Sunday, November 14, 2010

Who pays for the freegans?

A previous poster brought up an interesting point. Who pays for the freegans? When you pay rent or a own a home, your money goes to:

  • property taxes (paid by landlord if you rent)
  • utilities (if paid by landlord & included in rent; paid for directly by some renters and all homeowners)
  • police, fire, sanitation, emergency services (included in property taxes)

However, squatters and freegans presumably do not pay into the tax bases that fund these services. While it is great that people are leading cheap lives off the grid, it is not so great that those of us with more conventional lifestyles are funding these alterna-lifestyles. Also, are any of these people paying income taxes? If not, is this fair to those who do pay taxes?

While I have no problem with people dumpster diving, I do have some questions about the ethics of people who use city services without paying towards them. Somewhere along the line, it is not just the big government who gets taken advantage of, but also your fellow citizens. Legalizing squatters so that they can (and must pay into into local services) may be the cheaper way of supporting semi-alternative lifestyles.


khaat said...

while I understand the sentiment, I would much rather there be responsible squatting-- where a previously abandoned property is brought back to life and, is some ways, increases in value--than to let it remain an eyesore within a neighborhood.
there are times where squatters have rejuvenated neighborhoods in decline, especially when given a chance to be "in the system" and not persecuted or maligned as many "alternative lifestyles" are.
in the first place, many people squat because the "rent is too damn high" and not necessarily or primarily because of a "lifestyle" choice.

Anonymous said...

A different thread but something I read in the book astounded me:
page 154 "When the unemployment rate fell below 5.5 or 6%, or seemed headed in that direction, the Fed raised interest rates to inhibit economic growth and by extension, hiring."

In light of the unemployment crisis people are suffering under today I cannot believe that the government plays with people's lives in this manner.

Tracey said...

Anonymous, everything the Feds do impacts the economy and people's lives. Their actions are based on economic theories that may or may not work, and are always geared towards big business rather than the individual. The official unemployment numbers, incidentally, are always low because they do not include the underemployed and people who have given up looking because they cannot find jobs.