We All Pay For Each Other
One of the most mindboggling reactions to people who don’t have children is that they’re selfish. That the choice not to create a genetic replica of themselves makes someone a narcissist. And that we whorish crones with tumbleweeds in our wombs are somehow leeching up resources without giving back.
This is incorrect for any number of reasons — not the least of which is that my child-free-ness frees me up to do a lot of stuff in my community, including caring for other people’s children —but it’s also mathematically questionable. Because, while I don’t have children, I certainly do pay for things that benefit children and people with children. Unlike a child, I pay taxes and understand that that’s just kind of how it is to live among other people. It’s what we do.
Or, in theory, it’s what we should do. Any yet, one of the most heated responses to the plan to forgive a relatively small amount of student loan debt is one rooted in selfishness: That I shouldn’t have to pay for other people’s frivolous education.
Student Debt Forgiveness Doesn’t Hurt You — So Why Are You Angry?
Why are people mad about debt forgiveness that won’t impact them?
Setting aside the fact that we all benefit greatly when people go to college (you do want there to be doctors and nurses, right? And you understand that a lot of them have to take out loans to make that happen?) and that the classic barbs about the uselessness of theater majors is lazy and also just incorrect (did you see Hamilton, bro? Because everyone else did and it’s a huge business), the biggest question, to my mind, is…why not? Why wouldn’t you pay a very, very small amount of your tax money — money that’s already kind of a black box anyway —to help address one facet of a system that just plain sucks?
Isn’t that — paying for other people and having other people pay for you — the very fabric of a society?
My taxes fund many, many programs that I’ll never make use of. I pay for roads in parts of the city that I’ll never drive. I pay into the collective funds which help benefit veterans who fought in wars that I ideologically disagree…