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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7321/word-for-the-day-fungible/

Word for the day: fungible

October 18, 2007 by

Fungible means interchangeable. The word comes into play when (inter alia) earmarked funds end up in a general account. These funds are then free to be used for purposes other than intended.

Example: You would like to go on a vacation but you have unpaid car repair bills. A wealthy uncle hears that you are having financial trouble and sends money to help. However, he would never have agree to pay for your vacation –- he’s nice, but not that nice.

Once your uncle’s money is deposited into your checking account, you are free to spend it as you please. You then get to pay off your bills and go on vacation. In essence, you paid your bills (a necessity) while your uncle funded your vacation.

On Wednesday, NPR had a report on SCHIP and those who would have benefited from it. Sure, SCHIP is gone for now, but like a toothache, it will return with a vengeance at night or over some weekend — when we least expect it.

Read one likely recipient’s story:

Baron and her son live in Southern California, where housing costs are high. Their rent and utilities run $24,000 a year. Barron is the executive director of a nonprofit group, Guitars in the Classroom, and makes $32,000 a year. Between rent and health insurance, “We’ve now overspent my pretax income and I haven’t bought groceries yet,” Baron says. “That’s why my sofa is 11 years old and I’m driving around a falling-apart van with no automatic wheelchair lift.”

Barron isn’t complaining. She has savings that will last her another year or two. She’s hopeful that her nonprofit will begin to do better, and she has the smarts to check out her options.

Would SCHIP have assisted Baron with her medical expenses, or would it have allowed her to continue chasing her dream: Guitars in the Classroom? You be the judge. I say she should get a day job and pursue her dream after hours. With programs like SCHIP, the taxpayer simply ends up funding Guitars in the Classroom.

{ 8 comments }

Vince Daliessio October 18, 2007 at 11:49 pm

Well said!

Steve October 19, 2007 at 12:28 am

I think it’s swell that Baron is pursuing her guitar dreams. It’s also grand that she’s got a child who loves her mother. What isn’t so hot is that she can’t make ends meet and evidently wants strangers to bridge the financial gap.

Heck, I’d love to quit my day job and take up sailing, but the rent is due and there are bills to pay, so I sit in a cubicle and stare at spreadsheets to meet my commitments.

We all have choices to make. Maybe Baron ought to ditch the non-profit gig and get a job that supports her situation. Just a thought.

/////ANDRE October 19, 2007 at 5:47 am

Whether you care about children or not, very few people are questioning where is the Money for this coming from?

Taxing just cigarette smokers for everyone’s children makes NO sense whatsoever.

And when the cigarette smokers cut back or quit (if they can) because they can’t afford it anymore, then what? Encourage new smokers “For the Children”?

Keith October 19, 2007 at 6:06 am

You evil selfish capitalists! Can’t you think of something other than your money for one minute? Think of the guitars (I mean children)!

It might be funny, if a majority of our fellow citizens didn’t truly feel this way.

Robert M. October 19, 2007 at 6:52 am

Of course they do. Schools teach that exact way of thinking to children when they are 5 years old. Only extremely intelligent people can overcome public school brainwashing.

Nick October 19, 2007 at 10:34 am

Maybe Baron should turn her not-for-profit into a “for profit.” There has to be a way to get kids to play guitars (and other instruments) and make money at it, probablay a lot of money. Or, she can just do better at her not-for-profit. I’m sure there’s a few rich guitarists that would contribute to her charity, rather than forcing it upon all of us. Some people (not me) don’t like guitars. My dad prefers the fiddle. My wife, piano. Why does everyone have to support one person’s dream? If she relied on her own ingenuity, perhaps she alone coudl support her dream and then have more self worth. Oh, but I forgot, it takes a village.

Fundamentalist October 19, 2007 at 10:49 am

“Their rent and utilities run $24,000 a year.”

I couldn’t find the article, but I wonder where she lives. With rent like hers, I would guess she lives in an expensive area. She could consider moving further away where rents are cheaper and commuting.

She should also consider sharing an apt with another single mother. Single mother families are the largest and fastest growing segment of poor in the country. Part of the reason is that single mothers used to live with their parents. Now they insist on living alone with just their children, but they don’t make enough money to support an independent lifestyle. The situation is not much different from single children who don’t earn enough to live on their own. Single mothers should really consider finding other single mothers to share an apt or house. It helps a great deal with the finances.

Jim Fedako October 20, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Fundamentalist,

Corrected the link. Thanks.

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