A fool and his money

A FOOL AND HIS MONEY…. Jonah Goldberg explains his opposition to President Obama’s economic agenda, and what he wants to do about it.

I just don’t want to pay for it. It’s not that I don’t want government to do nice things for deserving people in certain circumstances. It’s not necessarily that I’m hostile to this group of beneficiaries or that (though I am in fact hostile to some). It’s that I think most of Obama’s ideas will not work, will be a waste of money and will hurt the economy. And, flatly, I don’t want to pay for it. I don’t want to break the law. I don’t want pull a Geithner or a Daschle or anything like that. But I don’t want to pay for it. I will look for every means within the boundaries of the law to minimize what I pay in taxes and I make no apologies for that whatsoever.

Goldberg was a little vague as to what “it” is he doesn’t like. Infrastructure investment? Student loans? Food stamps?

In any case, I found this interesting, in part because I know some friends who expressed a very similar sentiment a few years ago. It’s not that they didn’t want the government to have a military; it’s that they thought Bush’s policy in Iraq would not work, it would be a waste of money, and it would undermine U.S. national security interests. And, flatly, they didn’t want to pay for it.

But they did anyway, because they’re law-abiding citizens living in the United States. We’re not given the option to pick and choose which programs get our tax dollars and which do not. We elect people who make these spending decisions on our behalf, and if we don’t like those decisions, we vote for someone else.

Goldberg concludes, however, that he’s looking for guidance about how to follow the law while also denying the government funding. The available options are limited, but off the top of my head, and motivated solely by my desire to help Jonah Goldberg, I can think of two alternatives.

First, most of the money Goldberg pays to the government comes by way of income taxes. As such, if he wants to undermine the government’s economic policies, he’ll need to make less money. In fact, I suspect Goldberg is compensated fairly well, so he’ll have to cut back a lot. By writing much less, he’ll pay the government much less, and in turn, he’ll have far less to do with whatever “it” is he doesn’t want the Obama administration to do.

Second, he can leave the country. If an American citizen is really offended by the decisions of the U.S. government, and his or her preferred candidates keep losing elections, he or she can withhold financial support by going to some other country, whose economic policies they find more appealing.

Beyond those options, I’m afraid Goldberg’s out of luck. Am I missing any alternatives?

Update: To clarify a good point Atrios raised, when I said Jonah “can leave the country,” I should have said, he can “become a citizen of some other country.” It’s not enough to just move, because Americans working outside the country are still taxed. Goldberg would have to give up his citizenship altogether and find some low-tax, small-government country. I hear New Zealand is a favorite of the tort-reform crowd.

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