The concept of free money is great. The counterfeiter and the swindler both pay their respects. People who love their jobs – who say, I would do this work for free – know the respectable side of the concept. I talked with a teacher who runs the waterfront at a local day camp during the summer vacation season. He loves the job so much that, for him, what the camp pays him is “free money.”
Then there’s the government. During the 2012 election, the right posted an anti-Obama video on YouTube that showed a young woman jumping up and down, squealing and shouting in celebration over the free money the feds have promised her. Her celebration was so exaggerated that, if it weren’t a campaign video, you might think the clip was a satire on government’s free spending. Given the context, though, you had to conclude she actually wanted that money, and was happy to take it.
So the reporter’s interview follows:
Where do you think that money is coming from?
From people who need it less than I do?
So tell me, who decides who needs it more, or even more importantly, who deserves it more?
Well I think the people who give it out decide that.
What do you think their motives are, for giving it out?
To help me, to win my loyalty, and to promote equality.
Does it bother you that the people who give out the money don’t care that much whether you deserve it?
Why should that bother me? The fact that I need it more than the rich man should be enough.
What about the people who earned the money? How much should they be allowed to keep?
They’ll have plenty left after they take care of people like me.
How do you know that?
Well look around. The government’s been giving out free money for a long time, and look how great we’re doing.
That’s where we wind up: look how great we’re doing. You don’t need to ask any more questions after that.