Free stuff vs. public goods

At a recent Bronx town hall meeting, NY-14 congressional representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declared in a fiery, finger-wagging statement, "I never want to hear the term 'free stuff' again."  By "free stuff," she's referring to a plethora of no-cost-to-the-consumer campaign promises concerning college tuition, health care, and subsidized housing.  Later she tweeted, "Public education, libraries, and infrastructure policies are not free stuff.  They are public goods and they are worth investing in, protecting, and advancing for all society and future generations."

She's right about one thing — libraries, K–12 public education, and infrastructure are not free.  These things are provided thanks to public taxation.  She's dead wrong about college tuition, health care and housing; these are not public goods, they are not free, and taxing the public will never cover the true cost.

As every devoted Marxist knows, clever semantics is the first rule of thumb when conning the gullible.  Apparently, the term "free stuff" isn't rallying enough people to the "Socialism for Everyone" cause, therefore the task is redefining the promise of free stuff to public goods.  Word salad, to be sure.

As usual, the congresswoman is confused and has attempted to conflate taxpayer-supported public goods — education, libraries, and infrastructure — with commodities such as a college education, health care, and housing.  Public goods (funded by taxation) are not the same as a saleable commodity.  In plain speak, commodities are goods and services offered to the public at a price.  I've yet to drive across a city bridge and to which I saw a "for sale" sign attached.  Of course, Sandy O's mash-up of terms has more to do with inspiring memes for votes.   

Despite the radical socialist attempt to lure voters into a free stuff coma, the American public is not so easily hoodwinked.  In fact, like Mike Rowe, the dirty jobs guy, voters are not convinced that every high school graduate is college material, nor deserving of tuition-free education.

Mr. Rowe is also of the opinion that it's not his responsibility to pay off the accumulated $1.3-trillion student loan debt.  Same rings true for the Medicare for All scam.  Elizabeth Warren has yet to convince voters that the cost will be borne by billionaires; however, her opponent, Bernie Sanders, was honest enough to admit that the middle class will be clobbered by taxes.  And despite the naïve N.Y. congresswoman's claim of housing being an American right, I've scoured the Bill of Rights and can't find where it says so.  Housing is what one can afford and explains why so many Millennials are still living with their parents.  They're up to their eyeballs in student loan debt and can't afford to live on their own.  And if they can't afford housing, they won't be able to pay the taxes for all of the free stuff Sandy O now deems public goods.  

To date, no American politician campaigning for office has ever won an election by promising to raise taxes through the roof.  Who can forget when George Bush, Sr. promised not to raise taxes ("Read my lips") and then proceeded to do just the opposite?  He lost re-election, and for good reason: he lied.  So significant is the actual cost of providing the socialist cornucopia of no-cost public goods that it's impossible to calculate, much less estimate the necessary increase in taxes.  Even so, the cost of Medicare for All is somewhere in the ballpark of $34 trillion over a 10-year period.  College tuition?  Once again, Bernie Sanders was honest, admitting that his tuition-free college education plan will cost $47 billion a year, with one caveat: he plans to make Wall Street pay for it.  To my knowledge, no candidate has ever addressed the cost, estimated or actual, to make free housing a reality.  

The socialist's grand schemes aside, at no time in American history has the true cost of funding American social programs ever come close to proposed estimates.  Politicians of yore promised that both Social Security and Medicare would pay for themselves.  In truth, both programs are racing toward the day, a mere 16 years from now, when monthly benefits will be reduced to 75% of what was promised.  The Affordable Care Act was a grandiose misnomer, just as Ocasio-Cortez's public goods meme is a disingenuous crock.

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