Two Sides to Those Political ‘Transactions’

by Don Boudreaux on September 16, 2011

in Myths and Fallacies, Other People's Money, Seen and Unseen

Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

Ridiculing those of us who would rely more on voluntary charitable giving – rather than on forced extractions from taxpayers – to care for people in need, Paul Krugman asserts that “compassion is out of fashion” (“Free to Die,” Sept. 16).

Even granting the dubious assumption that a people are compassionate only if they tax themselves and spend the proceeds through government on good deeds, it doesn’t follow that programs such as Obamacare, Medicare, and Social Security are, in fact, monuments of compassion.

Insofar as such programs are enacted and survive because of political support they receive from their beneficiaries, they are creatures not of compassion but of greed: ‘give me what you’ve got because I want it and I’m willing to vote to ensure that the officials in charge of prisons and the police will use those instruments to take from you what I want for myself.’

Does anyone doubt that at least some of the support for such programs comes, not from generous people wishing to give, but instead from greedy people itching to take?

Donald J. Boudreaux


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