by John Ellis
It’s rude to talk about money. Or, so I’ve been told. The thing is, when I was an actor, many people, including strangers, felt comfortable asking me how much money I made. Eventually, I became accustomed to talking about how much money was listed above the dotted line on my theatre contracts. Likewise, working in the service industry (I was an actor, remember) frequently brought the question, “How much money do you make in tips?” Throughout much of my adult life, how much money I make has been a frequent conversation topic among friends, family, and strangers alike. In other words, I’ve been conditioned to be rude; what follows is not my fault.
Even with the above disclaimer, there’s really no way to put this less bluntly without dulling my overall point, so, bluntly and crassly, my wife and I pay a LOT in taxes, like, an amount that I wouldn’t have believed if you had told me a few years ago. To be clear, and referencing my whole “actor” and “service industry” past, that fact sits oddly in my brain as if it’s a typo. Except, it’s not a typo. My inability to yet fully integrate my current financial reality with my long-standing, artsy perspective on my finances does not determine reality. There is no way to deny it, my family is immensely blessed, materially speaking.
If that above paragraph is rude, I apologize. You know what else is rude, though? Telling me and my wife what we’re supposed to spend our money on. And, worse, demanding that we surrender a big chunk of our money that we justly earned to the government whether we want to or not in order to fund pet programs of liberals. I’m sick and tired of liberals lecturing me about how my family’s money is supposed to be spent on things that they care about. What’s more, they wag their didactic fingers at us without any concern for what we want our money to be spent on. The greedy arrogance of liberals is as astounding as it is disgusting.
The recent leftist hand-wringing over President Trump’s proposed budget cuts has resulted in liberals ramping up their rude desire to spend our money. They’ve also become increasingly vocal about the fact that they “feel” entitled to our money in order to dole it out to causes and programs that they like.
I must confess, it wasn’t too long ago that I, too, believed that it was my right to decide for others what happens to their money. A funny thing, though; back then, I didn’t have any money of my own for the government to take. Now that I do, I find that my perspective has changed. I now find it incredibly rude and dishonest for others to demand that I surrender my money so that the government can finance their pet programs. The thing is, many of those who are the loudest and most vitriolic while rudely demanding that the government steal my money contribute very little, if anything at all, to the bloated, inefficient government teat from which their favored leftist programs greedily suck.
Maybe like me and my wife, you make lots of money. Good for you. And, maybe, unlike me and my wife, you agree with the ways in which the government is using your money. Once again, good for you. However, why do you need the government to toss your money around? Couldn’t you do that on your own and allow me and my wife to decide how we’re going to toss our money around?
I’m not the biggest Matt Walsh fan in the world, but I appreciated a tweet of his from about a week ago. Walsh tweeted a link to donate to Meals on Wheels. In the text box he wrote something like, “If you’re upset about the proposed cuts to Meals on Wheels, put your money where your mouth is.”
Walsh is right. If you believe that Meals on Wheels deserves to be funded, then fund it. I understand that your locally-sourced, artisanal flat wear is expensive and that organic, GMO-free quinoa ain’t cheap, but surely you have a little left over to give to Meals on Wheels. In fact, if the government stopped taking your money, I’d bet you’d have any more money to give to Meals on Wheels. Best of all, in that instance, a sizeable chunk of that money would not be syphoned off by the sucking inefficiency of government bureaucracy. Everyone wins; except the government, of course.
Interestingly, liberals took up Walsh’s challenge. Since President Donald Trump suggested cutting some of the funding to Meals on Wheels, donations to the organization has skyrocketed. See how that works, liberals?
Even if donations hadn’t gone up, that still wouldn’t justify stealing other people’s money to fund Meals on Wheels. For the record, I’m not calling into question the good that Meals on Wheels does; I’m challenging the narrative that doesn’t allow me to choose where my money is spent.
When checking out at a grocery store, the clerk will often ask if I want to donate money to a cause. Usually, the causes are things that I can get on board with – feeding hungry children, finding a cure for diabetes, building clean-water wells in Africa, etc. However, I always say, “no, thank you.” Explaining my decision to my kids, I tell them that we only give our money to organizations that we are familiar with. God has entrusted us with money, and, to the best of our ability, we want to make sure that it’s being used efficiently.
Beyond things like Meals on Wheels, liberals demand that my wife and I fund things that we don’t agree with. Planned Parenthood, for example. The National Endowment for the Arts is another such organization that my wife and I are not ok with our justly earned money going towards. In fact, I daresay that many of those whom I see whining about funding being cut to the NEA don’t even pay any income tax.
If you want to help fund local arts organizations, then do so. But stop demanding that other people do it for you. My wife and I love funding the arts. We love spending our money on pieces created by artists we know; we love spending our money to hear musicians; we love spending our money to watch actors tell stories on stage. In fact, we’d love to spend more of our money on art. There’s a good possibility that some of you who are shaking your head in disgust at this article would be beneficiaries of our patronage if the government didn’t take so much money from us. Some of you who disagree with me are cutting your nose off to spite your face.
The sad irony of this is that many liberals upset at my article have made a similar argument as the one found in this article. A popular meme (posted below) circulating amongst liberals asks the government to take their money in order to fund pet programs of leftists and then concludes with a demand that the government stop taking their money to fund programs that leftists find unredeemable. Silly, liberals. Don’t you know that if the government didn’t take your money, you could fund your pet programs all on your own?
Anticipating at least one of the rejoinders, as far as the argument that the NEA funds arts programs for those who are underprivileged, well, the hard truth, yet still a truth, is that art is not a right. Art is beneficial. I can probably out-argue most liberals on that point. But, once again, people do not have a right to art. To repeat, no one has a right to art. They especially do not have a right to art funded by stolen money.
Another possible rejoinder will be that humans made in the Image of God have a duty before God to be generous with their resources while aiding the sick and the hungry. Don’t forget, I’m the guy who wrote this. I agree that Image Bearers have a duty before God to do what they can to preserve the life of fellow Image Bearers. However, two things can be true at once, and I also believe that others rudely demanding that others unwillfully surrender their resources is not the solution, so much so as to be an anti-solution (and none of this deals with the economic reality that government interference in the market ensures that there will be less of a market from which everyone could’ve benefited).
Some reading this will be tempted to leave a comment that chides me with something like, “Stop complaining, John. You can afford it.” If that’s you, that temptation demonstrates that you do not get it. Whether or not I can afford it isn’t the question. Whether or not others have the right to determine what my money is spent on and how much of it gets spent is the question. And the answer is that you do not have that right.
Whatever rudeness I’ve exhibited by “talking about money” is far and away eclipsed by the rude thievery of liberals. As uncomfortable as it may be for some to read about how much my wife and I pay in taxes, it serves to highlight the reality that there is a class of people (liberals) expecting the few to pay for their (liberals) pet programs.
My wife and I are not naïve to our material blessings, and we do not take those blessings for granted. By God’s grace, we are generous with those who are not as materially blessed as we are. In fact, we would love to be even more generous; which would be easier if the government didn’t forcibly take so much of our money and then squander it on things we do not want our money used for. Furthermore, we resent that some of you seem to mistakenly believe that you have the right to not only rudely lecture us about how our money should be spent, but you also believe that it’s ok to force us to spend our money on things you support. Spend your own money.
 Spiritually speaking, too. But that’s not what this article is about.
 They weren’t literally responding to Walsh, the vast majority of them probably never saw the tweet.
 If you want to help fund the murder of babies, well, then I really don’t want your hands on my money.