The Government Has No Money

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Why is this so hard for so many people to understand? Government has no money of its own. It only has what it can take from us in fees and taxes.  Although that may be interpreted to mean the government has no money because it already has all our money and can get it anytime.

I posted a bit of whimsy last night, offering “free collidge eddication” at Fimbo State, just turn in a thousand cereal boxtops ( A reader, Phoebe, was quick to point out that it wasn’t really “free,” because you’d have to buy all that cereal. And still pay the taxes that fund the school.

How many times have I heard parents say they have to send their kids to wretched public schools because “It’s free”? How many times have we heard lame-brain leftid politicians call for “universal tuition-free college”? And then there’s the crowning idiocy, the “universal guaranteed income.”

But nothing comes without a cost. Wealth is created by people working to provide goods and services to others who want them and are willing to pay for them. It is not created by the government. It is not found growing on trees or scattered on the ground like mannah. If something is “free” to you–a welfare check, say–you can be sure that someone else is paying for it. You are either paying a not-very-subtly hidden cost yourself, by paying, for instance, local school tax, or someone else is paying.

Nobody creates wealth by sitting in a college classroom or staying home to play video games. The more people who are doing things like that, the less wealth is being created. And those who are creating it are forced to support those who aren’t. Potlatch Nation has no future but universal poverty.

Why is that so hard to understand?

3 comments on “The Government Has No Money

  1. On one gets something for nothing, unless someone, somewhere, is getting nothing for something.

    I didn’t make that saying up, I heard it circa 1980, but it is universally true. I don’t mind paying taxes for the services that the government provides which truly help people, but far too much of our tax money is used on things of little or no value. Some of the studies and programs the government funds have virtually zero worth.

    I have known two people that were on welfare. In both cases, there were profound medical reasons that they were unable to make a living and in both cases they got back into the workforce, doing something less strenuous. In both cases I was happy that my tax dollars were going towards helping someone truly in need. In both cases, the recipients ended up finding their way to much greater prosperity after re-entering the workforce.

    The government is more penniless than anyone, if you take into account their level of debt; debt which is not reduced, but only serviced through interest payments, in most cases.

    Creation of wealth, the adding of value, is key. I recently spoke with a young woman whom was newly married and facing the financial challenges of starting out. One thing I was able to say, in the way of encouragement, is that they would slowly gain ground in the matter. When one is starting out, there are lots of durable goods which need to be purchased, but if they are wise they will accumulate the things they need and have more discretionary income over time, which can be put towards a home, etc. Amazingly, there are a lot of people that don’t realize that they can build a life for themselves over time, if they just chip away at it and make their purchases wisely. This is a travesty, because it denies hope to so many people and without hope of a better life, they see no reason to try.

    It took a lot of different elements to get us into the mess we are in, as a society. I fear that the culmination of all this will be very difficult.

    1. Idon’t know how many times Thomas Sowell wrote that much of the “poverty” in America is only temporary–people just starting out. Many college grads don’t seem to understand that you don’t start on the top, but on or near the bottom. Most of us are able to do better as time goes by.

      Government has taken over much of the good works that used to be done by churches, families, communities, and private associations. It performs these works inefficiently and at an inflated cost. For every dollar they dole out, they keep many more dollars to set up and operate bureaucracies.That’s another thing that leftids cannot understand.

  2. God said “The poor will always be with us.” But even the poor “glean the corners of the harvests,” However, abject poverty, suffering and unsustainable need comes from government. The “war on poverty” and “infrastructure” are the two biggest schemes of big government, Dozens of commissions and committees are formed to fight the “war on poverty” while those running them make big bucks, with almost no return, In every House budget for decades, tens of billions of dollars have been “set aside” for infrastructure which has not only not been used for infrastructure, but which every dollar of the “set aside” disappears – until we hear about it again in the next budget, The bigger the government gets, not only is it bloated with non-essential personnel, it’s easier to “lose” a trillion here and there. THEFT on a scale as big as the government itself.

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