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Conditioned to Spend

by on July 28, 2011

Some who lack access to residential air conditioning during this most whine-inducing of summers apparently can’t just see a movie like everyone else. Even Green Lantern would be worth enduring if it means getting to enjoy 105 minutes in a delightfully frigid climate. The cinema is also apparently a good place to hold a conversation and check one’s texts.

Maybe New York State would subsidize the tickets. After all, they’re already buying air conditioners for people who don’t have them. It’s naturally in the name of compassion, which is their word for spending other people’s money:

Low-income New Yorkers may be eligible for a free air conditioner.

The state has set aside $3 million through the Home Energy Assistance Program to provide AC’s for more than 3,700 homes. You must meet low-income guidelines and have at leat [sic] one person in your home diagnosed with a medical condition aggravated by extreme heat.

There’s huge a difference between feeling concern for people whose conditions mean they could use a cool room and assuming it’s a state’s job to provide them. Having a person in a household with medical issues should provide motivation to either save for such a purchase or turn to charity, not wait for the government to care for them. But it’s easier to portray Republicans as being eager to push sweaty grandmas off cliffs. They can add CGI sweat.

Why strive to make enough to make purchases? Potential recipients are required to “have no working air conditioners,” so people are better off without buying their own. Leave it to Albany to provide motivation for people not to obtain their own material goods.

It’s easy to forget that A/C is a luxury. Heartless people factually point out that the devices are one of numerous goodies commonly available to people under the poverty line in this nation. European kings in 1900 would gladly give it all away to be poor in America today. You probably won’t even have to eat dirt soup.

Fans of mandatory benevolence need to shriek as loudly as possible about how Albany cares for people in financial and medical need. That’s their way of justifying taking $3 million out of the economy. But what if people had been allowed to keep their earnings? Among other things, some could have donated to, oh, a fund that bought air conditioners for the underprivileged.

One of the benefits of letting people voluntarily helping those in need, aside from how people will actually voluntarily help those in need, is that private charities would have shopped around. By contrast and without surprise, the government did not.

Specifically, a $3 million fund to provide air conditioners for 3,700 residences comes to around $810 per recipient. It’s a tremendous ripoff even for this state’s government that stands as the equivalent of the price of created or saved stimulus jobs. The only excuse would be if they’re buying more than one unit per home, which would itself be inexcusable. New York spends way more than it should apparently because things would seem funny if it didn’t.

On a related note, the same money also could have been earned had it not been taken from the economy. People could have bought their own room coolers if rich jerks were using that money to either buy stuff or add to payrolls, two transactions that benefit the lower economic classes and thus allow them to make air frigid on their own.

Letting that money stay out of the state’s hands would have made it easier for people in low-wage groups to take care of themselves. A better economy allows more people to essentially find around 200 dollars to stick in a window. This state was already sweating its ass off before it assumed that people can’t address yet one more of their own needs.

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