Thursday, October 23, 2008

Parable: Obama's Redistribution of Wealth 101 for Dummies



Here's a simple story you can use to explain Obama's redistribution of wealth theory to your friends, neighbors and children:

Recently a woman was taking her grandson to lunch. Near the restaurant, they passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money."

Once in the restaurant the woman noticed that their server had on a "Obama 08" tie. He had given away his political preference. When the bill came the woman decided not to tip the server and explained to him that she was teaching her grandson about the Obama redistribution of wealth concept.

The waiter stood in disbelief while the woman told him that she was going outside to redistribute his tip to someone whom she and her grandson deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside.

The server stormed off in a huff.

The woman went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as she and her grandson had decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of this simplistic redistribution story, the grandson realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that the money he did earn was given to someone else -- even though the actual recipient deserved money more.

Beginning to understand this redistribution of wealth concept more clearly? Questions?

Thanks CA for idea.


gcotharn said...

The excellence of your story reminds of a James Lileks story about who (citizens or government) can best decide how to expend wealth. link (Scroll to just below the photo of Harpo and Chico, and the photo of Little Stevie)

Perhaps a book of conservative parables is needed - maybe for high school students. Better, for that age: a video game of conservative parables --
"Fight for Freedom!" or somesuch, where, when you win, you defeat oppressive neighborhood zoning regs and get to build a supercool freestanding video gameroom/playhouse in your backyard; or, your hot and growing gaming devolopment company startup successfully defeats the EEOC in court, then contributes to electoral defeats of the POTUS candidate and Congresspersons who want to raise corporate taxes.

Webutante said...

Great idea to write fun, simple conservative parables for all ages. And the story in your link on how one man's tax cut helped create a new staircase and work for various people hits the nail on the head. Thanks for adding this, Gary.

Ellen said...

Brilliant lesson. Here's a question... how about staging a lesson of McCain's tax plan by taking the waiter's tip and giving it to the millionare CEO upstairs?

Or how about by selling the restaurant and redistributing the wealth among the customers... you know like Palin did with the oil company profits in Alaska?

Webutante said...

Ellen, it's embarrassing that you know so little about economics. McCain is not giving any money to the "CEO upstairs." Rather he is allowing the CEO and the business to keep their earnings and profits to reinvest in new products and services and jobs.

As for CEOs who are given outlandish golden parachutes, it is the job of shareholders and board members to keep an eye on that and protest when things are getting out of hand.

As for what Palin has done to benefit taxpayers and citizens in Alaska, you clearly are totally ignorant of those facts which I will post about soon. She didn't sell any oil companies at all.

For Ellen's Education said...

Did Palin impose a windfall profits tax on Alaskan oil?
Yes. Alaskans will receive $1,200 each from the windfall tax, in addition to $2,069 they will receive from other oil taxes.

While Obama and McCain debate a windfall tax on oil companies - Obama in favor, McCain opposed - Palin has already imposed a windfall oil profits tax in Alaska.
In 2007 Palin pushed for and enacted a major increase in state oil taxes - a step that has generated stunning new revenues for Alaska as oil prices have soared. The Alaska Oil and Gas Association estimates the state collected $6 billion from Palin-imposed windfall taxes during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2008. Combined with other new and existing oil taxes, as well as royalties, the state's total oil revenue in the last fiscal year exceeded $10 billion - double the amount the state received the previous fiscal year. [1]

Palin's windfall tax will fund a $1,200 "rebate" that Alaska will give to every eligible man, woman and child in Alaska, to help offset soaring fuel prices. That money will be dispersed as part of larger, $3,269 check that Alaskans will receive that was paid for by state taxes on oil companies - a family of four will receive a check for $13,076. The fuel rebates will cost the state $750 million.

William said...

Good point Ellen.
This is all you need to know -
Have you looked at your 401K or mutual fund lately?

How did your investments do in 8 yrs under Clinton compared with 8 yrs under Bush?

How about the national debt and the overall health of the US economy?

And you want to vote in another Republican?

Webutante said...

Factors affecting your 401K extend much, much further than who is president. What about Fed policiy (Do you know what that means?) Congressional policy which is now solidly Democratic in the past two years? Clinton was a peace time president who let the military completely go and ignore a dozen terrorist attacks abroad. Bush had to pick up the gauntlet in many ways Clinton wouldn't.

