Sunday, February 10, 2008

Object lesson

“Mom, Dad, what’s socialism?” #1 Spawn asked us over dinner years ago.

Hubby replied, “It’s the distribution of wealth. It takes money from people who have more money and give it to those who don’t have as much.”

“Who makes that decision?”

“The government.”

“Why do they do this?”

Ah, the sixty four gazillion dollar question. “Socialists believe that everyone should be equal.”

#1 Spawn’s face screwed up. “Well, that’s not a bad idea. There are people who can’t eat, or don’t have anywhere to live, or can’t see a doctor. If a rich guy has a big mansion and fifteen cars, why shouldn’t they help poorer people?”

“Do you think it should be forced?” hubby asked.

“Well, if the richer guy isn’t willing to share, then, yeah, the government should tell him to share.”

“Okay, let’s put this to a practical application,” hubby said. “How much money did you earn last week washing cars and mowing lawns?”

“Thirty dollars,” our budding young socialist replied.

Hubby then looked at our other two spawn. “How much money do you two have?”

#2 Spawn puffed out his chest. “Fifty-five cents.”

#3 Spawn, only four, said, “What’s money?”

“Okay,” hubby said, “#1 Spawn, you have thirty dollars. Let’s pretend I’m the government, and I’m telling you that you have to give #2 and #3 Spawn seven dollars each so they can go to the movies.”

#2 and 3 Spawn were thrilled beyond words.

The response was predictable. “Why?” #1 Spawn screamed. “I earned that money!”

“But they don’t have any money.”

“Well then they should go out and mow lawns and wash cars like I did. Then they can do whatever they want. They can’t have my money!”

“But I thought you said that people who don’t have as much as the rich guy should be forced to share.”

“I lied!”

Hubby smiled. “Relax, I’m not going to force you to give them any money. But what you need to know is that this is exactly what the government does. We’re now forced to hand over a lot of our money over to the government who, in turn, gives it to people who don’t have as much. And it doesn’t matter whether we like how they’re spending our money or now. We still have to pay it.

“What are some of the things you don’t like?” #1 Spawn asked.

“Well, you know how Uncle Mark is an emergency doctor? He has to treat people who can’t or won’t pay their medical bill. And he also has to treat people who aren’t in this country legally. Since neither of these groups have health insurance or money, they clog up the emergency room so people who have real emergencies have to wait a long time to be seen. These people use Uncle Mark as their personal doctor, like when we go to Dr. Bentz for the flu.”

“So he works for free?”

“Well, the hospital pays him, but the hospital doesn’t get any money from these people. Someone has to pay for all the medicine, equipment, and hospital staff, so we end up paying for it in higher taxes and insurance fees. And Uncle Mark is busy, even when the insurance companies decide to pay less for treatments.”

The dawn began to light on #1 Spawn. “So the government takes money out of your paycheck to pay for someone who can’t pay their bills.”

“You got it.”

“So, we’re socialists?” #1 Spawn asked. “I thought that was like Russia.”

“We’re not like Russia,” hubby said. “But we’re on that track.”

“So what will happen to us?”

“We’ll have to work twice as hard to keep up with taxes and keep a good life for us as well.”

“That’s not fair. Those people have to plan ahead, like Mom told me to do when I had that term paper last semester.”

Hubby shrugged. “Can’t disagree with you.”

#1 Spawn speared a piece of broccoli and stuffed it into his mouth before patting his wallet. “Socialism sucks.”

#2 Spawn piped up. “Does this mean we aren’t going to the movies?”

“Get a job and pay for it yourself,” #1 Spawn sneered.


Ami said...

You know, I agree with this to a point. My husband is from the former Soviet Union, and I see the damage to that society.

But your examples don't take into consideration things like people who work hard but still can't afford insurance. My parents. Not even the company subsidized insurance, if they aren't self employed. My mother in law.

I'm not suggesting socialism, but with insurance companies posting record profits while charging more and more, while the country is statistically getting healthier.

Some regulation is in order. In fact, I will go so far as to say it is unethical for stock holders have no connection other than money to profit off the illness of others.

Lynn Price said...

Oh, I'm certain that my examples don't take many things into consideration. What I'd hoped to highlight is that national health care is not the answer because it's simply wrong for a fraction of society to fork over the money they've worked damned hard to earn. Just like many others, I've worked incredibly hard for what I've earned, and if the government believes that raping my checking account at every turn is going to make me want to work harder, they're wrong. Atlas Shrugged should be required reading for every American. As for me, I'm perilously close to shrugging under the weight of supporting those with less.

I agree that the insurance companies are the big winners in this entire medical fiasco, as is the government in terms of controlling us little folk, and both of these entities need razing. Docs lose big time, and so do we patients.

Petri said...

And yet, would he give his two little brothers 7 bucks to buy food so they didn't starve?

Just a rumination.

Lynn Price said...

He would have because he loves them. But if I told him he had to also pay 7 bucks to the folks who just moved in down the street, he'd have balked big time because he didn't know them. And yet that's what we're forced to do time and time again - fork it over to those we don't know. And no one will care one whit when our bank runs dry. They'll simply move on to the next money tree. Insane