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Other People's Money

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I recall seeing a clip — perhaps five or six years ago — of then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo passionately inviting his audience to let him give them more money for better housing.

If Sec’y. Cuomo were offering his own money for such purposes, I would have praised him and admired him.  But of course, despite his words – which were something like “I want to give you more money for housing!” – the money he was offering wasn’t his own.  He was offering money taken forcibly from taxpayers.

Why so many people find such sentiments to be ethically inspiring is beyond me.  What’s so damned generous or difficult about spending other people’s money?

I recalled Mr. Cuomo’s disgustingly self-indulgent display of his imagined munificence when I read this letter in today’s Wall Street Journal [2] by my buddy Andy Morriss.

Sen. Lamar Alexander is quoted in "Senators Warm Up to Emissions Curbs [3]" (Politics & Policy, Feb. 22) as saying he’s "willing to invest a lot of money [to cut carbon dioxide emissions] if it makes sense to do it." Bully for him, so long as he’s investing his money and not mine. When politicians talk about "investing," it usually means spending someone else’s money, which is exactly what Sen. Alexander intends to do with his support for subsidies for companies that buy carbon-dioxide reduction equipment.

Andrew Morriss

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