As always you're reacting, William, rather than thinking and understanding complexities and the time lags involved in this crisis. That's not to say however that Bush did not play his part. But it is to say this is caused by much more.

vienna va said...

and the conservtive fairy tale continues this way:

Then Grandma and little Johnny walked out of the restaurant and to the car.

Johnny was still confused as to why Grandma gave money to someone with an Obama sticker - Grandma was always telling Johnny Obama is a terrorist, and a Muslim and a communist. Why did Grandma give an Obama supporter money? I didn't make any sense to Johnny.

Grandma and Johnny made their way to the car and off they went through town. They passed the school, the library, the courthouse, the police department, the fire department, the hospital, the Department of Public Works, the park, City Hall, and the water treatment plant.

Soon they got to Grandma's house. Grandma told Johnny she had one more lesson to teach him for the day.

"See, Johnny, here's the thing about taxes: the big, bad government takes all our money - and we get nothing in return. Not a darn thing."

Webutante said...

That's you're projection and what you think some might say.

But here are two things little Johnny should know:

In order to be president a man or woman much be a natural born citizen of the United States of America. There is a great deal of rightful speculation that Obama was born in Kenya--his paternal grandmother says she was there at his birth---and then taken by his white mother to Hawaii where she registered his birth.This would make his candidacy unlawful.

Second, there is increasing buzz that Obama did not write Dream of My Father but had his good pal William Ayers, you know the American terrorist and committed socialist to ghost write it for him. In many ways his past is clouded in mystery. I think these things are important and ought to be cleared up.

vienna va said...

"That's you're projection and what you think some might say."

I know a lot of people who are glad we have the kinds of services we have because we pay taxes. You apparently aren't one of them. I mean, the single contribution you could make to the global war on terrorism is to pay your taxes without complaint. That's obviously too much to ask. I'd love to be able to give patriots like you the option of not paying taxes at all. You'd simply forfeit any rights to use roads, sewer lines, hospitals, schools, libraries, emergency services and the like.

Johnny (and Jane), if you have any questions regarding the birth of Barack Obama, I would urge you to go to this website and read the whole thing.

I leave you with this quote:

"Of course, it's distantly possible that Obama's grandparents may have planted the announcement just in case their grandson needed to prove his U.S. citizenship in order to run for president someday. We suggest that those who choose to go down that path should first equip themselves with a high-quality tinfoil hat. The evidence is clear: Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A."

You'd probably be well advised to make yourself multiple tin foil hats, you seem to fall for every red herring the right wing throws up.

By the way, how'd that "Poor defenseless McCain supporter attacked by huge scary black Obama man in Pittsburgh" work out?

Webutante said...

Vienna, no one thinks that we shouldn't have government services, for heavens sake. BUT many of us believe the federal government has far, far, far exceeded its enumerated powers as mandated in our great Constitution. And we don't believe in a living, relative anything goes Constitution.

That is, if you will, the great divide taking place in this country today. It's not about race, color or creed. It's about principles on which this country was founded and whether they're relative or fixed.

Gerard said...

I'm going to make it a point to redistribute all tips in Seattle starting now!

mare said...

You said the "actual recipient deserved the money more", I think there is room for argument there.

Anonymous said...

Vienna - The beauty of the people who earn the money getting to decide where it goes is that we can directly give it to people we see need it versus hand it to the government, let everyone take a piece and then finally - maybe get a cent or two to someone who may or may not need it.

About public services - you make the faulty assumption that they are better and more economically provided by the government. One look at the public school system should relieve you of that notion.

Anonymous said...

Here is a little updated version of the parable my husband sent out to someone. It made me chuckle:

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed, appreciating the panhandler's sense of humor. Once in the restaurant, I noticed that my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, and an idea began forming in my mind as I reflected upon the coincidence. When the bill came I decided not to tip the server, and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone whom I deemed more in need -- the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight. I went outside, gave the homeless guy the server's tip and told him to thank the server inside as I've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized that the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money that he did earn.

A few month's later as I made my way to the same restaurant for lunch, I noticed the same homeless guy. His sign didn't seem as funny the 2nd time around. A few steps further was a 2nd homeless guy, and I wondered what was becoming of my little town. As I passed him I noticed he was wearing a tie, I looked down and read "Obama 08". I looked up and saw that it was my waiter from my previous lunch. I also noticed that he was wearing a big smile...

vienna va said...

