Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Other People's Money

Other Peoples' Money.   OPM.   It's a term I've vowed to use more in conversations about politics.  I think it cuts to the heart of the matter so many times.

I heard Axelrod this morning countering John Boehner's call to cut spending by saying that John Boehner wanted to "spend" 700 million dollars on tax cuts.

You don't "spend" tax cuts. Taking less money from other people is not "spending"money. It isn't the government's money to begin with. Refraining from taking it can't be spending it. The mindset is that it is all the Government's money and they generously deign to let us keep some of it rather than us reluctantly giving them some of ours to run the essential business of the nation.

Similarly, you can't be charitable with Other Peoples' Money.
... your generosity is reflected in what you do with your own money, not in what you do with other people’s money. If I give a lot of money to charity, then I am generous. If you give a smaller fraction of your money to charity, then you are less generous. But if you want to tax me in order to give my money to charity, that does not make you generous.’ —Arnold Kling

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