WE all know about government "free stuff". It's what governments do; they keep their supporters on-side with free stuff. What could go wrong? The answer is: Greece and Argentina. At some point, governments tend to run out of other peoples' money to give away. What do they do? Generally, they lie, cheat and steal some more, through devaluation of the currency and seizure of bank accounts.
Then they return to their profligate ways. That's because the one thing that brings people out into the streets is when their government pension is cut. I am talking about government pension in general: any government benefit, from an actual pension to subsidized health care or subsidies for green energy.
If governments dangle free stuff in front of their supporters, it must be because it works, and it must be because getting something for nothing is hard-hired into the human psyche.
So what about evil corporations? What do they do on the free-stuff front? The simple answer is: a lot. Corporations provide free TV programs that are paid for by advertisers. They publish newspapers that are partly or wholly financed by advertisers. Supermarkets have weekly specials. And airlines have their frequent flier programs.
Christopher Chantrill is a writer and conservative, and author of Road to the Middle Class. He runs usgovernmentspending.com, the go-to resource for government finance data, is a frequent contributor to the American Thinker, and blogs regularly at Rare.us. He lives in Seattle, Washington ...
Weekly opeds starting in late 2003.
Blogging starting in October 2013.
Numbers, charts, analysis of government spending in the US. You can make your own spending charts and download spending data.
Numbers, charts, analysis of government revenue in the US. You can make your own revenue charts and download tax data.
Numbers, charts, analysis of government debt in the US. You can make your own charts of debt over the years and download data.
Numbers, charts, analysis of the US federal budget. You can create your own custom charts, and look at budget projections and compare estimated with actual.
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Results of United States presidential elections.
Results of United States House and Senate midterm elections.
Numbers, charts, analysis of public spending in the UK. You can make your own spending charts and download spending data.
Blog and book. People get into the middle class with the cultural capital of religion, mutual aid, education, and law.
Blog and book. What should America be like in the life after liberalism when civil society replaces the administrative welfare state?
Blog and book. What went wrong in the nightmare of the Great Depression when, for ten long years, American was stuck on stupid?
First there was TARP at $700 billion and change. But did you know that the total financial bailout of 2008, in spending and guarantees, amounted to over $20 trillion?