The very real, inherent problem with wealth distribution is the insatiable wants of the recipients versus the finite resources of the donors. Eventually everyone ends up broke; no one is too big to fail.
Please allow me to give an example to illustrate the foolishness of bleeding the more well-to-do among us.
I have played a little hold’em poker in my day. Although I have won a couple of small Vegas tournaments, I’m not really very good. I am, however, occasionally intrigued by the coolness with which top-of-the-line professionals can push tens of thousands of dollars into the middle of a table, either on a pure bluff or hoping for a particular suit or card to be turned over.
Every year, Binion’s Horseshoe Casino hosts the World Series of Poker. Participants buy in for $10,000. Everyday players have a rare opportunity to witness firsthand the world’s best players competing.
Since we live in a democratic republic, let’s redistribute some wealth. Close the casino’s doors and let’s have an in-house, one-person, one-vote referendum. I propose that at the beginning of each hour, two percent of all of the poker chips sitting on the tables be distributed to all of the fans watching the games.
Come on, now, it’s only two percent.
The vote would be rather lopsided, I presume. The hundreds of fans would vote “yes” overwhelmingly, while the greedy players (those actually in the games and taking all of the risks) would probably all vote “no.” Undoubtedly George W. Republicans -- boo, hiss.
The referendum would pass easily.
Once word got around, of course, the spectators’ area would be flooded with freeloaders wanting some of the loot. As the hours and days wore on, the quantity of the poker chips on the gaming tables would greatly diminish. Fights would break out in the seating area over the limited number of chairs available.
Additional referendums would pass, elevating the hourly rake to the audience members. Eventually the grand prize winner, a lucky lady, would collect her $117 with a vow to never again enter such a contest. Her prize was miniscule compared to the thousands each fan pocketed.
Let’s compare historic taxes to a wage earner’s deck of cards. In the 20s and 30s, most folks didn’t even file income tax returns. They gave one card away and kept 51. When my parents were in their 30s and 40s, they gave three or four of their 52 cards to local, state, and federal governments. When my generation was in our 30s and 40s, we gave all of the 13 spades to local, state, and federal authorities. Today’s generation of indentured servants gives all of their spades, all of their hearts, and half of their clubs away in taxes. The best is yet to come.
Yes, Mr. Obama, let’s keep redistributing the wealth through ever-increasing social programs. Of course, the recipients vote yes and grow exponentially. Let’s keep punishing the successful, and rewarding the failures until we’re all truly equal.
Walt Osterman is the author of Not Home Yet: A Tale Concerning Israel's Rebirth. He served in Vietnam and is a Bronze Star recipient. He lives in Wyoming.