Alex Tabbarok slaps around Catherine Rampell, Bruce Bartlett, and Matt Yglesias for claiming that "people who use, for example, the mortgage interest deduction or who have a 529 college savings program are willfully ignorant about how they benefit from government (Rampell’s terminology)."
A 529 program is not a government program like food stamps, it is the absence of a government tax. (N.B. I am not taking a position here on the best tax structure.)
People who use 529 programs and who think that they have not used a government social program are not willfully ignorant, they are demonstrating a healthy if fading appreciation of the distinction between civil society and government. What Rampell et al. implicitly imagine is that the natural state is slavery and any departure from that state a government benefit. Thus, if the government taxes your saving for a college education less than your other savings, you should be grateful for how government has benefited you and your children.
And if the government doesn’t jail you today, you should be grateful for how government has granted you the benefit of liberty.
This is the attitude of a serf not an American.