Thomas Schelling

Let a six-year-old girl with brown hair need thousands of dollars for an operation that will prolong her life until Christmas, and the post office will be swamped with nickels and dimes to save her. But let it be reported that without a sales tax the hospital facilities of Massachusetts will deteriorate and cause a barely perceptible increase in preventable deaths—not many will drop a tear or reach for their checkbooks.

Thomas Schelling, ‘The Life You Save May Be Your Own’, in Samuel Chase (ed.), Problems in public Expenditure Analysis, Washington, D. C., 1968