No, it’s not free

There’s a heartwarming story in today’s WaPo that has this catchy headline in the dead-tree edition: Turns out, there is such a thing as a free lunch.

Here in the real world, it turns out there is no such thing as a “free” lunch. The WaPo article is about breakfasts and lunches that are provided to needy children without charge to the children or their parents. That means they are “free,” doesn’t it? No. It means that someone else is paying for them.

In this instance, it is the taxpayers of Montgomery County, Maryland, who are paying. Or, possibly, Federal taxpayers, if Federal taxes help to pay for these “free” meals.

The point is not to begrudge needy children of necessary food. Not at all. It is to highlight the mindset, at least of the reporter and his headline writer: when the government pays for something that is given away, that something is “free.” No, it’s not. There’s always someone who pays.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s