Money does grow on trees. Quite a bit of it is printed on stuff that is grown — wood cellulose & cotton. But money is not wealth. It is easy to confuse money with wealth but they are not the same. Governments create fiat money but that does not mean that governments create wealth. People through their effort create wealth. The government merely takes some of that wealth and uses it for various purposes, only some of which are defensible and some are not.
Today I read that the Bengal government is going to spend Rs 500 crores to compensate the victims of a chit-fund scam. The chit-fund scam is a crime but I believe it is also criminal to use public money to compensate the victims of fraud. I have argued against the use of public funds even in cases involving victims of accidents and crimes such as rape. I wrote the following for Quartz (March 13th, 2013).