Sunday, November 02, 2008

Trick or treat

Several political comments along these lines have surfaced. Glenn Beck used a variation of it on Thursday; Mike Huckabee used a similar example -- A students required to give points to lazy C students -- on Fox News on Sunday. The message in each case is the same: Barack Obama would force hardworking people to give their hard-earned money to lazy bums.

Boy. Sometimes it seems that people really are just born conservative or liberal and ideology has nothing to do with it. I grew up in the country on two acres of huisache so I had never had much experience with trick-or-treating. We weren't willing to walk five or 10 miles to hit enough neighbors to fill a bag of candy.

But sharing Easter eggs after the hunt was a recurring theme in my childhood. The big kids got the most and the best, and they were always expected to give some to the little kids who couldn't move as fast. I think it had something to do with Christianity.

Now I wonder if today's conservatives weren't the kids who hoarded every egg they could get, lied about how many they had and threw a fit every time they had to give one away. I never did like those kids.


Eric said...

David you missed the point.

Let's put it in the perspective of YOUR business.

How about high taxes on every newspapers profits, and subsidies for those papers who were doing poorly?

You could be taxed at, say, 36%, and the tax dollars would go to an ailing entity like Lee Enterprises.

Still feeling generous?

Matt Singer said...

Yeah -- and the idea that the markets have been valuing labor and capital accurately in recent years seems pretty messed up to me. Hedge fund managers right now pay taxes at capital gains rates instead of income rates, so they pay a smaller share of their income than secretaries. Even if you think capital returns should be taxed at a lower rate than labor wages, that is just nuts.

Granted, in-depth knowledge of federal tax policy is a rare thing, but conflating it with grading policies or trick or treating is just misleading -- unless you start looking at more nuances of both of those systems.

Rich kids who get into Harvard on legacy also tend to benefit from the grade inflation of an institution not interested in failing students. Kids who grow up in wealthy neighborhoods get king size candy bars while working class neighborhoods get candy corn and tootsie rolls.

Is that fair? Probably not. Is there a clear remedy? Not worth pursuing for something like trick or treating, but when it comes to income distribution, it just may be worth it.


David said...

Eric, I have a problem with helping ailing companies. I don't have a problem with helping ailing human beings.

Chuck Rightmire said...

Matt, I don't know about income redistribution as it is regularly thought about, but when you spread the income by creating more good paying jobs (and I hate that phrase but it works), then you are spreading the income in a good way. As I understand it, that would be what Obama would do. And just ignore Eric. Everyone else does most of the time.

Anonymous said...

Ignore people making valid points?