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Free Stuff, Public and Private

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.

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Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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 ...


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