It's Not (All) Your Money
Original post made by stephen levy on Sep 15, 2011
We all have faced situations where we would like to say "I don't want to pay for" (fill in the blank--the Iraq war, high speed rail, education for the children of unauthorized immigrants, subsidies to oil companies).
But that is because we don't approve of the programs and have been outvoted but not because it is "all our money".
Most of us have benefited from freely available public education, from subsidized tuition or federal grants at college, from federal funding for basic science research that helps our industry, from publicly funded infrastructure like highways, and from the security of being defended by our men and women in the military (even if we don't like every war).
And we have benefited by the taxes paid and investments funded by governments in our parents' and grandparents' generations.
Anyone who thinks that he or she has done it all on their own so it is all "their money" is either very special or not recognizing the role that public programs and investments have made in our opportunities and our earning power.
One problem (besides truth) with the assertion that half of the families don't pay taxes or that our earnings are "all our money" is that it divides us at a time when we desperately need to find a way out of this finger pointing stubbornness that is paralyzing our ability to move forward and address our challenges.