Friday, July 09, 2004

$20,000 to save a life - not my money

Today's topic from my book: Direct Taxes.

It seems some Republicans (you know, the fiscally conservative party) are spending $60 million of our tax dollars to prevent suicide by college students. The story on the Senator Smith sponsored bill is here.

Near the end of the story, it mentions that 30,000 people kill themselves a year. Sen. Smith's press release puts number of youths that the bill is focusing on at 3,000.

So it's $60 million bucks to try to save 3,000 kids-or $20,000 each. Thas is if the program is totally successful. If only 10% (300 kids) are saved from themselves, which I think is optimistic, that means the per life cost is $200,000. The Senate will pass this bill because one of their own is crying over his kids, but I'm not responsible for that and their making me pay for it.

My own family is marred by suicide in each generation that I know about often multiple times and I would gladly pay $20,000 or $200,000 to get them back, but I'm not forcing others to cough up the money.

What Sens Smith, et al is doing is taking money already wrongly taxed away from the productive sector into the public sector. Each little chip like this lowers the productive, gains and wealth we might have.