Feb 5, 2011

"Not My Earmarks!" Is the New NIMBY

Shocking revelation: turns out that people like government spending that benefits them, just not government spending that benefits other people. Around the country, people are discovering that the Tea Party candidates they elected to Congress are keeping their campaign promises to eliminate earmarks, but voters hadn't really thought about what that would mean for the earmarks that benefited their own communities.

So here we have the classic "not in my backyard" problem turned inside out. That problem occurs when people think things ranging from integrated schools to sewage treatment plants are good for society, in theory, but don't want to actually have them in their own neighborhoods. This problem is that they think that government spending is bad, in theory, but they DO want to have it in their own neighborhoods.

Taxation and government spending are really at the crux of organized society, it seems to me: we all pool our resources in order to pay for the things that a society needs but individuals can't provide. When we say that we don't want our tax dollars going for earmarks for people across town, or across the country - but we do want earmarks for ourselves - aren't we in effect saying that we don't want to be part of a society with those people across town or across the country?

No comments:

Post a Comment