Creative Wealth Redistribution

Doug Ross reports this interesting item:

Commenter Mickey writes: I have to pass this note on to everyone. Here is 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.

May have to try this next time I’m out on the town. And be packing I might add.

This is a great approach. I think that from now on when I go out I am going to ask my servers who they support (or voted for) in the election. If they say Obama then when I settle the bill I am going to tell them that I have decided to participate in Obama’s idea of spreading the wealth and I am going to give the tip to someone who needs it more.

If you decide to practice this be sure to wait until after you are done eating. God only knows what a deranged Obama bot would do to your food.

Big Dog



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34 Responses to “Creative Wealth Redistribution”

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  2. Adam says:

    Lame and distracting approach the issue. A simpleton’s story pretty much. It’s not a matter of whether or not somebody earned it. Earning is a relative term. On what do we base whether or not somebody has earned something? The bottom line is that there are certain things that we don’t allow because it burdens our society and harms all of us in return. We learned that from our response to the Great Depression.

    Take for example rampant drug use. Libertarians hate policy infringing on drug use but if our society became overrun with addicts we’d all suffer.

    In the same vein our society benefits from a lower class that is not in abject poverty and of poor health and a middle class that isn’t over taxed. It increases productivity, lets small businesses create more jobs, and helps our economy.

    This isn’t to say we need pure socialism but to think our country would be fine without certain safety nets in place is just not true. Unless of course you want breadlines on every street.

    I got a question about the ER since you’re in the medical field. If I go to the ER and can’t pay what happens?

  3. Big Dog says:

    It is not a matter if people earned it and earning is a relative term? If a person agrees to work for a certain pay then when he gets paid for that work he has earned it. Now, we could argue value or worth as in, was what he was paid worth the job he did but the fact is, he earned it by working for it.

    One thing is certain, those who get money through redistribution absolutely did not earn it. Overtaxing the rich causes job loss. Those who make money create jobs. If we take away their wealth then they have to cut back and fewer jobs are created.

    Our middle class is not overtaxed right now. The lower 50% of earners pay about 4% of taxes. I am in favor of everyone paying the same percentage. If we all pay the same percentage then we all have an equal stake in the country even though the raw numbers will be significantly higher for those who make more, we will all pay the same percentage of income. Actually, I am opposed to an income tax but this is a better alternative than the progressive tax that punishes productivity and success and rewards those who go along to get along.

    There are already tons of safety nets. A lot of them are never used or get bad names because people game the system. Certainly the weakest need to be taken care of but is it a government function?

    As for the ER. If you go to the ER whether or not you can pay is not the issue. It is an emergency room so they can refuse to treat you if it is not an emergency but the law says you have to be screened by a doctor for that determination. Most doctors feel that if they have to screen you they might as well treat you.

    The relative items are the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) which is part of COBRA and designed to prevent patient dumping which includes refusal of treatment because of ability to pay. EMTALA only applies to participating hospitals (those receiving money from DHHS or Medicare/Medicaid). Non participating hospitals are not bound by this. As a practical matter, it applies to nearly every hospital in the country except Indian Hospitals, Shriners Hospitals and Veteran’s Hospitals.

    Hope that answered your question.

  4. Victoria says:

    Lame and distracting approach the issue. A simpleton’s story pretty much. It’s not a matter of whether or not somebody earned it. Earning is a relative term.
    Mercy, you can be really patient sometimes, Big Dog.

  5. Adam says:

    Make sure you know ahead of time that I’m in a discussion mood and not an argument mood so let’s try not to get this combative.

    I think this whole topic is often mislead and distracted by language that isn’t correct.

    You misrepresent the tax burden by saying 4% of total tax income. In terms of percentage of their individual income there is a burden. Twenty-five percent of $15,000 is a much bigger burden than say twenty-five percent of $250,000, no matter how fair it seems.

