Recent payouts by the federal government whether during the COVID pandemic or more recently via student loan forgiveness, feel a little bit like a lottery system. In a wild spree of funding the feds have been savvy to include a wide net of beneficiaries. As long as everyone is getting a taste, there are fewer objections to the outlays of cash.
I remember reading how one single mom was genuinely grateful as she was planning on spending her COVID money on passports for herself and her children. She explained that the $130 per person fee was otherwise a luxury she couldn’t justify. But with the windfall, she would find a way to take her kids on a trip abroad. As a steadfast supporter of travel, I admire her decision. Her kids will learn more through travel than through many other educational venues.
People also spent their dollars on home improvements. Appliances are still on backorder, depending on what country they originate from. Another couple I know excavated their aging sewer line. These are all great purchases. When you improve your home you are partly just transferring money from a savings account to an equity-in-my-home account. The other portion, not retained in your home’s value, you will appreciate every day when the whisper of your new Bosch dishwasher does not interfere with your favorite NetFlix series
The lottery system creates mad money- you won’t starve without passports or silent dishwashers, but they sure are nice to have.
But this leads us to question whether the American people are really that bad off in the first place. That’s what we are being told. Many voice excessive rents, struggles, and need. But if the need was that great, wouldn’t there be a desire to get desperate funds to desperate people? Wouldn’t the power players try to direct the most funds away from those who can and towards those who have none?
I’m not here to minimize the fact that in America we have people who are destitute. We do. And we should help them. I just think we are being oversold on the level of need. And the proof is in the papering of ‘relief’ funding across all age groups and income levels. People who earn 100K are not needy. If you want to run policy like a lottery- just call it what it is.