The Four Ways You Can Spend Money
Ravenwood discusses a child’s first exposure to “government” in the classroom in his post Back to
School Government Indoctrination Centers. He quotes Neal Boortz from his article Back to Government School:
As fast as you can say the Pledge of Allegiance without the “under God” part, the indoctrination begins. The government teacher steps in front of her virtual hostages and promptly delivers the first raw lesson in the power of government. The students are instructed to bring all of their precious school supplies – their property — to the front of the classroom and put them into a huge box. These supplies no longer belong to them. They are now community property … they belong to all of the class. The teacher, representing the government, will from that point on assume the responsibility of distributing the supplies to the students as they are needed.
“Whoaa! Hold on a minute here! These are MY supplies. My daddy bought them for me. You can’t have them! They’re mine!”
Not any more kid. Those pencils and erasers were yours. They have now been seized by the government to be used and distributed for the common good.
To which, Ravenwood adds:
This year he left out the part where parents who are in the know deliberately buy the cheapest school supplies they can. After all, why buy premium when you know that the government teachers are just goint to take them away. That’s socialism for you.
Which reminded me of my favorite lesson in economic theory: The Four Ways You Can Spend Money.
1. You can spend your money on yourself: When you do that, you work hard to get the most for your dollar, searching for the best deal on what you really want, or compromising when you just can’t afford (or bring yourself to bear the expense of) what you really want. Which explains why I drive a Ford Ranger pickup, and not a Ford GT.
2. You can spend your money on other people: This is what you do when you buy gifts – or in the example above, when you’re buying school supplies that will be “shared” by the whole class. The more important those people are, the more you will pay attention to your expenditures. If you don’t know or care about them, fuck ’em, they’ll get only what you can spare. (But then, I’m an evil Republican. If I were a Democrat I’d say “I’m a little short this week – can you go first?”
3. You can spend other people’s money on other people: This is what the government does for its citizens. Normally it just takes your money, and then, well, fuck ’em – they’ll get what you can spare. Unless you really need to give a gift to someone important. Like a voting bloc. I mean, it’s just money, right?
4. You can spend other people’s money on yourself: This is what politicians do. And a lot of bureacrats. And leaders of “charity organizations.” And evangelists. (See Option 3 above, re: voting blocs.) Pay raises. Limousines. Office furniture. Travel vouchers. And…
Hell, when its other people’s money, the sky’s the limit! Why else are “government handouts” so popular?
I’m handicapped by a severe Ford GT-deficiency! Where’s my ADA grant money? And Midnight Blue, or I’ll sue!