    I think it does a grave disservice to folks who need help by framing the debate in terms of earning and not earning or working for it and not working for it. The vast majority of folks hate handouts, want to work hard, live independent, and be paid equivalently but there’s a point when this isn’t possible for many people and that’s why we have some of the things we have like welfare and food stamps. We do it not because it’s the right thing to do for them (that’s a whole other debate) but because it helps keep our economy on track by maintaining productivity in the country.

    When it comes to working for a certain pay only a fool takes a job at a rate without expecting to pay taxes. I don’t get a check and say wow I thought I was supposed to earn X dollars but where did the rest go? The industries set wages around taxes and if taxes decreased you can bet that wages wouldn’t stay the same so that you earned more money. I suppose drastic tax cuts would decrease business costs and allow businesses to pay better wages (such as arguments with min wage) but overall this isn’t going to be what happens, so to talk in that term is misleading as well I believe.

  6. Adam says:

    Victoria:

    I just maintain that stories and jokes that circulate like this one misrepresent and oversimplify the situation and that’s not fair to either side because these are much more important issues than deserve little quips and sarcastic anecdotes. They presume to make it so that it seems just so clear and anybody who can’t see it this way is an idiot. Maybe you think that, but I don’t…

  7. Big Dog says:

    Well, 40% of 100,000 dollars is much higher than 0% of 30,000 and the guy making 30k uses a lot more in government services.

    if you make 30k as your AGI then 10% is 3k. If you make 100k then 10% is 10k. How is 3k a bigger number than 10k? How is 3k any more or less the same percentage of income as 10k when compared to the whole?

    How is it misrepresenting to tell the truth, according to the government, the bottom half of wage earners pay 4% of the nation’s taxes and the top 20% pay about 80%. How is that misrepresenting any facts?

    The facts are this, wealthy people pay a disproportionate amount of the taxes in this country and use far fewer services than the non wealthy.

    As for expecting to pay taxes, sure we expect that because we have been robbed by government. What we do not expect is to have more and more taken away to pay for others. I want to pay for MY kids to go to college, and I don’t want to pay for someone else’s.

    Only a moron thinks they should be forced to pay for someone else before they take care of their own family.

    The story points out what is true, people love it when they get money from others and they hate it when their money is taken and given to others.

    Maybe Obama can get people to donate $5 at a time to pay for the poor. Oh wait, he would rather spend it on Greek Columns.

    The key is to ensure that you have enough shelters to avoid paying excessive taxes. It is nothing more than a crime for the government to take money from those making it and then give it to those who do not. Rebate checks went to people who pay little or nothing in taxes. How is that fair? It is not government money, it is OUR money. They confiscate it.

  8. Adam says:

    Talking in terms of total percent does nothing to measure the burden. If I have 100 dollars and you need 25 dollars I still got 75 left. If I have 10 dollars and you need 2.50 then I’m left with 7.50. That’s a harsh example but there are a lot of poor folks in America. When you talk about 4% in that way it’s like you’re saying 50% of folks pay almost nothing. It’s just not true. That bottom 50% pays plenty of taxes relative to their income level and at rates that sting a lot more because they make less overall.

    That’s why we have the progressive scale. When you have more of something it hurts less to give some away. Of course it’s true that at a certain rate people either make less money or they seek shelters but we aren’t even near that point and we can certainly shift a little bit of the tax burden upwards so that that working class and middle class folks keep a little more of their income and spend it to grow the economy.

    The rebate checks were a massive failure because most people used the money to pay debts or saved it up. We just ran up the deficit and really didn’t boost the economy any. It was just a political move in the end which a lot of this stuff is anyway I suppose…

  9. Adam says:

    One interesting thing my wife showed me in one of her economics books that I’ve started to support is instead of food stamps just give folks money to supplement their income. Sure, some folks will buy booze and smokes but it would cut down on the bureaucracy involved in the program and would put more real money back into the economy. Have you ever heard of that? The program already has a bad image though so that may only make it worse…

  10. Schatzee says:

    I have an idea – if you think there are people in need then feel free to donate to them. Take some of your wealth and spread it around as you see fit. I don’t think it is fair or the government’s responsibility to supplement people’s lifestyle or income or healthcare. Those who want to do that, sponsor a family, pay for their healthcare, send them 4% of your money. Those who don’t want to should not be forced to share that burden if they do not want to do so. What I earn should be mine to do with as I please, that is what capitalism is all about, no?

