“It’s your money.” You’ve heard the phrase before. Each time that someone in government has a proposal to cut taxes, their argument usually rests on the premise that “it’s your money.” However, I want to challenge that premise and ask, “Is it really?” Are your tax dollars really your money?
Let’s do what Albert Einstein used to call a “thought experiment.” Imagine that you are thirsty and you walk into a gas station – imagine that you walk into Steve’s Gas Station in Pilot Knob, Missouri. After you enter the gas station, you walk over to the counter where Steve keeps all of the fountain drinks and grab yourself a large plastic cup. As soon as you get that cup, put some ice in it, and fix yourself a Coke, you have entered into an agreement with Steve’s Gas Station to pay for that Coke. Coke’s cost a dollar at Steve’s and the dollar that you have in your pocket belongs to Steve as soon as you pour that Coke. You may not know Steve (and it is likely that you don’t) and you certainly didn’t sign a contract with Steve that obligates you to pay him a dollar for that Coke, but you have still entered into an agreement with Steve. As a consequence, that dollar that you have in your pocket no longer belongs to you, it belongs to Steve. You just haven’t given it to him yet. Although you still have that dollar in your pocket, it is not your money.
We make that same kind of agreement with our community and our country just by living here. We agree that if we live in this country and wish to remain living in freedom in our country, then we must live by the rules of our governments (local, state, and federal). Just by living in our society, we use a variety of services that our society provides to us. Before we went to Steve’s to get that Coke, we drove on the state highway to get there. It is likely that we travelled on a road maintained by the county or the city before we got on the highway. Before that, in the comfort of our own home, it is likely that we used the public utilities that are regulated by our government. It is also likely that our houses are protected by the local fire departments and that our property and our persons are protected by the local law enforcement.
All of these things are kind of like that Coke at Steve’s Gas Station. We use all of these services that government provides and agree to pay for these services because we live in our community and our country and use the services that our community and our country offer us. Just like the dollar that we used to pay for the Coke at Steve’s Gas Station, we have money in our possession that does not belong to us. This is called our taxes and the money that is collected through the various payroll taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, etc. does not belong to us. This is the money that we owe because we live in our community and our country. It is the money that we owe to cover the costs associated with the things that we use each and every day. So you see, this is not our money and to suggest that it is our money is to say that we are somehow separate from the social contract that we have made with our country and our community by living here.
Recently, our government just passed a law keeping our taxes artificially low. I use the phrase “artificially low” because we have a huge budget deficit and can’t even pay for the essential services that we are currently offering the members of our society. In order to pay for these services, we borrow the balance of the money from other nations – nations like China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. You see, by allowing our government to keep our taxes artificially low and borrow the money to perform the essential functions of government from the Chinese is the equivalent of endorsing theft. It is like saying that it is OK to go to Steve’s Gas Station, pour yourself a Coke, and walk out of the door without surrendering that dollar in your wallet. It is endorsing theft from your community and your country. Specifically, given the fact that much of this money is going to be borrowed from China, it is endorsing theft from the grandchildren that you haven’t even had yet. This is what we should think of when we hear people say “It’s your money.”
When we hear the phrase, “It’s your money,” we should think to ourselves, “Here is a person who does not believe in the social contract that we have with one another.” Here is a person who does not believe in paying his or her fair share. Here is a freeloader – no, a thief that has no problems stealing the potential wealth of your grandchildren. These people are not loyal to America – they are only loyal to themselves. They have no regard for the poor, the elderly, the sick… they don’t even have any regard for their unborn grandchildren. Not only are these people anti-American, but given their intergenerational theft, they are also anti-Christian. They are a danger to our country and our community. The next time that we hear someone say “It’s your money,” I can only hope that we have the strength and courage to stand up and say, “No, it’s not.”