Free healthcare, free welfare, free social security – these are the cornerstone of the entitlement state, ergo, the word entitlement. Something you get because of a classification government has proscribed to you – sick, poor or retired.
We asked a woman that supported the Affordable Care Act, who covers the cost of the ACA? She paused, thought a moment, then simply said – I don’t know. Then it was suggested the government was paying and, in a sigh of relief, she responded affirmatively. But in the next breath, she was asked where was the government getting its money? Puzzlement again swept through her.
The point is that all these “free” programs have to be paid for from private taxpayers as – and here is the revelation for some – the government has no money of its own, only that which it taxes from the people and that which it borrows (that also must be paid back by taxing the people). So, as we write in Vigilance The Price of Liberty, politicians have developed a pay-off scheme to take from some to give to others, with the government comfortably in the middle to take its cut. Ergo, nothing is free.
More immoral, is the inevitability of political corruption. What could be done for a dollar in the private sector takes a figurative $10 of waste and fraud in the public sector. This is immoral because the government coercively takes money from taxpayers to redistribute to tax takers without regard for efficiency or efficacy.
But what of the mantra that society has a responsibility to care for the poor? That the problem of the poor is too large for charity alone. That there is a social injustice when some have too much and others have too little. Thomas Sowell in his book, Wealth, Poverty and Politics, quotes the economist Henry Hazlitt who wrote of poverty: “The real problem of poverty is not a problem of “distribution” but of production. The poor are poor not because something is being withheld from them but because, for whatever reason, they are not producing enough.”