Free Stuff Isn't Really Free
America is truly becoming the land of the free. Or at least, that’s the way some would have it.
Free food. Free college. And of course, free money. Free everything, it seems.
In the past couple years, so many free programs have been proposed, it’s hard to keep count. Here are a few of them:
President Biden wants to make two years of community college free for all students. CNBC says this would cost taxpayers around $109 billion.
Biden also proposed eliminating student loan debt for anyone from a family that makes less than $125,000. If he can’t manage that, other Democrat leaders want Biden to at least cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for all borrowers. In addition to that, he wants everyone to have $10,000 taken off their student loan debt.
President Biden also wants to help young people buy their first house by giving them a $15,000 credit towards a down payment. Genworth Mortgage Insurance reported there were 2.38 million first-time homebuyers in 2020, so this program would have cost over $35 billion.
Elliot Haspel, author of a recent book about childcare in America, believes every couple with children should receive $15,000 for their first child and smaller amounts for any other kids they have to help pay for childcare. Statista.com says there are over 33 million parents with kids under the age of 11. This program would cost over $502 billion.
Vice President Harris has promoted the LIFT Act as a way to help the middle class. It would provide a $3,000 tax credit for single people and $6,000 for married couples who meet certain income requirements. The cost? $270 billion each year.
Illinois, recently passed a law requiring schools to provide menstrual products for free in every bathroom for students in 6th-12th grade. These products will be available not only in the female restrooms, but also the male restrooms, effectively doubling the cost.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 25 million students in public schools were eligible for free or reduced lunch across the country in 2016. Some districts, such as Springfield School District 186, offer not only lunch, but breakfast as well to every student for free. The students don’t have to qualify or apply for these free meals.
The clamor for the US to pay reparations to descendants of slaves has never been louder. CNBC reports the cost of doing so will be between $10 trillion and $12 trillion.
Some women have been promoting the “Marshall Plan for Moms”, which advocates paying stay-at-home-moms $2,400 a month during the pandemic for all the work they do at home. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated there were around 10 million stay-at-home moms in the U.S. earlier this year. Paying 10 million moms $2,400 totals $24 billion. And that’s just for one month.
Mayors for a Guaranteed Income want the government to provide a monthly cash payment to individuals with no strings attached and no work requirements. Over two dozen cities are experimenting with the idea: most of the programs are giving around $500 each month to a few citizens in a pilot group. Datacenter.org reports there were over 255 million adults in the U.S. in 2019. If each of them were given $500, it would cost taxpayers more than $127 billion. Every month.
This list, while long, is nowhere near exhaustive. If each of these programs was implemented for just one year, the cost would be well over $13 trillion.
I’m not necessarily against all of these programs. A lot of them sound good, and I think the creators have good intentions.
But most people have forgotten that nothing is ever truly free. Giving Americans over $13 trillion worth of goods and services – and remember, that’s the estimated cost for just one year of these programs – will cost U.S. taxpayers, well, $13 trillion.
Everybody loves free stuff, but the U.S. national debt is already over $28 trillion. We have to ask ourselves: Exactly how high do we want our taxes to be?