1. What is the difference between progressive and regressive methods of taxation? Explain.
A progressive tax is a kind of tax which takes a bigger percentage of income from taxpayers as their income is increasing. An example of it would be the federal income tax.
A regressive tax is the opposite of progressive tax. The higher-income taxpayers would pay, the smaller percentage of their income than lower-income taxpayers since the tax itself isn’t based on the ability of paying it. An example would be the state sales tax.
2. Identify actions a government can take to protect its domestic industries. Describe the effects that these actions have on domestic consumers.
The government has few choices of action to protect its domestic industries. It can implement trade barriers as for example the import quotas and tariffs on imported goods. The two are both lower the consumer’s welfare. The tariffs usually would increase the prices of imported goods, therefore consumers would choose the domestic good, meanwhile the import quotas decrease the supply of imports and consumers are obligated to purchase domestic goods of prices higher than the imported goods.
3. Describe the difference between public goods and private goods. Explain why government action is necessary to ensure the provision of public goods.
The public good would be a non rival and non excludable good. It means that one’s consumption doesn’t affect the consumption of the other and that one cannot prevent the other from consuming a good of product.
The private good is on the contrary a rival and excludable kind of good. It means that for example if one owns a car of a limited series than there is not enough of it for everybody to own and the person is not obligated to allow anybody to drive his car.
There are few reasons for which the government’s action is necessary to ensure the provision of public goods such as the very efficiency of this action, the goods and services might be beneficial not only for the purchaser, but other individuals, the value of the good and service becomes greater than what an individual can pay, and also it boosts the economic equity.
4. What does the government do to protect competition in a free-market system? Explain why the government needs to take these actions.
The government applies equal taxes and regulations to protect the competition. It needs to apply those in order to prevent the creation of monopoly.
5. How can censorship negatively affect economic activity?
The censorship has at its core to prevent or to minimalize one’s knowledge or access to a product, therefore as a consequence it can increase the prices and have negative consequences on companies and economy in general.
• Rousseau says that “property is the most sacred of all the rights of citizenship.” What do you think he means by this? Why might property be the most important right of a citizen?
I think that Rousseau believes that the right to property is an essential right, a basic one, more important than liberty in some respect.
RousseauI takes this point of view since he belives the right to property builds the society, controls and rules it, so without it a society cannot function properly.
• Why does Rousseau say the people cannot govern themselves without rulers?
People cannot govern themselves because they would go for personal and individual good, rather than collective good, therefore they need the sovereign to think and act in the interests of collectivity. At the same time the social contract they are in is the very base for such arrangment to allow the well- being on the system.
• Do you think it is true that “every government constantly tends to become lax,” meaning relaxed, inefficient, or lazy? Does your own attitude about the government match Rousseau’s observations?
I don’t agree with the statement saying “every government constantly tends to become lax”. Nevertheless I do agree with Rousseau who believes there is often a division between the government’s agenda and the good of common will of people, what often causes clashes between the two. I believe the government has tendencies to forget that they represent the people and their interests.
• Interpret the following line: “And it may justly be said that a government has reached the last stage of corruption, when it has ceased to have sinews [strengths] other than money.” What other government strengths might Rousseau be referring to?
When a government starts considering expanding its budget and spending as its sole way of increasing its power, the government loses focus from its mean reason of existing which is enforcing equally the rule of law on its entire citizenry and protecting private ownership and individual freedoms.
Other government strengths can be the rule of law and law enforcement and the legitimacy emanating from fair elections to represent the interests of the citizenry.
• Throughout the essay, Rousseau alludes to society’s confidence —or lack thereof —in its ruling government. According to the passage, what is the primary reason for citizen mistrust in a government? How might a government avoid losing the trust of its citizens?
The main reason for citizen mistrust in a government is when there is a misalignment or conflict between the general and individual wills. A government can avoid losing the trust of its citizens by placing their general interest before the individual interests of those in power. The government exists to serve its people rather than the opposite. Citizens don’t work in order to finance the government’s existence.