my neighbor and the wealth of nations, or ‘That Shit Crocks Profoundly’

I was talking to my next-door neighbor yesterday, for three or four minutes. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. The subject happened to be the air travel industry. My neighbor said that he thought it might be a good idea to re-regulate the industry, for the sake of the nation’s economy. He said that, even though it reeked of socialism, it might be a good idea. Then his wife called him back inside.

My next-door neighbor thinks differently than I do. He is a chief navy petty officer, and a policeman, yet somehow he thinks he’s also a full participant in capitalism. And by saying that he thinks the airline industry should be re-regulated, he’s saying that there is some minimal right that a citizen has to rapid travel; that somehow a broken system of air travel will impede his rise to affluence.

My neighbor lives in a fantastic dreamworld, in which televised rags-to-riches anecdotal evidence is evidence. I think most people live in that world, where an honest worker can depend on one day retiring to his mansion and the commies only come out at night. It’s a fantastic world, yes it is.

The right to air travel doesn’t even register on me. What citizens should have a right to is free health-fucking-care, Junior, and the right to work for a living wage. Get those cleared up, and we’ll start talking about your right to jet to Gramma’s house on All Saints’ Day.

Also, I hate to break it to you, pal, but you’re never going to be the rich man of your dreams. You’re going to die an industrious worker who yearns to be the rich man of his dreams.

Industry should be rewarded. Someone who works harder than some other one should have access to more things. If the opportunity to have more things wasn’t available, fewer people would be industrious. I know that. I’m not for total redistribution of wealth.

But redistribution of wealth, to some degree, is a necessity, and already happens. That’s what progressive taxation is all about. Progressive taxation is why there are not riots in the streets. Listen up, y’all!

The current American system is not set up to see to it that each citizen’s basic necessities are taken care of. It’s set up to insure that the degree of misery experienced by the weak never rises to the point that they openly revolt. Ostensibly, our system is set up to insure that we each have a clear run at life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It says so right there in the owner’s manual. But they didn’t really mean everybody, even from the start. Don’t kid yourself.

That’s our current system. When you’ve got some people buying yachts to store their caviar on, and you’ve got some other people dying of poverty and addiction because they don’t have food or can’t get treatment, you’ve got a system that hasn’t quite found the wealth redistribution sweet spot.

It’s remarkable. What a profound crock of shit. That shit crocks profoundly.

Neighbor, you’ll never be rich enough so that, in a just system, you’d lose more value than you’d get back. Ain’t gonna happen. You have a terrifically misplaced sense of your own destiny. I’m surprised I have to tell you this. Get your ass to thinking.

A just redistribution of wealth has been done, or nearly so. Look at Scandinavia. When my neighbor looks at Scandinavia, he thinks about the tax burden. He thinks about how much harder it is to become rich there. News flash, Neighbor: you’re never going to be rich here, either.

Take a dollar, buy a lottery ticket, clutch it in your trembling hand, and dream your dreamy dreams. The rich thank you for your support.

This entry was posted in big idea, curmudgeonhood, mach?, money, neighbors, politics. Bookmark the permalink.