Punchinello’s Chronicles

November 6, 2008

Choosing to Spend Money

Filed under: Butterfly Wings — Punchinello @ 10:45 pm
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I remember talking with my father about how the government spends money. It was part of many conversations about economics, federal spending, and so on, and we were talking about a principle of human nature. He made the point that contrary to all the studies and knowledge accumulated over history, the government holds as true that human nature doesn’t exist.

Technically speaking, there actually isn’t really a “human nature,” but we use the term generally to mean how people tend to act. This nature includes thought, emotion, imagination, hopes, dreams, wishes, needs, survival, genetics, and every other aspect of human complexity. None of it exists, as far as the government group-mind is concerned.

The fundamental assumption most politicians seem to hold is that money comes from nowhere. People accidentally have it, accidentally spend it, greedily hang onto it, or compassionately give it away. Money is like dirt, and can be spent in unlimited quantities, always being replaced by an unlimited supply.

Baseline budgeting is founded on the concept that people will and must spend every penny available. Nothing can impact costs, nothing will affect contract bids, nothing ever changes anything involving money. It just exists, happens, and anyone can take as much as they want.

Rush Limbaugh, today, was talking about whether or not to keep his piece of property in New York City. The discussion was about the coming reduction in city services, budget deficits, and what likely will become tax increases and so forth. What struck me, though, is the concept of choice.

Mr. Limbaugh has plenty of money and works now for enjoyment, pleasure and passion. He isn’t required to own a home in NYC, and at any given moment can simply choose to leave. I have no idea how much that home costs, but I’ll suppose it’s expensive. It generates a significant amount of money in property taxes.

Not only do property taxes bring in money to the city, but so do all the trading and services involved in owning and operating a household in New York City (or any other town and city). Whenever Mr. Limbaugh has a party, does some shopping, pays an electric bill, installs a new device, that process includes hiring people and buying things.

Which do you suppose generates more money; the annual property taxes or the general and daily expenses of living life?

The Rich (i.e., the Wealthy) have plenty of money. They don’t “need” money, like the poor people in the world. Wealthy people enjoy the option of choosing what they would like to do in life. They can do what they want, not having to always do what they need to do. It’s all about choice, and that’s why accumulating wealth is a fundamental part of human nature.

All of us encounter the real world as we grow up. That world includes basic needs, such as food, air, water, clothing and shelter. We feel the need to survive as a “force,” not a choice. Given the long dependency phase of human infancy, we also experience being taken care of. So we have an understanding of getting what we want, as opposed to being forced to do something.

The result is that all of us understand the freedom of doing what we want, versus being forced to take care of survival. In past history, wealth was determined by something other than money. In modern times, money is the basic means of accumulating wealth.

When we do become wealthy, we gain more and more choices. We have more freedom. We can indulge in whims, be spontaneous, reduce the amount of reaction to things, and pretty much start to enjoy the fun things in life. We can choose to live in NYC, or in Palm Beach, or in Green Bay. We don’t have to live in the US, we can live anywhere on Earth.

The government, now endorsed by a majority of really ignorant voters, mandates complete oblivion as to the concept of choice. It doesn’t exist, and certainly has nothing to do with wealth or money. As such, New York’s city and state governments must assume that whatever money accidentally shows up in some number, has nothing at all to do with Mr. Limbaugh and his existence.

Each year’s new budget must assume that all factors will remain the same. No money will leave, no money will enter the system. If prices go up, that’s an accident beyone anyone’s control, therefore taxes must go up. Nobody can control it, nothing can be done about it, and everyone will have to do their fair share in shouldering the burden.

What if people don’t choose to do so?

What if half the wealthy people in NYC simply choose to walk away? Hippies are fond of the principle of passive disobedience, so-called civil disobedience. They enjoy sit-ins, strikes, and other forms of choosing to decline. Their belief system has no concept that any other living human being can do the same.

Mayor Boomberg can choose to do whatever he wants. He can raise taxes, cut services, steal money, confiscate money…whatever. The government can pass laws demanding 99% of everyone’s income in taxes. They can pass laws that anyone living in NYC must work for the city, take in boarders, house the homeless, and do whatever.

And anyone can choose not to live in New York City.

What a shock it’ll be, when all these people discover that the money river has dried up. Where did it go? How did this happen? What will they do? Imagine the humanity of it all, with people starving, children dying, hospitals closing, food running out. How? Why?

Nobody will know. It’s a mystery to them.

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