The Cost of Rights: Why Liberty Depends on Taxes

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To "fight for your rights," or anyone else's, is not just to debate principles but to haggle over budgets.
The simple insight that all legally enforceable rights cost money reminds us that freedom is not violated by a government that taxes and spends, but requires it—and requires a citizenry vigilant about how money is allocated. Drawing from these practical, commonsense notions, The Cost of Rights provides a useful corrective to the all-or-nothing feel of much political debate nowadays (The Economist).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393320336
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,208,721
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Holmes teaches political science at Princeton University and New York University Law School.

Cass R. Sunstein teaches law and political science at the University of Chicago.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9
Introduction: Common Sense about Rights 13
Part I Why a Penniless State Cannot Protect Rights
Chapter 1 All Rights Are Positive 35
Chapter 2 The Necessity of Government Performance 49
Chapter 3 No Property without Taxation 59
Chapter 4 Watchdogs Must Be Paid 77
Part II Why Rights Cannot Be Absolutes
Chapter 5 How Scarcity Affects Liberty 87
Chapter 6 How Rights Differ from Interests 99
Chapter 7 Enforcing Rights Means Distributing Resources 113
Chapter 8 Why Tradeoffs Are Inescapable 118
Part III Why Rights Entail Responsibilities
Chapter 9 Have Rights Gone Too Far? 135
Chapter 10 The Unselfishness of Rights 152
Chapter 11 Rights as a Response to Moral Breakdown 162
Part IV Understanding Rights as Bargains
Chapter 12 How Religious Liberty Promotes Stability 175
Chapter 13 Rightsholders as Stakeholders 189
Chapter 14 Welfare Rights and the Politics of Inclusion 204
Conclusion: The Public Character of Private Freedoms 220
Appendix Some Numbers on Rights and Their Costs 233
Notes 237
Index 247
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