Prioritizing: Charity or Investment

No free lunch.

I consider myself a compassionate person who wants to help other people suffering economic distress. We have reached the point, however, where we are increasing charity dollars (transfer payments) at the expense of work, investment, and economic growth.

The responsible policy tradeoff that serves the long term interest is jobs over charity with an understanding that a safety net serves our best long term interest and that a safety net is not the same thing as perpetual charity. Mr. Obama’s rationalization that such charity is an economic stimulus ignores the question of where the money comes to pay for it as well as ignores the social costs of the dependency resulting from it.

The honest political question is whether we are prepared to forgo work, job creation, and economic growth in exchange for increases in perpetual charity. Mr. Obama’s response to the February 4, 2014 CBO report that notes an expected reduction in work expected from Obamacare/ACA subsidies is, “yes;” promoting the notion that being subsidized to the extent that we can choose not to work more or not to work at all is a good thing for our society.

University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan clarifies reality near the end of this video clip (be sure to watch the balance of the clip from its starting point to get the full context):

Transfer payments are not purchases. Charity is not work.

This issue focuses the essential political choice before us. More charity, dependency, and debt or more jobs, opportunity, and economic growth. We may be able to elect people who offer us a free lunch now but this is at the expense of our children’s future.

It is my personal hope that Americans, with the implications our President’s policies and priorities now clearly before us, will change direction.

Regards, Pete Weldon

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