February 09, 2005

The Ownership Society

What is it that we actually own? The best answer I've heard is that you own whatever you can get and keep. This explication allows for the economic truism that nothing is without cost. You got your house by convincing others to loan you money to buy it. Once you have paid them off, you must continue to pay property taxes to keep it.

There are always costs associated with both the getting and the keeping of property. Even if the state didn't tax your property, you would still incur economic costs of ownership. Like the cost of defending your grasp on whatever you claim to own againt those who would steal it or trick you out of it.

Critics of Bush's Ownership Society come in many flavors, but they are all simply trying to keep whatever it is they think they have now. They feel they own their cut of giver-mint entitlements. Their delusions include ownership of rights which spring only from the state: housing, food, cheap shit. The problem, for me, is that they want others to pay the 'cost of keeping' these ephemeral properties. I won't be chipping in.

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