I was pleased to belatedly run across Reihan Salam’s discussion of my proposal to provide key public goods with a minimum of tax distortion by expanding the non-profit sector rather than expanding government. In Reihan’s article, “Miles Kimball’s Quixotic but Interesting Tax Proposal,” Reihan says it might not curtail growth in government spending, but then continued:
What Kimball’s proposal does do, however, is address the normative demands made by egalitarians for higher taxes on the affluent (the notion of paying your fair share) while not directly addressing this structural dynamic. This is arguably a feature of Kimball’s proposal and not a bug, as it undermines the most potent case for higher taxes (the rich should bear more of the burden of making the investments we need to help vulnerable people flourish) without effectively rewarding public sector inefficiency.
Unfortunately, as Kimball would surely acknowledge, this proposal is wildly unrealistic, in no small part because it would drive a shift in resources from the public sector to civil society organizations that will embrace a wide variety of business models, not all of which will be incumbent-friendly. And over time, one assumes that incumbents will work to stymie empowering innovations in this space that prove threatening. That doesn’t change the fact that Kimball’s proposal is extremely interesting.