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Author: matthewgoss Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 740451  
Subject: Re: Poll: TANSTAAFL? Dilemma... Date: 8/11/2001 5:12 AM
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Nasty! Maybe you didn't understand the question or read the follow-up discussion. It wasn't a question of the money being tight or of providing for the family. It was a question about accepting or declining an offered government discount because it's there, not necessarily because it's needed.

Let's also put a little perpective around this discounted meal program. Eligibility for a family with four kids begins at $43,827 annual income. Here in Oregon, that isn't exactly starving. In fact, it's well above the average family income in this state. For folks living modest, middle-class lives, that's a pretty decent income. Most school teachers, police officers, military personnel and people in many other well-respected professions are eligible for the reduced-price lunches. It clearly isn't just for the "poor."

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I like your 'perspective.' It shows that you are thinking this through to the heart of the issue. If you believe that you do not 'need' the subsidy (and you have already shown that you don't), and that the subsidy was not intended for the 'poor' based upon the fact that average middle class people qualify, then the question is really about how much control you want the government to have over your spending habits.

I posted a story to the Libertarian board a couple of days ago about this very subject:




I had an interesting conversation today with a coworker. I've discussed financial matters with this person several times, everything from 401k and mutual funds to mortgages and insurance. I believe she has come to respect my opinions on such subjects, and that is why she has continued to ask my advice regarding any financial matters that come up.

In the past she has always rolled her eyes when I would talk about libertarian issues, tuning me out when I start to talk about anything related to politics.

Today, she said to me:

"Matt, do you know anything about how to get government grant money?"

I responded "I won't help you get a government grant."

Puzzled, she replied "Why?" and her face had a look that suspected I knew how to get grants, but just wouldn't tell her because I decided to be an ass.

"Because I don't believe the government should be giving grants," I answered.

With a roll of her eyes and an expression on her face indicating she was about to 'tune out' she asked "Why not?"

I replied "Because the only reason the government has the money to give out these grants, whatever they are for, is that they forcibly take it from other people like you and I."

Thinking she had finally found a way to break my logic, she said "Well, then aren't I *entitled* to a grant?"

I answered her with "Only if you believe that you are *entitled* to other people's money, and are willing to participate in forcibly taking it from others who have committed no crime other than *earning* it. Further, if you believe you are only taking back what is rightfully yours, and that you are entitled to do so, you must first consent and concede that the government knows better than you do how you should spend your money, and that they have the right to make you jump through all of the hoops they feel are necessary in order for you to receive and spend your own money. Essentially, you must believe that the government *should* be telling you how to live your life and how to spend your money. By taking the grant, you are reinforcing this belief in the eyes of the government, whether you believe it or not, and you are also paving the way for them to take more control over your life, by your own consent. If you rationalize getting a grant by thinking it is really your own money, then you must accept the fact that you do not have the right to decide how your money is spent. If you stand on the principle that the money really is yours, you will not seek a grant, and thus deprive them of your consent and reduce them to what they really are--common thieves."

She hadn't tuned me out this time. She stared at me in awe. The wheels slowly turned, and something clicked. I don't think she wants a grant anymore. She wants HER money.

Later she asked me "How the hell did you come up with that?"

I said "*I* didn't. But if you'd like to learn more about it, I can bring you a book to read. It's about 1200 pages, but when you are done you will know 'where I come up with that' and a lot more like it. You'll stop rolling your eyes when I talk about government and politics. And you will finally have the answer to the question 'Who is John Galt?'" (She had asked me several times about the big white stickers I have on the front and back windshield of my car that quzzically ask 'Who is John Galt?' Because she always rolled her eyes when I talked politics, I had always just smiled and teased her because she didn't know. I told her if she really wanted to know she would figure it out.) She was interested.

Tomorrow she will start the first chapter of the Ayn Rand classic 'Atlas Shrugged.'

If someone takes something from you and then says 'I will only give it back if you do X,' then that is extortion. How much are you willing to let your government extort you out of?

Matt

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