– March 7, 2011

“The Leviathan exploitation of the revenue potential of the money-creation power is a possibility that will be among those to be reckoned with in the constitutional deliberations of the citizen when he considers the possible efficacy of granting independent powers of money creation to government. As the analysis is intended to suggest, it is difficult, if not impossible, to construct an argument that could offer coherent logical support for such a delegation of power in any open-ended sense. Equally, the analysis suggests that constitutional rules for money creation may be among the alternatives considered in any efficient set of fiscal-monetary arrangements. If, on the one hand, conventional tax instruments are chosen that will generate an approximately efficient level of public-goods supply when exploited to their maximum revenue potential, the citizen will wish to guard against additional revenue raising through money creation. Government franchise in money creation may be constitutionally prohibited. Alternatively, the individual may deny government access to standard tax arrangements sufficient to finance desired public expenditure levels and instead allow government access to the inflationary financing option. Whereas with most taxes the assignment of the base is sufficient, however, it seems likely here that rate limitations will also be desirable, probably even to Leviathan itself. In this sense, the monetary constitution, embodying some set of rules relating to the extent of monetary expansion, is necessarily more restrictive than the fiscal limitations we have been discussing heretofore—both base and (maximum) rate limits are involved.” – Excerpted from Chapter 6. Find the online version of the book here.

The Power to Tax: Analytical Foundations of a Fiscal Constitution
James M. Buchanan and Geoffrey Brennan
Cambridge University Press, 1980.
Via the Library of Economics and Liberty.

Tom Duncan

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