Just when Democrats are on the verge of proving that they’re the most economically illiterate creatures to walk the earth, the Republicans get all jealous and start yelling and jumping up and down until everyone who’s paying attention recognizes that it’s always and evermore a dead tie.
Here’s a little something House Minority Leader Cross and others upset with the idea that schools pay for their staffs’ pensions may want to try getting their heads around:
Having to pay for goods and services you asked for and received isn’t “cost shifting.” It’s just “cost.”
Taxing satellite TV providers in order to give money to education is cost shifting. Taxing smokers to give money to Medicaid is cost shifting. Taxing strip clubs to give money to women’s shelters is cost shifting. Taxing offshore oil rigs to give money to education is cost shifting.
See a trend here? You’re funding a benefit (“cost”) for one group of people by taking money from a completely unrelated group of people (“shift”) who won’t receive a benefit. This shouldn’t be hard to grasp as it currently comprises 98% of all government activity.
Say for some reason and in spite of all evidence, you believed someone when they promised they would pick up the tab for half of something you where considering buying. So you signed up for a whole lot of extra bells and whistles that you otherwise couldn’t afford and wouldn’t have ordered.
Time passes, and as actuarial reality sets in, you are presented with the bill for all of those goods and services you’ve received. It may be accurate to yell “fraud!,” or maybe “Ponzi!” (or what I yell — “told you so!”) but it is most definitely not cost shifting.
So please watch your words. There may be children reading.