“There have been many mistakes made by the government. They should pay for most of the damage and not the people.” — Maria Stasini, 42-year-old Greek taxi driver, quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek, July 11, 2011.
Our Greek taxi driver makes the mistake of thinking that the government is somehow separate from the people or has resources or power other than that derived from those it governs.
In a democratic society we elect our leaders, thus collectively we are responsible for the government we get. There is no they, there is no them, there is only the collective us. Every American with an IQ north of 90 knew that house prices could not rise in double-digit value year after year, yet we collectively allowed the party to go on, no collective will to yell out that the Emperor has no clothes.
More often then not, there is no them, there is only the collective we. When we accept that, we also must accept that there are no free lunches and entitlements are simply our and our neighbor’s taxes returned to us, minus processing costs.
“Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.” — Claude Frédéric Bastiat (1801–1850)