A primer on wealth redistrbution

No, I meant redistribute wealth from some other guy…

Yesterday on my way to lunch at Doe’s, I passed one of the homeless guys in that area, with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money."

Once in the Doe’s my waiter had on an "Obama 08" tee shirt.

When the bill came, I decided not to tip the waiter and explained to him while he had given me exceptional service, that his tee shirt made me feel he obviously believes in Senator Obama’s plan to redistribute the wealth. I told him I was going to redistribute his tip to someone that I deemed more in need–the homeless guy outside. He stood there in disbelief and angrily stormed away.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $3 and told him to thank the waiter inside, as I had decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy looked at me in disbelief but seemed grateful.

As I got in my truck, I realized this rather unscientific redistribution experiment had left the homeless guy quite happy for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn.

Well, I guess this redistribution of wealth is going to take a while to catch on, with those doing the work.

— Ghost of a flea, "A parable of hope and change", October 27th, 2008.

Lifted shamelessly from the Flea, who in turn lifted it from an Anonymous source.

The beauty and hilarity of ever-increasing progressive taxation and wealth redistribution schemes is that everyone assumes the guy getting money siphoned out of his wallet is going to be someone else.  Here’s a hint.  It’s you.  It’s always you.

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7 Responses
  1. Alan says:

    Except that progressive taxation has mirrored the expansion of overall wealth in the western world through the entire arc of the last, you know, last 100 years or so. It would be a much funnier observation if it were actually a problem or if Obama actually proposed increased taxation.

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    Whether or not Obama supports increased taxation is kind of irrelevant. He’s a brand name in the story. Substitute political brands as the reader sees fit.
    Taxation is like the old Arab proverb about the kindly camel who permitted the beast to warm its nose inside the tent, and so on, until the camel occupied the tent and the owner was displaced.
    There are more than enough politicians and bureaucrats who see an extra dollar here and an extra dollar there as no big deal. The number of folks prepared to oversee real fiscal probity and restraint instead are far and few between.
    The western world, collectively, wouldn’t have a credit problem if it were otherwise.
    Regarding the correlation of progressive taxation and standard of living… correlation is not causation, as a statistician would say.
    I suspect an economist would say that increased savings, the growth of new industrial sectors (post-Great War and WW2), ongoing influxes of relatively cheap labour, and most of all, the recovery of war-ravaged export markets, helped build western success from the Great War to present. As opposed to say taking a wad of money out of John Jacob Astor’s pants and putting a buck here and there into someone else’s.

  3. Alan says:

    Thankfully as our economic wealth proves in itself, the camel of over taxation has not entered the tent. And, besides, it’s the day dreams of MBAs screwing up the markets with uncapitalized financial instruments which are based on speculation and insuring unimaginable multiples of unborne risk that have us in the credit crisis. Nothing to do with that comfort to us all, reasonable taxation.

  4. Chris Taylor says:

    Sorry, Alan, the credit crisis I was referring to was this one:
    [excerpting relevant bits]
    Average Canadian household debt in 2004 through personal loans, lines of credit and mortgage debt: $69,450.00
    Canadian household-debt-to-income ratio in 2003 (household credit as a percentage of disposable income): 105.2%
    Canadian household-debt-to-income ratio in 1983: 55%
    Percent increase in private bankruptcies in Canada since 1966: 13.3%

    That is not the doing of daydreaming MBAs. That is the daydreaming of Joe and Jane Sixpack (and Latte, and Dom Perignon) living beyond their means.
    And as far as this goes — “Thankfully as our economic wealth proves in itself, the camel of over taxation has not entered the tent” — speak for yourself. I have been overtaxed since I was thirteen years old. That’s five long years they got to tax me without even any recourse to representation.

  5. Alan says:

    Oh, that – well, as I have a $195,000 mortgage still ticking along, $69,450.00 looks great to me! But you are completely right – I was off on another track.
    Yet, as a beneficiary of the taxation both through indirect redistribution and direct services, I have no sense that I am over taxed – though I am taxed heartily. I suppose it is my fault for noticing that my face is not on the money.

  6. Chris Taylor says:

    …But I thought that was you on the Canadian Tire money.

  7. Alan says:

    CHEATER! I told you never to tell. That was the whole point of the saucy look of my portrait.