Ask anyone who's ever worked in the public sector: With a never-ending stream of taxpayer money and no competition in sight, governments are a breeding ground for stupid ideas.
In fact, coming up with a list of all the idiocy that governments have inflicted on the world would be an impossible task, so let's just narrow it down to five really stupid government ideas.
#5 – Voluntary taxation
We all know that taxation is theft, and that's why governments invest so much time, effort and taxpayer money researching the best way to get people to actually file their theft every year. (SPOILER: The answer is "peer pressure.")
But in 2011, a group of Congress critters tried a very different approach: The Reduce America's Debt Now Act of 2011 would allow employees to ask their employer to deduct a portion of their salary each month to help pay down the national debt. Of course, this would all be carefully presided over by the Treasury, which would be obligated under 31 USC § 3113 to put the money toward paying down the government debt…because the government can clearly be trusted to uphold the letter of the law.
People voluntarily paying more taxes because the government tells them it'll help pay down the national debt? That's stupid enough. But here's the kicker: these voluntary donations to the government trough wouldn't even be tax deductible. Those poor souls who fell for the scam would in fact be paying taxes on their gift to the Government Sachs workers over at the Treasury.
The best thing that can be said about this remarkably stupid idea is that it hasn't been implemented…yet. The bill was shunted off into committee where it was never heard from again.
But they actually did try voluntary taxes in Norway this year. In June, the government bought its own propaganda and started allowing all those citizens who just love paying their theft the chance to pay even more!
"The tax scheme was set up to allow those who want to pay more taxes to do so in a simple and straightforward way," Finance Minister Siv Jensen said at the time. "If anyone thinks the tax level is too low, they now have the chance to pay more."
The result? The country of 5.3 million people raised a whopping…$1,325.