on Grants

“The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from its profits or so dependent on its favors, that there will be no opposition from that class. Give me control of a nation’s money and I care not who makes its laws.” Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild (1744-1812), a German banker

What is a grant? What do you think of first when you hear that someone got a federal grant to engage in some kind of behavior? Do you first think “cool, free money” or do you think of “wow, why is taxpayer money being spent on that”? In case you have not figured it out, I am of the latter camp, and I believe that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Government does not create money. It does not make money. Despite calling it “revenues”, any money that comes into the government budget was first earned by the taxpayer. In order for government to spend money, or give it away to others, it must first take it from someone else. So in other words, any grant money that an entity gets from a government agency means some of the rest of us had to sacrifice our family priorities in order for them to get it. Unfortunately that is how grants work, as they only exist because of taxpayer money.

Let’s break it down a bit in order to give you some perspective. Since 2009, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (www.recovery.gov ), the federal government has given away over $767 billion away in federal grants to support certain initiatives. Since only about 50% of Americans actually pay federal income taxes, that means an average of $5,000 was taken from the paychecks of each and every individual American taxpayer since 2009 in order to support this program. So, as a married couple, you then gave up about $10,000 from your own family budget in order to subsidize these grants.  Tell me, do you feel that you got a good return on that money? Or would you have rather kept the $10k for yourself and your family?

The above is only one example. Every day, the federal government spends millions dispersing government grants in order to support a preferred agenda. And all those grants can only be received if the entity that gets it – be they a state, local government, group or individual – meets a certain criteria or agrees to a certain kind of behavior. In other words, we first give up our hard earned money, and then compete with each other for a chance to get some of it back, only with strings attached. As a result of this “government lottery”, the ones who do the sacrificing of their income are not always the same ones that get it back.

It is a vicious cycle. If we don’t apply for the grant (i.e. taxpayer money), then it will only be given to someone else willing to dance for their supper. But if we do apply for the grant (i.e. taxpayer money), then we have to both jump through hoops and agree to give up the freedom in order to do with our own money as we please. It is downright insulting in my mind. Does the government really think that we are no better than dogs, who are to beg and perform in order to receive a treat from the masters table?  Have we forgotten who the real masters here, or that the funds for which we beg are our own?

I’m tired of saying “pretty please” when dealing with government, or asking “how high?” when they deign to return a portion of my own money on the condition that I jump when they say so. We need to take a principled position, stop prostrating ourselves to government, and learn to stand on our own. The government has a basic purpose and the managing of our lives, our behaviors or our money is not among them. We need to shrink government to within its Constitutional boundaries. This will not only allow us to keep more of our own money, but it will expand freedom by removing the government’s boot from the neck (and the rear) of the American people. It is time to stop the government sanctioned plunder of the many for the benefit of a few.  I don’t want my hard earned money to go help fulfill the priorities of government or their cronies; I want it to go towards fulfilling my own.

“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.” Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850), French theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly

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