Kevin Drum posts
[These accusations of hypocrisy are] one of the most annoying tropes in existence, on both the left and the right. The point of laws is to provide a level playing field, and no one is a hypocrite for following existing law even if they think it should be changed. That goes for congressmen who accept earmarks even though they think earmarks should be banned, it goes for drivers who park for free on city streets even though they think parking meters should be installed, and it goes for rich people who pay taxes at the current rate even though they think that rate is too low.
No one is obligated to be a sucker. The whole point of taxation is that it’s a collective enterprise:
Let me second this and take it one further. I make every attempt to take loopholes where I find them. I actively encourage other people to do this. I do it not only vis-à-vis the government but every financial transaction I am engaged in or my associates are engaged in.
Never leave money on the table, I tell my family and friends.
Yet it is precisely because of my personal obsession with securing rent that I am a strident advocate of preventing rent seeking.
Because, I know for a fact that if you leave open a rent seeking opportunity at least one person will take it and that person will be me.
The reason I feel comfortable making these warnings is because I know that I am by no means the only person with the ability and inclination to do these things. I also know that these things are mutually destructive.
What I would like is a social contract in which we all agreed to do right by each other. Yet, in the absence of such a contract I fully intend to ruthlessly pursue my self-interest.