Friday, October 19, 2007

Plundering "For The Children"

I had lunch with some friends yesterday, and we were talking about taxes. We went around on several subjects, and eventually landed on property taxes. I made the comment that I believed that using property taxes on county education is immoral, since those without children are forced to pay to educate other people's kids. This drew a sharp disagreement from one buddy of mine, and the fight was on. To fully set the stage it should be noted that I do not have any kids (but might someday), while my friend does.

My friend made the typical comment I hear on this topic, that it's like police and fire services, because "we all benefit from having educated children that don't become criminals." Hogwash. Everyone benefits equally from having emergency services in a municipality. With taxpayer-funded education, those with children reap huge, immediate financial rewards, while the rest receive only some vague philosophical "benefit to society." And if your children become criminals, it's not because of a lack of education, it's because of a lack of parenting skills.

I'd like someone to explain to me where the justice is in this. We're not talking about people that can't afford to educate their child. My friend has two household incomes, his (which is about equal to mine), and his wife's. He lives in a much nicer house, and has a much nicer car (actually his is pretty lame, but his wife's is much nicer than mine), and has a much larger stock portfolio. So in spite of their significantly higher household income and assets, they get to pick my pockets to educate their child? Insanity.

My point is that if it's too expensive to raise your child, here's a novel concept: don't have children you can't afford. When I made this point, I got the end-all most nonsensical response ever from my friend. He said "education is not part of raising a child, and not my responsibility." Huh?!? You have a child and educating that child is not your responsibility? Who the hell's responsibility is it? The government? The government has no resources other than what they seize from other people. So it's therefore everybody's responsibility equally, and you have no more interest in it than I do? How the hell do people come up with positions like that? If I have an equal interest in the education of your child, then I want equal say in exactly what your child learns, which courses he or she takes in high school, whether he or she can go on field trips, whether the school can offer sex ed and contraception to that child, and all the rest of the rights mistakenly given to parents. I have to protect my interest, after all.

It's tough to view your friends the same way when they look you right in the eye and tell you they think it's fine if they steal from you for their own enrichment, as long as they use government as in intermediary agent. This same friend once told me on a similar topic that I was just being "selfish" because I didn't want to pay taxes to fund things like education. I don't want to willingly give you money that you did not earn to support your lifestyle choice of having children, and that somehow makes me the selfish one...sorry, but I don't see it.