Word of the Day

I just ran across this word in an article. The writer used that phrase “money is fungible”. I finally have a word to describe my objection to giving money to large organizations (e.g. the government, compounded charities, etc.) who spend money in ways I don’t agree with. Most of these organizations will tell you that your money can be earmarked for your particular interests but since the money is (ta-da!) fungible there’s nothing to keep them from divvying the pot anyway they want, and the ultimate result is you’ve provided general support for every supported entity.

For example many state lotteries came into existence with the specific provision that the revenue would be used for education. So what? They just took the money they were already using for education and moved it somewhere else, like [insert your least favorite government program here]. The money is fungible!!!

My life is complete now.

“Vandelay!! Say Vandelay!!”

Funny; before reading your definition, if I had to guess what that word meant, I’d have thought it had to do with fungi, like “my lawn is fungible, cuz after only about a week of rain, it is 90% mushrooms.”

The déjà just keeps on vu-ing.

I thought this was going to be about Anu Garg’s email list (the web site to sign up is at http://www.wordsmith.org if you’re interested; he sends out one email per day with an uncommon word and its definition… really, it’s more interesting than it sounds).

Since it’s not, though, and I’m here anyway…

The idea of “earmarking” certain funds for education or whatever would be fine if it really meant “we’re going to continue funding education at the same level as we always have, plus we’re going to dump this money into that budget too.” But in practice it turns out that it never means that. Instead it means “We want to raise taxes so we can give more pork to our favorite causes. But you won’t let us. And you wouldn’t let us introduce a lottery to support the State Sentators’ Junket and Early Retirement Fund, either. So we’ll do the lottery for education, and shift the education budget over, and with a little luck you’ll never notice.”

Legs. Spread the word.

Sorry, cheep shot but I couldn’t stop myself!


You’re right, fungibility [sic] is a slimy concept. Tax resisters who object to their taxes being used to support the military are told their particular taxes are going elsewhere. Ha. (I don’t personally object but I certainly see their irritation at this deceit, as with the gambling funds.) Dictators are sent money for humanitarian relief, as if that doesn’t free them up to quit providing any food whatever to their subjects and divert all that money into weapons.