“Nothing in life is free,” my mom always used to tell me, “You’re always paying for it somehow.”
She used to get onto us whenever we said we were getting something “for free.”
It was a pet peeve of hers, but a good pet peeve nonetheless. It taught me and my siblings that there’s no such thing as a “free lunch” (or free LEGOs for that matter).
It wasn’t so much of an economic lesson as it was a life lesson.
You might think you’re getting something for free. You might think it’s “free shipping.” You might think it’s a free doctor’s visit.
In reality, it’s not.
Someone (most of the time my parents) paid for it. It just seemed free to us. We were kids, we didn’t know any better.
But as I got older this simple proverb started to make more sense.
I was used to applying it to my life in general. It never went past the boundaries of online shopping.
That is, until I moved it into the world of economics.
Here’s 3 lessons I learned after applying my mother’s advice to the world of politics and economics…
Nothing is Free When it comes from the Government
Free high-school? Free Community College? Free Healthcare?
It says it’s free. It sounds free. Even your representative in Congress says it is.
But it isn’t.
The government is incapable of giving out free stuff for two reasons…
- The government doesn’t create wealth
- The government pays for everything with taxes…your taxes
Someone is always paying for your “free meal.” Sometimes it’s you, sometimes it’s the faceless billionaire living in his luxurious beachside house.
Either way, it’s never free.
Anyone Who Offers You Free Stuff is Lying
Politicians love using the word “free.” It’s a great marketing scheme for them.
People love free stuff.
Nobody likes worrying about financial issues. So if they get to go to a community college for free, they’ll take it.
Free is used as a selling point for the masses.
It’s also the ultimate teaser.
Think of all those websites that offer you a free 30 day trial, or free shipping, or free access. They’re doing that because everyone likes a free offer.
Then there’s the occasional sketchy ice cream man selling “free popsicles” to children.
This is what politicians do. They create a bill, then they have to market it.
They say it’s free. They give you free access, free shipping, and a 30 day free trial, all at once.
But in the end, they’re still that creepy dude selling “free popsicles” at a kids’ park.
If it Sounds too Good to be True, it Probably is
This is how your grandma ended up with her money, identity, and social security stolen instead of receiving a Nigerian prince’s inheritance.
It sounded too good to be true…
Politicians are great at this.
They offer things that are too good to be true.
Free community college. Free healthcare. Free public education. All too good to be true.
If someone says it’s free, you should stop and analyze the facts surrounding it.
Is it really free? What makes it free? How does this affect me?
So many things in life sound good at first, only to turn out subpar later on.
Every time I hear politicians spouting their revolutionary free programs I hear my mom’s voice in my head.
“Nothing in life is free.”
She might not have meant it in that context, but I’m sure she doesn’t mind it.
The fact that I remembered her advice from my childhood would put a smile on her face.