The Poison of Something for Nothing


                Margaret Thatcher once famously observed that “The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”  But unfortunately the situation is worse than that.  Because, although most political polls show that people are fed up with Washington, they still seem to be flocking to the side of politicians who promise them “something for nothing.”  So now even though we have a $19 trillion public debt, politicians are still promising the voters something for nothing.  This simply must stop, because it is a poison – for everybody!

                And what are the politicians promising?  Things like government-managed retirements, otherwise known as Social Security.  This program takes people’s before-tax revenue, and then eventually dribbles it back to them later in small amounts – and even then requires the recipients to pay income taxes on those payments.  [Imagine how much more those same private investments would have yielded instead!]  And public education.  This almost always costs much more than private schooling, which is competitive and thus almost universally better.  And government-managed healthcare.   It costs more to run that system, and it also costs people more for what they receive – after one considers taxes, premiums, deductibles and co-pays.  [In fact, P. J. O’Rourke had it right when he said “If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it’s free.”]  So this entire approach of reliance upon government has failed us all.  Instead we should get the government out of these areas, trust the free market, and address the problems of poverty straightforwardly by a system of negative income tax.  What would this system be like?  Stay tuned for next week’s column. 

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President