We Agree!

Simply being politically or economically conservative does not make one the caricatured version, the one who cares little, if any, for the financial well-being of the less advantaged or those on the receiving end of terrible randomness. Some of us actually believe a country as wealthy as ours should provide food, shelter, health care, housing etc. to the genuinely screwed. Where we differ with our friends on the left is the extent to which recipients should expect the kindness of strangers enforced at gunpoint.

Public spending comes at a cost (i.e. taxation or borrowing). Sometimes that cost is overcome unambiguously (county builds a bridge, hotel gets built on other side of bridge, which generates jobs and taxes). Sometimes the reward isn't quantifiable but self-evident (think polio vaccinations). But disagreement will never end on what constitutes national priorities, the usefulness of funding to address them and subsequent questions of how, when, amounts and by whom.

Experience painfully teaches spending eventually becomes an expectation, nearly impossible to reverse even when the original problem no longer exists. There's nothing automatically bad about about resisting claims on the national purse, just as there's nothing automatically good about making claims on the purse. Personally, I agree with with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner: "Public assistance is a privilege, not a right."
Sec. Geithner said that in the context of conditions on the compensation of senior executives at Treasury-assisted banks. But change the subject just a little to, say, middle class housing. Would Geithner's boss agree?

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