"you make the faulty assumption that they are better and more economically provided by the government. One look at the public school system should relieve you of that notion."

I work in the public schools. I would love to have you come to work with me one day. You'd get to see first hand how your tax dollars are spent. You'd get to see how dedicated the faculty and staff are to providing the best education possible. You'd get to experience the challenges educators face everyday. My guess? You'd never last a day there.

Anonymous said...

My problem is not with good teachers. It is with the NEA and the AFT. Their primary efforts are to stifle good education. They are so powerful that they effectively tamp down any notion of innovation and competition without the slightest concern for their clients (the children), but plenty of concern for their own grip on power.

Why does the union make it so hard to fire a bad teacher? Why do they refuse to have, say, English teachers be tested for English proficiency? There are schools in Miami where the English teacher cannot speak rudimentary English.

I am a proponent of vouchers and no unions. It would bring competition (I know a dirty and disgusting word) to schooling. It would weed out the bad teachers and attract good ones through better pay and an upgraded image and status of teachers ( as in - no more "those who can't do, teach). Vouchers would equalize the disparity between suburban and urban schools and force schools to be ever more innovative and efficient. Meanwhile, public schools would be forced to keep up, innovate and get with the program or lose their clients and their money.

Ever wonder why politicians do not send their children to public schools?

My guess is you missed John Stossel's special "Stupid in America".

Webutante said...

Good comment, anon, and oh so true. We need competetion for school vouchers, in health care too. It's the only thing that will keep prices in order and excellence the order of the day.

Would you mind giving yourself some nickname for comments so we can distinguish you from other anonymous commenters? You do not have to identify yourself. Best wishes.

vienna va said...

Well, anonymous, you're wrong. My guess is you have absolutely no experience working with or in a school and also no experience working with or in a union. Like the webutante, you probably get your information about unions from some decidedly anti-union forums which completely colors your view. My favorite quote from the Web waas her blaming hourly paid UAW workers for not coming up with better ideas for cars (that's generally left to the non-union salaried paid executives). Unions serve a real purpose here in America...oh, don't get me started on that again, I'll be accused of being an even bigger communist than I am. Just ask Sarah and Todd Palin about the benefits of Union membership. They'll get ya up to speed.

As for competition, I was under the impression that already existed. You are not required to send your child to a public school - and I'll go out on a limb here and suggest to you that 95% of public schools are accountable to the students, the tax payers and the community. You can send your child to any school you see fit for your child: public, private, secular, religious, or you can home school.

The difference is, you want ME to pay for YOU to send your child to a private school. Talk about spreading the wealth around! I have no problem with you educating your child any way you see fit. I just don't think it's my job to subsidize it. Or your mortgage either, for that matter, but that's another subject for a different day.

You're right I did miss "Stupid in America". I'm not their target audience. Glad you watched it though, hope it helped.

Webutante said...

Vienna, keep your focus on the issues and off making things so personal.

vienna va said...

It's not personal. Anonymous asked me if I watched "Stupid in America." I didn't. I hope that he/she learned something from it. John Stossels's got a decidely conservative anti-union bent so my guess is he's preaching to the choir. I've got no problem with that. It's still a free country, until next week anyways when we become an Islamic fundamentalist communist state by Thursday at the latest.

Anonymous said...

OK Sorry Webutante - Please call me for this topic "Union Grievance".

I have, unfortunately, worked with and for several union occupied companies. I do not deny they are good in the short term for employees. In the long run though they foster, nay, promote less than optimal employees (by forced retention of poor performers) and eventually either run a tax providing, employment providing concern out of business or off our shores. And as in the case of schools (the original topic you got heated about) they act in direct contravention of good and proper schooling.

I am not saying that unions are the source of all corporate migration to overseas facilities. High corporate taxation is another great reason to bale to somewhere like Ireland.

All this may be a moot argument. If things continue on their course, the only unions left may be service and government unions - a perfect world for you, no?

A little homage to the

As a consultant located at a unionized company I was not allowed to plug in my laptop or ANY OTHER electrical item into a wall socket. It was a union job. So, the Department Manager put in a work order and told us that it would be the following day before he got to it (To plug in my laptop and 5 others). Long story short, we decided to plug in because we had a schedule. The union found out about it, came upstairs with a rep., had a very ugly meeting in which the union wanted all of our equipment off the premises since we broke the rules. The compromise was that, while the union member was outside the room, we unplug our computers and the union employee come in and plug them in. Then they filed a grievance. They told us that every time we wanted to plug in we had to call. What to do when we have to work from the hotel every night - WITH our laptops? We ended up unplugging our computers from the power supply and purchasing another power supply for the hotel room.

