Money from the government: everyone is getting in on the action!
- college students
- college professors
- single mothers
- the unemployed
- oil companies
- Hollywood studios
Even Libertarians are getting government checks. (Just visit a Northern Virginia LP event and ask the activists where they work.) The question is: are you getting your fair share?
If not, is it pride? Civic duty? Or is it
Mounds of Paperwork!
Browse around the federal government’s lists of grants, benefits, loans, and tax breaks. It’s a nightmare! A maze of twisty passages, all different. You could spend days hunting down your slice of the pie. Then spend months setting up your life, your business, or a non-profit to qualify. Then you have to spend days or months working up an application, and then wait for who knows how long to find out if you got the grant, benefit or subsidy you worked so hard for. You might as well get a job flipping burgers and pay your taxes using 1040-EZ.
In fact Public Choice economics proves that many government grant programs use up more money in application efforts than the government gives out. What a waste!
As for those extra special tax breaks, good luck with that. Most of them were written up specifically for big donors to powerful legislators. Unless you can afford expensive lobbyists and/or hold some big money fundraisers for your favorite legislator, you can’t play in this game.
So, what is the solution? How do you get your share of the government goodies without frittering away the benefits in the process? The answer:
Free Money for All Citizens
Let’s cut the crap and quit pretending everyone is special. When everyone is subsidized no one is subsidized. So why have hundreds of categories to determine who gets grants, loans, loan guarantees and/or special tax breaks? The kind answer: a clunky attempt to target the truly needy. The ugly answer: to keep most people from bothering so the special interests can get an unfair share. Both answers are partially correct.
We could just divide up the social welfare budget by the adult citizen population and give everyone the same amount. We could then send a couple hundred thousand well-educated bureaucrats back into the private sector to expand the tax base. Or we could repurpose them to do something useful, like shortening the lines at the Post Office, inspecting the food from small farms and slaughterhouses, explaining regulations to the regulated, actually reading the emergency spill plans from oil companies, picking up the phone at the IRS on the first ring...
Let us collect a trillion or two dollars with a simple tax system and divide up the largesse to everyone. For net taxpayers, the check from the government is really a tax rebate in disguise. For the poor the check is effectively a welfare check except you don’t have to stay unemployed, single, or broke to qualify.
The idea is not new. Deep thinkers on both the Left and Right have made similar proposals, under such wonkish names as “citizen’s dividend” and “basic income guarantee.” They have made little progress to date. The economics are not obvious, many special interests stand to lose from such a simple idea, and finally, these economic geniuses are not the best marketers. Basic income guarantee? What’s that? Let’s call it what the people are already looking for: free money from the government.
But ____ Doesn’t Deserve Free Money!
If we give everyone free money, then some people will get money they do not deserve. The cost is sunk, however. Today, the undeserving get government checks, and some of them receive millions of dollars. With the Free Money for All Program, the worst that can happen is someone receives on the order of ten thousand dollars/year he or she does not deserve. Big deal! If they happen to prosper later, they’ll pay it back in taxes anyway.
But many libertarians and conservatives object to any redistribution program on moral grounds, even to the needy. “Taxation is theft!” “Let the needy depend on private charity.” An interesting theory that, one that has about as much chance of being enacted as Bill Bennett coming out in favor of legalized crack cocaine. The theory might also be wrong. Have a look at these rationalizations as to why the government should send largesse to all citizens. The case is not airtight, but neither are the major conservative or libertarian rationales.
Targeting money at just the truly needy looks good at first glance and it actually does work where there is no choice mixed with the need, such as for the severely handicapped. Throw in choice and you get moral hazard. Give money to the unemployed and the recipients lose if they get a job. Give it to single mothers and they lose if they get married. Give it to the broke and recipients lose if they save money.
Give a fixed amount to everyone and the poor get a safety net while still having incentive to better their lives. We can virtually end poverty in this country and restore the work ethic of the welfare class!
You might not need free money, but the society you live in does. Our government wastes enormous resources determining who gets largesse. Replace the welfare state with a citizen’s dividend and we all benefit:
Democrats get a virtual end to poverty and wage slavery, and the option to be a hippie if they so choose.
Libertarians get a scaled down government and less regulations.
Of course many special interests benefit from the current Frankensystem, so We The People will have to do a bit of work before we all get our free money.
How to Get Your Free Money
The special interests know how to play the political game and they have deep pockets. But we outnumber them. We just have to spread the word, and get together behind a transition plan that works. Over time, this site will present an assortment of political and policy strategies to make this plan a reality. In the meantime, stay in touch. Subscribe to the blog feed to keep up with the latest. Let your friends know. Spread the word. Together, we can take our country back, one government check at a time.