they should play fairly like the rest of society does. They should earn our money.
The US government, state governments, and local governments ask for loans from citizens, much like citizens ask for loans from banks. Governments do this by selling ‘bonds’. When a government needs money for a project, they borrow money from individuals for a set interest rate. They sell a ‘bond’ to anyone willing to buy it. The bond has a set timeline and a set interest rate. The bond holder receives regular interest payments and gets his principal investment back when the bond matures. The government gets a loan (without coercion) and the citizen lender gets a predictable interest rate on their investment. Everyone wins and nobody is coerced. Why don’t bonds totally fund all government budgets? If people believe in the government and/or want to help support it, they will support it financially. If nobody trusts or likes the government…maybe it should change its ways.
In addition to all of the charity that is given by NH residents, at least three societal functions of New Hampshire are currently funded voluntarily.
In partnership with the NH Dept. of Transportation, the ‘Adopt-A-Highway’ program maintains highways using volunteers and funds generated via advertising. Simply put, businesses pay a few hundred dollars per month or supply volunteers for cleanup in exchange for their company name being shown on a sign along the highway. The business receives advertising, the highway remains clean, and nobody is robbed of their hard earned money.
Currently, Subway, McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, IHOP, Denny’s, Whole Foods, Weight Watchers, AAA, Hampton Inn, Waste Management, and many other companies voluntarily do business with Adopt-A-Highway in exchange for advertising. Evidently, these businesses see value in this exchange. If they did not want to spend money on the program, they wouldn’t. When we voluntarily transfer our money to another party, we are inherently affirming that we see more value in the product or service we receive than in the money we pay for it. When you spend a dollar on a coffee, you are essentially telling the cashier that you want the coffee more than you want that dollar bill. When one party uses violence or threatens to use violence, this exchange becomes unbalanced and is no longer moral.
Cleverly utilizing buses, bus stops, and their websites as space for advertising, the Nashua and Manchester transit authorities receive money from businesses that want to place their advertisement in front of hundreds of thousands of commuters. Manchester encourages businesses to ‘Adopt A Site’ in the city, as well.
Companies spend nearly 200 billion dollars per year on advertising in the united states. Why wouldn’t governments want to receive their ‘fair share’ of that gold mine? If that isn’t enough incentive, maybe abolishing mandatory, unethical, and inherently violent taxation could encourage the government to step into the future of revenue generation.
Governments could take the concept of advertising a step further, though. Utilizing the same revenue model as millions of YouTube creators, podcaters, and talk-show hosts, they could sell ads in various ways. If they allowed YouTube, for example, to host House and Senate sessions every day, the US government could probably earn billions of dollars a year in ad revenue due to the millions of views such videos would receive. If a child reviewing toys on YouTube earns $22 million a year from ad revenue, I’m sure the federal government – a collection of the 600 (more like four million) most brilliant people on Earth could easily generate a few trillion dollars a year. Keep in mind that the annual budget for the entire federal government is only around $5 trillion a year. If our ‘leaders’ made a real attempt to – or if they were forced to – they could replace taxation with passive income from ads.
We could take the concept a step further, though! Although we might already fund the whole US government without any taxes, our elected officials could generate surplus money which could be given to the truly needy or to those who have been paying $20,000 to Uncle Sam every year for decades. As we’ve learned from billboards and some government ad sales, any space that is viewed a lot can be utilized (rented out) to advertisers for serious money. Why are the inner and outer walls of every capitol building plain white? Why aren’t they generating passive revenue for the government to fund its services? Could you imagine how much Amazon, Google, or Facebook would pay each year to advertise on such prime real estate?? The government could put every square inch of its property up for bid and raise trillions of dollars without taxation and without violating anyone’s consent!
“That’s great, Alu. But the state budget is like six billion dollars per year. The NH government could never raise that much money voluntarily!”, argues the pessimist.
The budget could easily be trimmed by a few billion dollars if NH politicians would stop promising to redistribute our hard-earned money to those who choose not to work. It could be trimmed by another $1.5 billion if the state government stopped funding government schools (don’t worry, local governments in NH still spend $3 billion per year on government schools. Ending the forcible redistribution of wealth (welfare) would shave another $500 million per year from the state budget.
Thirdly, the NH government could reasonably raise $6 billion per year by utilizing and expanding upon the methods outlined above.
Fourthly, If the citizens felt that politicians were appropriately using the money they were entrusted with, surely they would donate to the government when they feel it is necessary. If these methods of revenue generation fall short of the proposed budget, there is nothing stopping New Hampshire residents (who happen to be the richest in the nation) from voluntarily writing a check to the state government to close the fiscal gap!