“Why should I be forced to pay for someone else” argument

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Taxes must first flow into the Treasury, and then out to a group of individuals, rather than being forcibly paid directly from one group to another. Only some insureds have insurance claims in any given year, but every insured benefit from the existence of that insurance. This is why Grover Cleveland was wrong in 1887, and why there was so much well-deserved anger at those members of Congress who sought to block the Hurricane Sandy relief bill: the federal government of the United States offers, through disaster relief and similar measures, de facto disaster insurance to all regions of the United States. And more directly, the “transfer payments” that Epstein finds offensive in fact are social insurance programs from which all of us, even Epstein, benefit, because the programs exist for all of us, should our circumstances change. Location 9139

Revolutionary argument about redistribution and a new way of thinking about “robbing someone by gunpoint to give to another.” Every program is a collective social program available to everyone, just like an interstate is a public good available to everyone. Just because someone is using at one particular time and another is not, doesn’t mean that the person not driving on the highway at that moment is being robbed and his money given to the people who are driving on it. He has access to use the public good as well, when he chooses or needs to. The same is true of social insurance, food insecurity programs, or health and education. Yeah, we know, you are awesome, and “don’t need help.” But if fortune turned against you, and the state of affairs were to tip wrong and help was needed, now rich republicans could get food stamps or TANF if they needed to at some point. It’s a whole new way to thinking of “redistribution.”

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