Wrong Analogy


budget (Photo credit: 401K)

Often people compare a government‘s budget to a family budget. It’s sort of an easy, automatic thought. “If  I have to live within my means, the government should.”

Yet if you think it through that is just poor thinking. Your family has no or little defense spending. Maybe you’ve got an alarm service, but you don’t need to wage war. If you want to, you can donate to a charity, here or abroad, but if you don’t what are the repercussions? Zip. Don’t compare your kids’ piano lessons or science fair project expenses to the NEA or scientific research.  How many employees does the average family have? The government has a lot more budget items. Period. End of story.

Your number and type of dependents differs immensely. The average family has something like 2.2 children. Not millions and you choose that number pretty much. The government can’t choose how many poor people there will be in the same way.

Our government does pay its bills, just like most families pay their’s. Actually, it’s probably a lot better at doing so.

Also, so many people conveniently forget that credit card debt isn’t the only debt a family has. Factor in the mortgage and car payments and most families, respectable, hard-working, All-Americans have a lot of debt. And they get a break on their taxes for some of that debt. Who subsidizes the government for getting in debt as a form of behavior reinforcement?

So can we just stop using this poor analogy? Probably not. It’s quite ingrained and handy for those who don’t like to think anew.

Here are some articles that address this very issue: