Something for Nothing

There was a candidate who ran for senate in my state this summer; he was eliminated by the primary, as expected, but he serves as a useful example of a common phenomenon in the United States these days. He is a farmer of sorts, and stood with the Tea Party in saying that he and his fellow agribusinessmen of Eastern Washington are taxed far too highly and receive nothing but grief from the government in return. Yet his farm is watered by the Grand Coulee Dam, a New Deal project, and he receives government subsidies from the Department of Agriculture. In short, without the Federal Government his farm, and all the others between the Cascades and the Palouse, would not exist. Not profitably, anyway. So his insistence that he pays more in taxes than he receives in benefits is puzzling. His distaste for taxes is understandable; I even share his dislike. Yet the Feds are undoubtedly pouring money into his farm, not taking it out, in the form of subsidies and water–and both are paid for by taxes. In short, until recently we had a candidate for senate who swears he owes DC nothing, when in fact he owes DC everything. He, the rest of the Tea Party, and often the rest of the GOP as a whole, seem to expect something for nothing–and how often does that work? Continue reading