A civilized society is concerned with the health and safety of others and takes care of those who cannot take care of themselves, but a civilized society does not force individuals to participate in society. According to the principle of voluntarism, a government should not, for example, force an individual to buy health insurance, nor force anyone to pay a tax for health insurance, nor charge a penalty for not having insurance. Voluntarists also do not want to see people die or suffer unnecessarily just because they don’t have the money or insurance for medical care. How, then, is care provided for? Charities can provide some care, but they cannot serve everyone, and charities are often under funded.
Is there a way to provide health insurance and other social programs without forcing people to participate? A key part of the solution for funding any public program, without taxing those who don’t want to participate, is to found a National Public Bank, which would have the power to create new U.S. dollars for public infrastructure and public assets. Public facilities built and/or funded in this way can help provide basic services to the public at operating costs.
For example, most people could pay out-of-pocket for ordinary medical care. In our current system, the prices set by most medical facilities are greatly inflated over their actual costs because they have arrangements with insurance companies to artificially inflate prices for those who don’t have insurance, or they are privately-held facilities and have stock holders to pay, and they have the high cost of capital improvements and high-tech equipment to pay for. A state facility, built with Public Bank funds, would not charge $200 for an IV bag, for example, but $2, and not $2,000 for an ambulance ride, but $50.
For those who need extensive medical treatments due a life-threatening or chronic condition, the government could act as insurer and provide free care after the patient has reached a sliding scale deductible amount based on a percentage of income or wealth. This free catastrophic care could be funded by sales a tax on products that tend to contribute to poor health, such as alcohol, tobacco, junk food, and recreational drugs. A consumption tax is voluntary tax since citizens can choose not to buy inessential items.
To summarize then, a public service — medical care, mass transportation, access to communication, postal delivery, or education– can be provided to the people at the cost of time and materials. The infrastructure costs and equipment costs can be provided by direct funding by a Public Bank, since these are tangible assets owned collectively by the people.
In a voluntarism system, the new U.S. dollars created by a Public Bank (replacing the Federal Reserve banking system), would not be the only form legal tender. People would be allowed to trade with any form of currency or barter. Therefore, if the U.S. dollar suffers from inflation resulting from government over-creating dollars for bad public projects that don’t add value to the economy and/or don’t return user fees, those who have chosen not to trade in dollars will not be affected by the inflation.
The Federal Reserve US dollar is fiat currency that has value only because it is used as the petro-dollar, the only form of currency that can be used in oil/gas purchases on the world market. As countries begin to abandon the petro-dollar, the US will be obligated to back its currency in some other way. The US doesn’t hold enough gold for this and has no peaceful way to get more. If the US goes off the fractional reserve system (Ends the Fed) and begins to create new US dollars only to transform them into valuable assets, created in the US by US citizens, the dollar will be better able to hold its value.
The US government will then be like a big non-profit corporation that provides services at cost but doesn’t need donations. The US Postal system is a massive non-profit public service program, which does not take any tax money to operate, and which can be used as a model for other public service programs. The US Postal Service operates alongside other private delivery services. One of the main expenses for government-run operations like the Post Office is its health insurance program. Switching to a Public Bank funded universal health program would greatly reduce the cost of providing health coverage for all government employees, veterans, Medicaid and Medicare recipients. These savings then, together with a consumption tax on items that contribute to poor health, could provide the funds needed to provide free catastrophic care for all US citizens.
Other public assets — like fiber optic broadband, high speed trains, tunnels, bridges, expressways, and schools–can also be funded by a Public Bank and operated (democratically) by local governments. Establishing a Public Bank could eliminate the need to levy any additional taxes and could greatly reduce, if not eliminate completely, the amount of income taxes that 90% of the population currently pay.