Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Latest Example of EU Decadence--Calling "Taking a Vacation" a Human Right

This story is both amusing and troubling. Calling "taking a vacation" a human right that the EU should subsidize for poor people is laughable. But it is also troubling that grown men and women, who have the power to force it upon their constituents, take it seriously. The last line of the Times (London) report illustrates the fallacious "stimulus" impact of government spending that is pure Keynesian nonsense.

"The idea is based on a project in Spain in which holidays in the winter off-season are subsidised by the government for European residents aged 55 and over. Spain calculated that for every €1 it spent in subsidies, €1.6 was gained for its resorts."

What the Spaniards spend at vacation resorts they cannot spend elsewhere. Every Euro a vacation resort enjoys comes at the cost of reduced revenue elsewhere in the economy. If Spaniards spend their own money at vacation resorts, that is their private preference and privelege. But when they spend tax dollars at vacation resorts, the economy is poorer by the amount of the extra spending, which must be confiscated from the people by the government in one form or another. This is a classic case of Frederic Bastiat's "That which is seen and that which is unseen" phenomenon. Perhaps more importantly it diminishes the perceived importance of real human rights as worth little more than the right to take a vacation at some else's expense.

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