Free benefits and rights are hardly free. Their tax cost can be high


This is a column by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas.

It’s open enrollment season for Medicare. Local TV stations and cable networks are inundated with advertisements for various insurance supplements. They promise “free” dental care, free transportation to doctors, free medicine, free dentures, and much more for free.

Paid spokespersons speak of “benefits” and “rights”. They say subscribers could receive up to $ 100 a month in their Social Security checks. Even the phone number to call to register is “absolutely free”. Read the fine print and you will find that some of the plans vary by region, some by zip code. Sometimes there is a nominal cost, so it’s not really “free”. Call a “licensed” insurance agent for details. Approved by whom? Probably the companies that sell the plans.

Some ads pay aging celebrities like quarterback Joe Namath, basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and comedian Jimmie Walker to showcase their products.

More from Cal Thomas:The problem of elites and their elitism

Notice the use of certain words and how they are also used by politicians to trick people into believing that they are not getting what they “deserve” because “the rich” – those predatory, stingy people and greedy – do not pay their “fair share” in taxes.

Selective language has long been used by snake oil vendors and politicians to flirt with the public. This is why the propaganda messages of the dictators are effective. The decline in President Biden’s approvals suggests that a decreasing number of people believe he is claiming that taxing billionaires will pay for the trillions he wants to spend. Even the word “infrastructure” is manipulative as only a small percentage of the proposed spending goes to repairing roads, bridges and airports. The rest will be spent on other things unrelated to infrastructure and put us in even more debt, as well as a separate social spending bill to expand “rights” that will attract more people to government.

People not only have to read between the lines to find the truth, but also explore different sources of information. If you only read, say, the Washington Post and the New York Times and watch CNN and MSNBC, you will probably believe what comes from their worldview: the government is good and is there to help, at least when the Democrats are in charge. If you read other publications like the Washington Times and Wall Street Journal, watch Fox News, and listen to conservative radio shows, you’ll learn things you didn’t know by consuming only left-wing media. The media also have the power to ignore certain topics that would give consumers a more balanced informational diet.

The problem is, too many people read and tune in only to sources that reinforce what they already believe. It is also a kind of propaganda.

Cal thomas

In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, Daniel C. Oliverio of Buffalo, NY, deconstructs the “fair share” jargon with his personal story: “As an independent professional in a legal partnership, I am one. of these high earners. I pay over 45% of my income in taxes to New York and the US Treasury. That’s not counting property tax, both sides of Social Security and Medicare taxes, sales tax and lost deductions. I don’t have a trust fund and can’t rely on interest and dividends alone. Here is the key element that goes against the crowd of desires and rights: “I have worked and saved my whole life… I paid my bills and aggressively funded a retirement. Hearing ad nauseam the lie that I get away with something at tax time… is frustrating. Now President Biden wants even more on the false premise that people like me don’t pay enough. Half is not enough?

We once celebrated and encouraged success. Now we are subsidizing mediocrity and failure. We are then surprised to have more of the latter and less of the first. Do your homework. Don’t be fooled by the language of politicians and TV commercials promising free stuff.


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