Myth: I earned that money; it's mine!
Fact: The free market in which people make their money wouldn't even exist without
No one truly makes 100 percent of his money by himself. Individuals
depend on a wide array of government services to support the very free
market in which they earn their money. Without these supports, there would
be no free market in the first place.
Many conservatives and libertarians have argued that the government
has no right to tax their money; they earned it, and the government has
no right to "steal" it.
However, these individuals could not have made a dime on the
free market without any of the following government supports of the free
- Printing the very dollar bills with which people trade.
- Public roads.
- Rural electrification.
- Government subsidized telephone wiring.
- Satellite communications.
- Police protection.
- Military protection.
- A criminal justice system.
- Fire protection.
- Paramedic protection.
- An educated workforce.
- An immunized workforce.
- Protection against plagues by the Centers for Disease Control.
- Public-funded business loans, foreclosure loans and subsidies.
- Protection from business fraud and unfair business practices.
- The protection of intellectual property through patents and copyrights.
- Student loans.
- Government funded research and development.
- National Academy of Sciences.
- Economic data collected and analyzed by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
- Prevention of depressions by Keynesian policies at the Fed (successful
for six decades now).
- Dollars protected from inflation by the Fed.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- Public libraries.
- Cooperative Extension Service (vital for agriculture)
- National Biological Service.
- National Weather Service
- Public job training.
"Why shouldn't the American people take half my money from me?
I took all of it from them."
Edward Albert Filene (1869-1937)
Filene (of Boston's Filene's Department Stores) founded the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce to encourage businesses to contribute to the welfare of their
communities. He eventually quit the organization, disappointed that it
had become a bastion of right-wing conservatism and an anti-tax lobby.
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