  11. Adam says:

    Charity is charity. I’m talking economics here. All the personal responsibility in the world can’t make up for everything that can go wrong in life and wrong in the country. In the end it’s just good policy to help those in need. As I mentioned above it’s not about what is right or fair, it’s about what keeps this economy strong. Making sure our population has certain safety nets in place is important or else we’ll end up right back where we were during the Great Depression.

    People want to portray these systems as socialistic or point out the people who abuse it but in general it’s important in this country to know that if you lose your job or you get sick then the Government will step in and help you through the tough times.

    It’s also important that those making more income shoulder a bit more tax burden than those making less because a healthy and productive working class is what keeps this country going. This is why Obama promises to increase taxes on the upper class and reduce the taxes of the middle class. Will he accomplish that if elected? Who knows?

  12. David Kirk says:

    Adam you seem to miss the point that people in the bracket Obama wants to increase taxes on are already paying an onerous amount. Why in God’s name would you want us to pay more. I might not even be offended by it if government spent the money in even a semblance of responsibility but that is never going to happen. As I’ve said before, the government is addicted to spending our money. The Constitution gave Congress the power to raise taxes but they expected it would be in a responsible way. I’m firmly convinced that is why they did not put a limit on it. We had just fought a revolution over taxes and most of these men knew the country was opposed to high taxation. Representation in Parliament had almost nothing to do with it. It was just a catchy phrase. Everything was being taxed for the colonies to pay for the exorbitant cost of the war with France . Additionally, we were being forced to exclusively deal with the East India Tea Company which was partially owned by the British government. Not in their wildest dreams did they expect the kind of taxation we pay today in everything. The only way to stop it is a Constitutional Amendment limiting income tax which would force the government to spend wisely. They will never do it on their own. When Obama talks about this tax bracket, he doesn’t talk about me or Patsy in WV and her small business. He immediately segues to CEOs of high profile companies who are making millions. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think they should be taxed higher either but he uses them to wage class warfare. And you are wrong about small employers, depending on your definition, and how we treat our employees. Mine are like family to me. I give them a lot, besides what I pay them. They are Main Streeters, struggling to support families in these hard times. Why would Obama take more money from me that I could give to them and give it to some nameless person in Chicago? I loved the example Big Dog and apologize for this length.

  13. Bill says:

    My God Adam are you really this stupid? Your posts are all over the place. Get out of your jammies, man, and get out of your mom’s basement. Go outside and walk in the fresh air.

    “In the same vein our society benefits from a lower class that is not in abject poverty and of poor health and a middle class that isn’t over taxed. It increases productivity, lets small businesses create more jobs, and helps our economy.” Obama’s financial plans will reverse all of this.

    “if our society became overrun with addicts we’d all suffer”, which suggests you support some government control over people’s lives. And then you follow up with, “instead of food stamps just give folks money to supplement their income. Sure, some folks will buy booze and smokes”…which is why they aren’t just given cash in the first place. You seem ok with that. And to suggest that somehow this would be good for the economy?

    “It’s also important that those making more income shoulder a bit more tax burden than those making less because a healthy and productive working class is what keeps this country going.” The “rich in this country already pay 80% of the tax burden. To tax them more will hurt the economy as businesses will be forced to cut back. Some business owners are already making cuts and laying people off in case of an Obama win. It’s hard to be healthy and productive when you don’t have a job.

    We have programs in place for those people who run into rough times. They are called “Unemployment Benefits”, “Food Stamps” and “Welfare”. They are meant to be used as temporary assistance until people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, too many people use them as a way of life or a permanent source of income. Obama’s plan to “spread the wealth around” really is just another form of welfare.

