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Source: An essay in Toward
Liberty: Essays in Honor of Ludwig von Mises on the Occasion of his 90th
Birthday, September 29, 1971, vol.
2, ed. F.A. Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Leonrad R. Read, Gustavo Velasco, and
F.A. Harper (Menlo Park: Institute for Humane Studies, 1971).
Common-Access Facilities Be Financed? by James
This paper challenges some of the sacred cows in public finance. I demonstrate that the efficient means of financing certain common-access facilities may involve the imposition of taxes that are inversely related to the income-wealth positions of potential users. The analysis suggests, further, that the adoption of such taxes may be in the interest of those very consumers who are subjected to the relatively high rates. Although its subject matter is limited in scope, the paper adds to the mounting evidence that traditional public-finance precepts are little more than outmoded shibboleths for old-fashioned left-liberal economists who have seldom separated their ethics from their analysis.