A mooching relative borrows $500 from you, wastes it all in a drunken spending spree, never pays you back.
Eventually, he loftily hands you a fiver.
He says, “I don’t even know why I give you this money, but I’m a nice guy. Use this gift to create jobs or something, okay?”
In response, do you a) Punch him in the nose; b) Punch him in the nose; c) Punch him in the nose; or d) Thank him for the gift.
We all know which three of these four options is the correct answer. Yet, again and again in tax cut discussions, people talk as if reducing the amount of money the IRS grabs from someone is tantamount to “giving” that person something.
Political commentator E.J. Dionne recently repeated this fallacy. “For years,” he wrote, “Republicans have argued that the way to help struggling working people is to give more money to the wealthy.” Dionne adds that Obama “is saying that we should cut out the middleman and help working people directly.” And Dionne thinks this a good idea.
So, why not just grab all the money the wealthiest people earn and divide it amongst the have-nots? Sure, this would kill the economy. But at least the terrible “middlemen,” the producers who make a complex economy possible, will be cut out of the loop.
An accomplishment we can all cheer as we starve to death.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.