The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

The Scottish National Party bribed their way into power with a manifesto promise to scrap student debt. This was perhaps one of the most flagrant displays of bribocracy ever seen in contemporary politics. 

Students are a sympathetic demographic and people value education. But what about working-class people who went straight to work from school and had to pay taxes for it? What about all the students who took an extra job at the weekend or stayed home with their parent, so they didn’t run up debts? What about the students that came in the next year and had to pay off the debts of people who left a year before them? This wasn’t a policy designed to “help young people,” but a cynical move to buy votes with the money of the taxpayer. Some of us have literally met people who said they voted for the SNP to get their student debt wiped.

“Free stuff” in exchange for votes is the running theme with the Scottish National Party. What should really outrage us is that none of the opposition parties have had the stones to point out the fact and call them out on it. The SNP are not the only bribocrats in Holyrood, they are just the best at it.

The SNP have attempted to devolve more control over immigration to Holyrood so they can allow in more migrants from abroad. Now, the Scottish Libertarian party are in favour the right to immigration, however, we do not believe in taking money from workers who pay taxes in Scotland to actively pay people from abroad to come here!

Many people kicked up a fuss because the SNP were polling, trying to find out for migrants how much free stuff they’d have to offer them out of the public purse in order for the migrants to vote for them!

It’s often been alleged as conspiracy theory to state that parties let in immigrants sympathetic to them for votes, but in this case the SNP have been virtually transparent about it. Actively conducting research into how to do it. Horrendously corrupt, and downright Machiavellian.

Should 16-year-olds be given the power to decide the destiny of a nation?

This is open to debate and many would agree that it is a good thing that they are given the vote. However, when The SNP reduced the voting age in Scotland from 18 to 16, they were thinking demographics. The younger generation are less likely to be sentimental about the Union and see the logic of Scottish Independence. If they were a bunch of fiscally conservative “Tory Boys” (as parodied by Harry Enfield,) you can guarantee that the SNP would have no interest in giving them the vote!

Under-18s very rarely have any independent income or pay taxes, so they are more open to the kind of bribes (at the taxpayer’s expense) that have been the mainstay of the SNP’s strategy for staying in power. So, we might ask, if 16-year-olds are indeed old enough, wise enough, and informed enough to decide the destiny of a nation, why does the SNP think they are not old enough to buy a packet of cigarettes on the way to the polling booth? Why can’t they legally drink in a pub after their own wedding? Could it be that this policy was adopted from expediency?

The SNP’s self-aggrandizing promotional video entitled “What have the SNP ever done for us,” largely consists of a long list of bribes the SNP has furnished upon the Scottish people, from the pockets of hard-working taxpayers, in order to buy votes from them.

Extra free childcare, free baby boxes, free prescriptions, free bus passes, free personal care, the list goes on unto eternity and sounds pleasing to the ear. They are vote winners, because who doesn’t like to get things for free? But with all this free stuff flying around you’d think that public sector workers were now also working for free! But they aren’t. Someone is being charged for all this so-called free stuff – the taxpayer!

These policies may appear to help people in the short term, but in the long term they are creating social problems. People are being encultured into an economy where you are not expected to be able to provide a stable future for themselves or their kids before family planning. Households that are able to provide the best, most nurturing start for children will not even be able to afford to bring any more of them into the world, because the tax burden placed upon them is too high. By the same token, some elderly people have saved their whole lives for retirement, paying income tax and national insurance on their earnings every year, only to find they are taxed again on their pension! Some worked long hours, sacrificing family time and passions, in the hope of a quiet retreat in old age. Why are we punishing people for making responsible decisions? Is this compassion for the elderly?

The most basic economic principle is that people respond to incentives. The more you punish people for being far-sighted, the less people will choose make responsible decisions. As the number of people who choose to leave “further on down the road” to government, the number of people to paying into that government decreases. Soon there will be no hard working, responsible people left to pay for so-called compassionate government programs! Then the poor will really be in trouble! All because The SNP thought they could buy votes and kick the can down the road.

As a society, we like to think we are being kind to the adults, but we are not being kind to the next generation of children to be born into comparatively unstable environments where they will need more support to thrive than a government cheque to their parents. Unfortunately, we’re not even allowed to talk about this because it’s become too controversial to say! No one cares to mention it. If you do mention it, you must be “tory scum” which is laughable because the CONservative party lack the spine to ever mention anything as basic as the fundamental economic fact, which is that people respond to incentives.

Well, someone has to talk about it! Because the accumulation of handouts is creating horrendous poverty traps where poor people can’t even work more than 16 hours without suddenly losing a host of benefits all at once. If you try to get ambitious and earn a little more, they will pull the rug out from under you. In addition to this you will have to pay a larger proportion of what you earn in tax. You find yourself worse off working than not working!

We have had people in our lives, single mothers and people with disabilities, tell us they would like to earn more money, but they can’t because if they take on more hours, they will lose too many benefits. I lose my free prescriptions, I lose my eye care, I lose my housing benefit. When you add it up there’s no point in joining the labour force. We are killing people with kindness, trapping them in poverty.

If we were to be really, very cynical we could surmise that maybe this is the point. The more people are dependent on government to provide for them, the more they can be assured to vote for parties claiming to come to the rescue. Why would the government cure poverty? A source of sure and reliable votes?

One final point. It may be anathema to suggest that the government would hide corporate welfare under the front of seemingly benign policies but that is how it tends to work. So-called “free” prescriptions are just another example of the transfer of public wealth into corporate coffers. When the public pays, competition between suppliers, forces prices down and quality up. But when the government pays, prices tend to stay high indefinitely. This is why laser eye surgery, IVF treatments, contact lenses, dental veneers and tooth whitening services, and cosmetic plastic surgery have all plummeted in price, along with laptops and smartphones. It’s because customers look out for the best deal. Meanwhile, healthcare costs continue to skyrocket threatening the very existence of the NHS itself. More on that here.

Corporations do not charge lightly when the government is footing the bill because the government officials are spending someone else’s money. Let’s suppose the NHS had decided to provide the public with vapes to help wean them off smoking. This is something they considered. They would hardly be likely to choose small independent suppliers. They would have got into bed with one of the big tobacco companies. After receiving a nice, relaxing massage in a fancy hotel spa, and then hearing a polished presentation from a medical doctor on how this wonderful new device has the potential to save thousands of lives, a government official can only conclude that they are doing a good thing by giving out a contract to such a bonafide company! What’s it to them if it’s a little more expensive than the alternative?

There are libertarian approaches to dramatically reduce if not abolish poverty in a country as affluent as Scotland. They centre around reducing the cost of living, creating opportunities for on-the-job-training so it’s easy for people to get a leg up, and reducing the tax burden on working families. If the price of housing and rental came down 25-50%, for example, it would be significantly cheaper to live in this country and homelessness could be virtually eliminated. If the price of everything went down by half in the shops then everyone would have far more left over after their shop, and that more would go further. This would make everyone more affluent without making them dependent on the SNP for handouts from the public purse.

Some of our anti-poverty policies are outlined at:







AntonySammeroff is a writer and SLP activist.

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3 Comments on "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy"

  • Damned good Article Antony. Thanks. Mises should republish.

    • Antony says

      unfortunately don’t think they care for scottish politics

  • Stuart Whitby says

    True. But as a critique, stick to established facts (of which there were plenty) and leave out the conjecture about how “the NHS” would have chosen a vape supplier in order to increase credibility for a critical audience.

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