13.2.12

THE LOGIC OF MOOCHING.

The New York Times sends a reporter to Chisago County, Minnesota, where he is startled to discover critics of government benefits relying on ... government benefits.
And as more middle-class families like the Gulbransons land in the safety net in Chisago and similar communities, anger at the government has increased alongside. Many people say they are angry because the government is wasting money and giving money to people who do not deserve it. But more than that, they say they want to reduce the role of government in their own lives. They are frustrated that they need help, feel guilty for taking it and resent the government for providing it. They say they want less help for themselves; less help in caring for relatives; less assistance when they reach old age.
Contradictions can't exist. Check your premises.
I would say, once you establish the budget as a giant commons, then it makes sense for each person to try to take as much as possible. It's a Ponzi scheme, of course, since we are depending on other people, people now too young to vote, to put the money back. The problem with this Ponzi scheme is that it is MANDATORY. You have to put money into it, because of taxes. Your only choice is whether to try to get some of that back, in the form of entitlements. The fact that I take some of the money back is NOT a sign that I approve of the Ponzi scheme. I'd bail if I could. Keep your entitlements, and I'll keep my taxes.
It's easier to fret about living at the expense of each other than it is to come up with a resolution of the common-property problem that the Great Society and its extensions (many of which, as the article notes, maintain or exacerbate income differences) has become.

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