Yeah, unions are the way to a strong and prosperous America.

Union grievance said...

I am not sure my Rreponse went thru Webutante. I had Blogger forbidden and I it did not go thru to put my name in I am so sorry! - Union Grievance.

Webutante said...

No problem, union grievance. Your comment is an amazing story on union madness. Unbelievable. Thank you so much for sharing your point of view and this wild story....I hope you've moved on from all that now.

FYI, after commenting go down and click the button beside "Name/URL" and then write in whatever name you wish to be called, then go down and click "Publish your comment." That should do it for you, if not please let me know.

And thank you again.

vienna va said...

"And as in the case of schools (the original topic you got heated about) they act in direct contravention of good and proper schooling. "

I'm not heated. You're entitled to your opinion as I am mine. I just get tired of hearing the same old teacher union bashing. It's usually done by people without kids in public schools which is even more annoying.

"good and proper schooling?" What in the world does that mean? You are aware that all schools are required to meet certain educational goals under NCLB, right? And in our state we are also required to meet minimum standards on the SOLs. I'm guessing most states are like Virginia. We do the best we can with good teachers and a shrinking budget.

"the only unions left may be service and government unions - a perfect world for you, no?"

Not really. I don't think it's too much to ask that workers are paid a fair wage for a fair days work, receive some sort of employee sponsored health care which employees pay into, accrue paid sick leave, etc. Maybe you do. I'm pretty sure the web does.

As to your union story, it sounds ridiculous. I can understand why you were frustrated. I would be to. But people like you and the Web will take that story and assume all union workers are like that. I would argue they aren't.

I think it will be very, very interesting if McCain/Palin wins because McCain is very anti-union (despite his recently adopted working class streak) while Sarah Palin, to her credit, said this, "We’ve gone through periods of our life here with paying out of pocket for health coverage until Todd and I both landed a couple of good union jobs."

Anonymous said...

I can't agree with you 100% but this is a well-written anecdote that is circulating the internet very widely today! In fact, a user here liked it so much she posted it as her own:

Surely she'll give you some acknowledgment at some point!

Sorry to intrude, that kind of thing just drives me crazy.

e. roy lee said...

to me, this is a great representation of the problem with the way things are working right now in the "free market"... the patron with the money represents big business, and instead of paying the hard-working server (middle class), he "pretends" that he's doing some good but in fact he's extending the gap between the middle class and the lower class by making him pay the burden of the poor...

if the guy really wanted to do some good, he could have tipped as he was supposed to and then be charitable to the homeless guy.

if he's dining by himself (it sounds like) and tipping 10, and i'm guessing this cheapskate is at most an average 15% tipper, then his bill was around $65... gee, i wish I could afford to go out and eat a $65 meal!

yes, this parable proves my point exactly!

Webutante said...

well, e. roy lee certainly you can interpret this and anything as you would like, but in doing so, you miss the point as it was written....

Jimmy Bob said...

The problem with this parable, and many other arguments against anything in general, is that it takes the extreme version of the principle ideology; it is the typical slippery slope argument. If you think taking the entire tip and giving it to a homeless man is analogous with taking a few percentage points more of your paycheck for income tax...then I don't know why I am wasting my time on your blog.

If you had taken a few cents from the waiter's tip and told him you were handing it over to the homeless person outside, then he most likely would be fine with that. Arguing that the policy is a slippery slope is like me saying that all the waiter's tip would go to the rich owner of the restaurant. This is clearly not the case with McCain's plan, nor would I would make that simplistic" argument.

Basically it comes down to giving more money to the middle class to invest in how they see fit in business, or giving money directly to those businesses. Trickle-down economics has put us in the situation we are in, lets tip the balance back the other way and see what happens.

how to buy gold said...

With Obamacare I will be paying 4% more through personal and payroll taxes and this money will go to that homeless man who is very undeserving. If you can learn how to buy gold and overseas properties you'll probably be a lot better off than most, especially once the Obama-controlled Fed starts to raise interest rates. Look at the rising interest rate cycle of the 70s (without Obama at the helm) and try to argue with me!