Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My cat and other people's money 

If this letter doesn't get Learned Foot back to his post at KAR, nothing will.
Last week I spent hundreds of dollars at the vet on routine medical care for my aging cat.
Well yeah, if you've decided to make a pet a member of your family, you probably don't cut back Fluffy's medical care first. You do cut back on the teeth cleanings, and in a pinch you might decide to sacrifice the furniture rather than getting Missy de-clawed, but the rabies shot is probably a necessity rather than a luxury good. 40% of us would rather have our dog on a desert island than our spouse; 10% more would go for the cat.
My cat gets better health care than some people. This is an outrage.
Your threshold for outrage, madam, is different than mine. My daughter gets a ride to school in the morning in a better car than some of her classmates. Is this an outrage? I got the king-size fry at Burger King at lunch yesterday, while the kid next to me could only afford a medium. Is this an outrage? And what would you have me do about it?
If I can afford to pay these kinds of vet bills, I can afford to pay higher taxes to prevent thousands of my fellow Minnesotans from losing their health care in the current legislative effort to balance the state budget.
Well then, dear lady, be my guest! According to American for Tax Reform's Center for Fiscal Accountability, you can send a check payable to "State of Minnesota" and mail it to

Minnesota Department of Finance
400 Centennial Office Building
658 Cedar Street
St. Paul, MN 55155

Here's the statute that permits them to accept your cash. You can also put them in your will, or have your dividends from your patrician stock holdings dedicated to deficit reduction. Just give Finance a call, and they'll make it happen for you.

You're welcome. I'm glad to help you send that money along and allow you to feel better about taking care of that cat.

But wait, there's more:
Those of us who can afford higher taxes and believe in humane public policy should let our legislators know we support raising revenue as well as cutting costs and improving efficiency to balance the budget.
At last we find out the logic. Because I own a cat (voluntarily) and get him or her health care (voluntarily, without calls for providing public health insurance to millions of Fluffies and Fidos by resort to a cap-and-trade program), I am entitled to write a letter that would support "raising revenue". When the letterwriter chooses to take her cat to the vet, it's done instead of something else. She cuts back on spending elsewhere. But because she makes that choice, she has the right to demand that government confiscate your money to buy something for someone else's benefit.

Because only you have to balance a budget without resorting to force. Governments don't have to do that.

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