Wednesday, October 22, 2008

spread the wealth around

From Doug Ross: a creative approach to redistribution of wealth as offered by a reader of the local newspaper, the Eagle Tribune:
Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign the read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed--just imagine 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 who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

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

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

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application..


At 7:46 AM, Blogger Mr. Punky Kitten said...

a reader comment:

This is a very illustrative tale. Everyone is for largess if they receive it but they don't want to be forced to pay for it for others.

For a truer analogy the guy giving the tip to the homeless should first pay someone else to hand out the money (taking a cut out of the tip for handling -- hey government isn't free). Then have the homeless guy fill in a form to make sure he qualifies. Then give him a voucher that he can only use at certain locations to redeem certain items. We can't let him have free control of the money can we.

Of course taking the money away from the server would involve more bureaucracy too.


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