No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

There’s a particularly creepy scene in the children’s classic, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” where a diabolical villain lures two kids from their hiding place by walking down the street calling out, “Ice cream. Get some ice cream! Today, it’s all free!”

The children can’t resist and they emerge from a building to get into a carriage where they are promised the sweets. Once inside, the curtains fall from the side of the carriage to reveal they have walked into a metal cage.

It’s human nature to desire what we want without cost. But as the late Nobel economist Milton Friedman reminds us, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Indeed, he published a series of his essays in a book of the same title. His point was simple: Nothing is free; someone — either voluntarily or under compulsion — has to pay.

If offered a Ferrari, I’d probably resist my initial instinct to respond in the affirmative and ask the obvious questions – how much and who’s going to pay for it?

A recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California illustrates how the “cost” question is important. One of the questions was whether respondents thought that “the state budget situation in California — that is, the balance between government spending and revenues — is a big problem, somewhat of a problem, or not a problem for the people of California today?”

Regrettably, the question lacks context and clarity. One respondent could believe that the budget imbalance is a big problem because California isn’t taxing enough, while another could believe it’s a big problem because of overspending.

To read the entire column, please click here.


  1. Government cost to much! Government spends to much! The whole system is out of control and domed for failure! Please California wake up!

  2. Really??? says

    When you are a Socialist or Communist you do not understand the concept of cost.

    That is what Shifty in the House is about, and so is Palosi.

    What is different with the Dem’s in Sac? Nothing. They do not understand there is a cost. They blow the budget and taxes sky high. It is the same concept of everyone needs housing that they can afford. But Calif. only has so much land on the coast and the need to conserve this with reasonable zoning means there will be people who have to drive distance to get to work in places like Santa Barbara.

    The idiots in Sac. say subsidy…OK who will pay for it? They also say pay differential is not fair so who is going to pay for taking from someone to give to someone else?

    If you are like Biden, Harris, and the rest you don’t care about stealing through taxes as long as you have enough to live in a nice suburban grass lined community and often gated.

    No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!!!

    And if you do not get it at the next election “you” will pay for it.

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