In the Boston Globe of February 26, 2007 we learn that Governor Deval Patrick seeks a $72 million hike in health aid that would boost prevention and add 3 inoculations.
Of course the announcement delighted public health advocates, who have seen the state’s prevention programs depleted by budget cuts in recent years.
We also learn that the Governor would spend an additional $13 million to turn about 800 of the state’s 1,500 half-day kindergarten classrooms into full-day programs, and that he would provide about $200 million more for public education next year.
And that in his budget for the 2008 fiscal year, which begins July 1, the state would:
“Increase funding for early intervention programs by $3.8 million, which would provide services of social workers, developmental specialists, and other therapists to young children under 3 to meet the expected 2.5 percent increase in demand next year.
“Increase funding for health promotion and disease prevention by $21.6 million, a 168 percent increase over this fiscal year, according to the governor’s office. … The $12 million increase for the state’s smoking prevention and cessation program would be the largest since 1999, according to the governor’s office.
“Increase spending on the state’s universal immunization program by $24.8 million, a 67 percent increase over this fiscal year, to add three new vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” **
The Governor, were told, has not yet explained how he would pay for all this. We’re not surprised. Politicians talk much about what they’re going to spend, little about where the new monies will come from.
The state is already facing a $1.3 billion budget deficit. Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, had this to say in response to the Governor’s proposals, "I am surprised, given the tight budget, that they’ve been able to find this much money." Aren’t we all?
The Governor, or course, has nothing to say about the “man,” the taxpayer, who would fund his new spending initiatives. Among politicians, including presidents as well as governors, there is as a rule little or no mention of the taxpayer, the “forgotten man.” The subject is rather how the tax money will be distributed, never the justice or validity or legitimacy of the imposition of taxes on the working public.
Perhaps the best case for the tax payer, or Forgotten Man, was made by William Graham Sumner in an essay, entitled, "On the Case of a Certain Man Who Is Never Thought Of," originally published in 1883, as part of Sumner’s book, “What the Social Classes Owe to Each Other.”
According to Sumner the Governor (or President) and his aides put their heads together to decide what the tax payer should be made to do for those who do not pay taxes (other than on consumption) and are not able to provide for themselves. The taxpayer is never allowed a voice in these matters and his position, character, and interests are as a rule entirely overlooked, hence the term “Forgotten Man.”
Politicians seem to regularly forget that a government produces nothing at all, and that the state cannot get a cent for any man without taking it from some other man, and that this latter must be a man who has produced and saved it.
Governor Patrick is not without certain benevolent feelings toward "the poor," "the weak," those without health care, and other such. “These investments," he says, "will not only save lives, but also reduce treatment costs in the future." But his proposals, all government expenditures, are only possible by the transfer of capital from the better to the worse off.
Now there are always two parties to any government scheme of the transfer of wealth, those on the receiving end, and those from whom the wealth is taken. The latter, represented by our forgotten man, is “worthy, industrious, independent, and self-supporting. He is not ‘poor’ or ‘weak.’ He minds his own business, makes no complaint, and consequently the politicians never think of him and trample on him.”
Here are Sumner’s own concluding words to his essay:
‘The fallacy of all prohibitory, sumptuary, and moral legislation is the same. A and B determine to be teetotalers, which is often a wise determination, and sometimes a necessary one. If A and B are moved by considerations which seem to them good, that is enough. But A and B put their heads together to get a law passed which shall force C to be a teetotaler for the sake of D, who is in danger of drinking too much. There is no pressure on A and B. They are having their own way, and they like it. There is rarely any pressure on D. He does not like it, and evades it. The pressure all comes on C.
“The question then arises, Who is C? He is the man who wants alcoholic liquors for any honest purpose whatsoever, who would use his liberty without abusing it, who would occasion no public question, and trouble nobody at all. He is the Forgotten Man again, and as soon as he is drawn from his obscurity we see that he is just what each one of us ought to be.”
(**That these numbers be put in perspective, be aware that the 2006
Massachusetts state budget appropriations were just over $26 billion,
with the largest single amount, $11.2 billion, going to health and
human services. Education was second, with appropriations amounting to
just over $5.5 billion.)