After getting home from work you get a statement in the mail from the local government saying you owe $20,000 for college tuition. You’re surprised to receive the bill since (a) you never went to college yourself and (b) your own children are still in preschool. Upon reading the fine print you discover the expected payment is not to cover any costs you’ve incurred but to pay for the tuition of college students in your neighborhood.
Outraged, you turn to your neighbors to complain about the injustice. They assure you, though, that this is nothing to be concerned about. Americans aren’t paying more for college tuition, one explains, “The only change is how we now pay for college.” Before, individuals were expected to cover their costs of attending college. Now, everyone is expected to pay. “So you see,” another says cheerfully, “there’s no real change.”
After hearing this you would probably want to move to a new neighborhood since you are surrounded by people who can’t distinguish between your money and a collective pool of cash that can be distributed at the whim of the government.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a completely hypothetical scenario. This is the actual rationale some people are making to justify presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders proposal for $18 trillion in spending. In the Washington Post, Paul Waldman says,