A key justification for the extraction of tax from the population is that individuals would not spend the resources as well or wisely as officers of the state. Namely, individuals might spend them selfishly, for example on food and drink, rather than a health service available to all.

Part of the justification of this view is found in the current behaviour of the population, which indeed often seems to be shortsighted even in terms of the self-interest of the individual, assuming that our perception of another individual's best interests has some validity, which in fact I am very reluctant to do. However, even granting perfect insight into the wisest course for another individual, this argument cannot be sound, since the observation of current behaviour is of individuals in a highly taxed society, and where actions are both constrained and distorted.

Indeed, heavily taxed individuals will probably discount the future very heavily on the ground that savings will be taxed and otherwise eroded by state manipulation of the currency, to reduce government debt for example, that it is best to eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we will have empty pockets in any case. Moreover, tax is in essence a coerced purchase, and only those on very high incomes will be in a position to duplicate that purchase by paying for private education and healthcare or engaging in substantial acts of private charity.

Thus, the behaviour of individuals under tax is no guide to their probable behaviour in the absence of tax.