“Free” is a word that’s been overused and abused in recent times. Here’s one definition from the online Oxford Dictionary that’s relevant to my point:
Given or available without charge: free health care.
Notice that is doesn’t say, there’s no cost. Free health care, or free anything else, is simply given without charge to the recipient. It doesn’t come at no cost.
To this, add “free phones”, “free college”, etc. A similar sentiment is expressed by the phrase, “The government will pay for it.”
Let’s start with the last one first, although they’re really all related. The government gets their money from us, the taxpayers. No matter how you feel about what they spend our money on, the money comes from us, and from the people who make up the government as individual taxpayers and spenders. True, the government can and does print money that’s not back by anything worthwhile, but when they pay, we pay. There is always a cost.
If you think about it for a moment, you’ll realize that nothing can really be free. In health care, doctors, nurses, orderlies, secretaries, everyone who work in the hospital or office, must be paid. Drug companies, hospital equipment companies, all those who supply health products, office products, even toilet paper for bathroom in all these places, need to be paid or paid for. Despite objections, legitimate or not, to what companies might charge for drugs, there are high costs associated with bringing a drug or any other innovation to market. Supply companies have to be paid so their workers can be paid, so they can buy more materials to produce more goods, etc, etc., etc.
Teachers, administrators, janitors, and other have to be paid at colleges. People who work in the dining hall, making and dishing out the much-abused food must be paid. Food must be bought. Dining halls, dorms and campuses need to be cleaned. There are myriad costs, even when those costs are inflated. Donations pay for some things, but there are still high costs.
Free phones? Just continue the thought. Someone somewhere pays.
My point? No matter on which side of the political aisle you find yourself, be honest. Nothing is free. You may use things you didn’t pay for to garner favor or votes for yourself. You may give away things for a worthy cause.
But none of them are free.
To paraphrase Janis Joplin, these days “Free is just another word.”
Apologies to everyone who read, subscribed and commented on the tea blog I mentioned yesterday. For reasons that will remain unpublished, I have to take it down. Thanks for your support and enthusiasm.