Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
User Journal

davidwr's Journal: Is it moral to take gov't aid you don't need? 16

Journal by davidwr

The government is offering up to $8,000 for first-time home-buyers to buy a house. The intent is to stimulate the economy. This is great for those who would be better off owning but are trapped renting because they can't afford to buy, but who could afford a house if only it were $8,000 cheaper.

If you were going to buy a house anyways and can afford it without the aid, is it moral to take the money?

If you had no intention of buying a house because renting makes more sense to you, is it moral to buy a house just so you can have the extra $8,000?

With deficit spending, every "extra" dollar spent by the government is a dollar that comes out of our children's and grandchildren's pockets, with interest.

The same moral question applies to financially healthy companies who take advantage of tax breaks they don't need or who choose to operate less efficiently so they can qualify for government funds or tax breaks.

Comments welcome.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Is it moral to take gov't aid you don't need?

Comments Filter:
  • but who could afford a house if only it were $8,000 cheaper.

    Silly argument. Over the course of a 20 year mortgage, 8K isn't much. But it when it comes to making the deposit, usually the hardest part of buying a house, it would help tremendously.
    • by davidwr (791652)

      That's what I was getting at. In the days of 0% down, the difference between an $88,000 and an $80,000 house at 5% interest is $0 down and $43/month. Sure, there are some people who live in areas where the cheapest available home in a decent neighborhood is $88,000 but who are $43 short every month. For them, $8,000 down is the difference between affording a house and renting.

      In today's 10% down minimum, there are a lot of people who can't afford $8,000 down but who could afford a 1-year bridge loan to b

      • Perhaps I'm misunderstanding this housing tax credit thing, but how is it "$8,000 in free money courtesy of their grandchildren's generation" if they've already lost over $8,000 in income tax withholdings? Seems to me like they're just getting a portion of their own money back.

        The cause of the impoverishment of future generations is an excess of spending, not a deficit of taxation. Letting the government keep your money after they've offered to return it won't improve the situation much -- the government wi

  • It Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Thursday April 16, 2009 @02:18PM (#27601575) Journal

    If you were going to buy a house anyways and can afford it without the aid, is it moral to take the money?

    By implementing this program, the government is hoping to increase the demand for houses. That increased demand will drive up prices.

    So, the house you were going to buy before this program will cost you more, because now, more people are in the market. If you take the money too, that will increase demand that much further, as you will be able to purchase a marginally more expensive house.

    If you had no intention of buying a house because renting makes more sense to you, is it moral to buy a house just so you can have the extra $8,000?

    Yeah, that's exactly why the government is offering this program. They're trying to incentivize the purchase of houses, so that more people will do it.

    The bottom line is this: If you believe that the government's aim to increase house prices is moral, then it is then moral for you to take the money--whether you need it or not--because, by doing so, you are helping further that goal. But, if you think that the government's desire to increase housing prices is immoral, then so is taking the money.

    • by ancientt (569920) *

      Moral: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior - Merriam Webster

      Obligatory car analogy: I dislike both the stated goals and effects of those who band together to promote the idea that skin color is a defining characteristic of human worth. If a group of white supremacists collects $50,000 in dues and offers me $20,000 to buy a better car because they believe white people should drive a better cars, then I could refuse because I believe their goals are immoral. I would not criticize anot

  • Assuming you mean "moral" in the ethical sense, rather than the "cultural norms" sense, then no, it's not ever moral to take government aid, since it was ultimately extracted from someone else by force.

    • What force is that?

      • by davidwr (791652)

        I think he meant the implied or actual threat of jail or confiscation if you don't voluntarily pay up.

    • While I mostly agree with you, note that this journal entry is conflating government aid with tax breaks. While the morality of accepting aid is questionable -- simply put, it's not their money to give away -- tax breaks are simply a way of reducing the amount taken by force from yourself. There is no moral obligation to sacrifice you own well-being on the off chance that it might reduce the amount they take from others.

      Counter-arguments to the immorality of accepting aid would include (a) they're already t

  • If you had no intention of buying a house because renting makes more sense to you, is it moral to buy a house just so you can have the extra $8,000?

    The point of the tax break was to keep real estate prices propped up. Buying a house that you otherwise would not have to get the money is exactly what they intended. It is working; looking around here it seems that ever seller just upped his asking price by $8,000. So I do not think you are going to get a break.

    Is it moral to support a government that has a tax

    • I hope the sellers realize that only first-time homebuyers qualify.

      I can see a climb of x% of $8000, where x is the influence wielded by first-time homebuyers, but not more. For high-end homes that are first-time homebuyers never have bought, the market won't bear any increase. For "starter homes" that cater almost exclusively to new homeowners, the market might tolerate a price increase of nearly the full tax credit. I say "nearly" because the credit is deferred until after the sale and that must be fac

  • It depends on whether you have faith in and respect your government. Obviously, taking something that you don't need when someone else could make better use of it is wrong. But, that last part is important: when someone else could make better use of it. Do you feel as though your tax dollars are being well-spent? I don't, as far as I'm concerned, the government is stealing my money, so me stealing it back is only fair. Especially in a situation like this where they're practically giving it to you anywa
  • Your question of morality is interesting and I'll get to that in a moment, but I'd first like to share the experience in Australia where such a "First Home Buyers" scheme has been operating for some time. At one point it was AUD$21.000 if you were a first home buyer who built a home, I think at the moment it's "only" AUD$14.000. It started a few years ago at AUD$7.000.

    From where I'm standing at the side-lines - I'm renting - it distorted the housing market in many unpredictable ways.

    In essence it increased

    • For many years low-income first-time home buyers in the United States have qualified for some type of assistance or other. This assistance varies over time and varies from state to state and even within a state.

      Until recently, few moderate- and upper-income buyers have qualified for substantial grants, but have qualified for loans, tax credits that had to be repaid over time, and other forms of down payment assistance that didn't radically disrupt the market.

      The 10%/8,000-max credit we have now could do ex

  • they can't afford to buy, but who could afford a house if only it were $8,000 cheaper.

    The way a house purchase works (I know, I am in the middle of one right now) does not take into account future money, except to the extend of having an income history that is current. So,

    If you had no intention of buying a house [before], is it moral to buy a house just so you can have the extra $8,000?

    Yes, since that is the whole point. If you do what the government is trying to get you to do, that is, buy a house where before you wouldn't, then you are right in line with the purpose of the credit. The questionable point is

    If you were going to buy a house anyways[...], is it moral to take the money?

    Given that people buy no matter what, the government would expect this to be (probably) the majo

    • There are 4 classes of people who are eligible for the credit:

      1) Those who will buy the house with or without the credit.
      2) Those who want to buy but cannot buy a house that fits their needs but for the credit.
      3) Those who do not really want to buy but really want the credit and will buy a house just to get it.
      4) Those who will not buy whether or not the credit exists.

      The gist of this question is: Is it moral to be in group #3? From where I see it, this credit is aimed at those in group #2.

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

Working...