Free Riders

I was watching the news and found rather disturbing the complaints of the journalists, who were shocked that U.S. law did not simply offer people in danger a free ride to safety at taxpayer expense. The U.S. Embassy in Lebanon was asking those who were being evacuated at taxpayer expense to sign a promissory note to reimburse the government for the evacuation. Some of the interviewed evacuees insisted that they be whisked away at taxpayer expense. (Those who complained about the lack of comfort on the ship were especially annoying. One complained that “My parents thought it was a cruise ship and it was definitely not a cruise ship.” Hey, sorry!) Under the theory that everything should be free, the government has announced that people who visit or live in dangerous places and are evacuated at taxpayer expense will not be charged a penny.

People who go to dangerous places (and Lebanon has been on that list for quite some time, both as a matter of common sense and as a matter of State Department designation) shouldn’t expect to be rescued from danger at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer.

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