Recognizing (my) government subsidies

25 04 2011

The list of government subsidies that I benefit from is pretty lengthly.  Here are just a few of the DIRECT government subsidies that I can think of…

1) Tax deduction for interest paid on my house loan

2) Government payments on the small amount of farmland that my wife and I own

3) Crop insurance subsidies for a proportion of our crop revenue coverage as a crop share land owner

4) Income tax deductions for each of my children

5) State matching support for my government employee retirement account

6) Tax deductions for my church / religious charitable giving

On the surface, all else being equal, my family and myself have benefited financially from each of these elements of tax support.  But in a macro economic, wholistic systems sense, this level of government support is unsustainable (with millions of U.S. citizens all involved in receiving similar tax subsidies).   In my desire to protect my own government subsidies, am I unwilling to recognize the that the broader U.S. economy and the economic livelihood of my children for decades to come is put at risk by this much government support? Am I myself a “tragedy of the commons” in regards to my lack of recognition of how my portion of the government “pie” is a significant part of the cumulative budget problem here in the U.S.?

My contention is that we in the U.S.  (me first) have to recognize that without the elimination or at least more effective targeting of these government subsidies (or changing them to a true safety net for the most needy instead of an entitlement program for all), the economic future of the country is at risk.  I want my children to have an opportunity to make an honest living in the future.  The subsidies for my house, my farmland, my crop insurance, my charitable giving, and yes, even my child tax credits likely need to go.  IF I had a lower tax rate with equitable application across the U.S. tax payer base, I may end up better off financially.  These subsidies from the government have made us weak, timid and fearful —- scared to independently take responsibility for our own finances apart from government support.

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