Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Friday, October 31, 2014

MCPP Commentary

Federal Dollars Aren't Free

December 12, 2012

Click here to listen to this Vital Signs commentary

“Fed-er-al Dollars Are Not Free”

In the first episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, Jed Clampett’s sister asks how much the oil company is going to pay him for the oil on his property. Jed said, “Twelve dollars.” His sister was shocked: “Only twelve dollars?!” Jed replied, “Yeah, but it’s some new kind of dollar. I’ve heard of paper dollars, and I’ve heard of silver dollars, but these are called mill-ee-yun’ dollars.” Most politicians at the state and local level seem to think Washington invented a new kind of dollar that doesn’t cost anybody anything. It’s called a “fed-er-al” dollar.

These fed-er-al dollars are highly addictive, and like a crack addict needing a fix, state and local politicians will do anything - even burden their children with debt - to get more of this magical stardust.

Whether it is for Medicaid or the health insurance exchange or any number of programs that might have a good-hearted purpose, fed-er-al dollars always come in sheep’s clothing, and while they might start with few strings attached, they eventually demand ultimate loyalty, and our addiction causes us to surrender.

For the right way to govern, go to governingbyprinciple.org.

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