If you're just joining us, Craig Westover and I started our conversation with this story about social services providers continuing to work through the government shudown, and then we discussed his "first lesson" here.
His original response to my post continued:
The second lesson is about economics and my statement “Government cannot do anything for anybody until it first takes the resources from the private sector that produces the wealth that makes compassion possible.”
Roxanne Williams is able to provide the service she does – even at her own expense – because there are millions of people going to work everyday to produce products and deliver services (and pay taxes) that ultimately provide her the resources (not just money) that make her service possible. These people go to work for their own reasons and not to help low-income parents find daycare.
Yet one of the consequences of their action is Roxanne Williams can provide daycare. Without their effort producing wealth, Roxanne Williams can’t provide daycare.
And my response here starts a second thread in the discussion:
No argument from me, Craig. The nature of government is to fund its activities through taxes. Some of us consider it a duty to pay taxes; some consider taxes theft; and most of us do what we can to keep our personal taxes as low as possible.
Also agreed, we go to work for our own reasons — and for the most part, we are not thinking about others all that much. Even when I show up as a volunteer with preschool children in a homeless shelter, I am not working purely for the children in the room that day. If I did not feel personally rewarded by my efforts, I would do something else.
So far, we're in reasonable alignment with each other. Hooray for everyone who goes to work every day to provide services, create wealth and pay taxes!
Then you say: "Without their effort producing wealth, Roxanne Williams can’t provide daycare." Roxanne Williams, though, is a private contractor. She happens to serve a low-income segment of the market, which receives some subsidy.
So perhaps you meant, without others producing wealth, her poor clients couldn't afford daycare.
Many years ago I interviewed a man who was instrumental in the massive urban renewal effort that erased the Washington Avenue skid row in Minneapolis. What happened to all those people who lived and worked there, I asked.
They just went away, he said, as if that were a satisfactory answer.
That seems to be subtext of what small government advocates call "reform."
You punted my last attempt at this question, but it matters to progressives: "What happens to these low-income families and children if the government gets out of the daycare subsidy business?"