I accept government handouts

by Rocket Finance


I am dependent on the federal government. Yes, the hard right fiscal conservative who wants the central government out of education, finance, transportation, religion, speech and just about everything except for defense . . . is on the government dole. Every year I claim that entitlement known as our household tax refund.

The truth is, that we cannot make our yearly budget without our IRS “refund”. I use the term “refund” loosely because I don’t have any payroll tax (other than social security and medicare) withheld from my monthly paycheck in the first place. Yet, on Friday of this week, the federal government will make a direct deposit into my checking account. This deposit is roughly equal to a month’s pay. The refund will give us a budget surplus that will slowly flow away until the next IRS installment comes around twelve months from now. I hate being dependent on this cash and I would love to put this money toward debt retirement or invest in some type of IRA, however, we need it for our annual household budget.

Since I am a fiscal conservative, am I compromising my principles by accepting money that I did not earn? Am I participating in a government wealth distribution scheme where the IRS confiscates cash from other Americans and then spreads it in my direction? Am I a welfare recipient?

In a word: yes.

So then why do I accept the help? Let me rationalize for a bit and try to defend myself. In the end, you can be the judge of whether or not I am guilty of hypocrisy.

First, my family and I actually qualify for many other forms of government assistance that so far, our family has lived without. We qualify for free schooling, Wic, and government housing.  We have turned down these entitlements and chosen to take care of these needs on our own.

Secondly, we pay a whole lot of other taxes, including property tax, car tax, communications tax, sales tax, road tolls, social security tax, gasoline tax and more. In fact, I think income tax might be the only tax that we don’t pay. The total amount of those taxes throughout the year are certainly more than our refund.

Thirdly, I would gladly forfeit my refund if the federal government did not contribute to holding down my already low level of income. The tax rates imposed on the people who have high levels of income and the tax rates imposed on private investors work together to drive up the cost of the things we need and at the same time, drive down the wages of employees. This topic could easily be another post, but the reality is that we on the lower end of the food chain actually pay the taxes of those on the high end since they pass along their tax expenses to consumers.

Fourth, we simply don’t have a choice. Our income is being squeezed by so many different factors, that if I refused to seek our tax refund, my family would suffer.

I am grateful for the money, but that gratefulness is just how our politicians want us. They want us to look to Washington for food, education, healthcare, housing, retirement and all the rest. The problem occurs when the government implodes upon itself. We see the beginnings of government bankruptcy all over the world – Iceland, the United Kingdom, France to name a few – and those dependent on state tax refunds in California might not see the checks this year. Our federal government might not be too far behind and then where will we be? If my daughter needs treatment for cancer, I don’t want to be dependent on politicians for that treatment. HMO’s are bad enough.

The government claims to be able to protect individual citizens from any harm, economic, physical, or spiritual, holds too much power. My family’s and your family’s financial well-being should not be tied to who resides at 1400 Pennsylvania Avenue. Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

If you are one of those individuals who owe taxes this year and you don’t qualify for a refund:


I will vote to lower your taxes whenever I get the chance.

photo by: ChicagoEye

  1. 4 Responses to “I accept government handouts”

  2. By Dangerman on Feb 22, 2009 | Reply

    You’re pretty vague here, what exactly makes up your “household tax refund”? Are you saying you’re taking the Earned Income Credit? The various credits for children? People who get a “tax refund” aren’t necessarily getting other people’s money. You gotta be more specific.

  3. By rocketc on Feb 22, 2009 | Reply

    If it is money that I did not earn, then it is a handout. The EIC is other people’s money. Where do you think it comes from?

    This is the problem with running charity through the government. When a person receives help from a charity, they have the opportunity to be grateful to that organization. They know it is charity from fellow humans who have donated willingly. When the help comes from the government, we have the mistaken idea that it is from the president or Congress and they have trillions of dollars to throw around.

    The reality is that the money has been coercively taken from fellow American citizens.

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