-Apocryphal (often spuriously attributed to Mark Twain)
- There is no such thing as "taxpayer money."
- Taxes do not pay for government spending. (Nor does debt. No revenue is needed.)
- Leftists who continue to talk as if "taxpayer dollars" must be collected to "pay for" government programs are undermining Medicare-for-all and every other progressive policy initiative.
I know these assertions run counter to an economic ideology that has been ingrained in us as obvious and irrefutable, known for sure. And I know how easy and seemingly effective it is to say things like: "Look at all the taxpayer dollars going to the military. We should spend some of those taxpayer dollars on healthcare instead." But I want to show, with specific examples, why using this language is a bad idea--a really bad idea.
There are two reasons why it's important to stop talking like this: 1) Because it's not true, and 2) Because it perpetuates an ideology of how money and public financing work that is not only false, but profoundly reactionary and politically damaging--that is designed to, and will, impede achieving the most basic progressive goals.