  14. Adam says:

    Bill:

    If your goal was to discuss the things I was saying then maybe you should try not asking if I’m really that stupid in your introductory paragraph.

    If your goal was just to berate me and talk down to me as your lessor then it really begs the question of why you engage in such a childish waste of time.

    Either way in the future don’t expect much in the way of a response, you jerk.

  15. Kim Spinney says:

    When talking to friends and people I meet and the subject of the election comes up, I constantly get the same response.

    We are in a very disturbing place in this country’s history. Never has there been so much hate. The leftist, socialists say the most vile things about anyone that disagrees with them. This is becoming worse when the news media, NBC, CNN, et.al. are doing everything in there power to influence others who want the U.S. to follow the lead of socialism and new world order crap. This is definitely a view of right and wrong, evil and good.

    Anyway, I’ve said that if IT gets in office, my next 8 years and possibly more will be terrible. Almost everyone says, don’t worry, IT will not be around for even one term.

    We can only HOPE.

  16. Adam says:

    Kim:

    You don’t have to go far to find hate spewed from the right as well. It’s a pretty big problem when it comes to trying to have a decent time talking politics both on the Internet and off.

    Do you consider me evil?

  17. Big Dog says:

    No, I consider you a friend, though sometimes others might not think so. I think you are misguided and you think the same of me. We have differences in philosophy but more in common than one might think.

    Yes, there is evil on both sides. There are people who can really carry it to extremes.

  18. Kim Spinney says:

    Who’s more evil……………someone who promotes the KILLING of millions of innocent babies and robbing them of all their rights…………………….or someone who wishes the baby killer would die soon……………………….

  19. Big Dog says:

    Adam, history says he will increase taxes on the middle class. Just letting the Bush tax cuts expire will add 5% to their tax burden.

  20. Big Dog says:

    Food stamps is kind of a misnomer because they get debit cards. I see what you are saying but the debit card can only be used to buy certain items so people are forced to buy food stuff. If they can buy other things then their families will not be fed and we will need to give them more money.

    It might save money if they got rid of most of the administrative folks that run the thing but that never happens.

  21. Adam says:

    Kim:

    Which baby killer do you wish to die soon?

  22. Big Dog says:

    Adam, the checks were not rebates. You can’t rebate something to someone who did not pay.

    The bottom 50% pay 4% of the nations taxes and the bottom 40% pay NO taxes. These are the government’s figures, not mine.

    In you example each person is still left with 75% of his starting wealth. How fair is it to say that the guy with $10 pays nothing and the guy with $100 pays $40?

  23. Adam says:

    Rebate check is your phrase too. Economic Stimulus Check is probably a better term though it doesn’t change the fact either way that it was probably a bad idea.

    I’m not disputing that 4% is correct, I believe it is. I’m just saying that talking in terms of all taxes instead of in terms of individual percent of income is misleading. The top percents pay the most actual dollars in taxes because they make the most money. Percentage wise they pay more too of course but I think it paints a better picture to talk in terms of the individual percents and not as a whole.

    For me there’s just no way around the idea that when you have more money then you can give more without feeling the pinch. I certainly am not bothered by the amount I pay in taxes and I’ve moved up drastically in brackets over the last 3 years.

    I guess the core argument here lies in who benefits more from a tax break? The upper class or the middle class? I guess both wouldn’t be a bad idea but we need that money to pay down our debts and I don’t see the Gov cutting spending too much any time soon as I’m sure you’ve stated yourself more than once…

  24. Big Dog says:

    No country EVER taxed its way out of financial trouble.

    The reality is, the fewer taxes people pay the more money gets spent in the economy and the more good paying jobs are created. If we tax those who create wealth we lose the wealth.

    When taxes are raised revenues decrease and when they are cut revenues increase.

    If we increase the taxes on the wealthy guys who own businesses then they will pass the added cost on in price increases which those on the bottom have to pay.

  25. Kim Spinney says:

    All of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Schatzee says:

    I think you’re missing my point Adam that it is not the government’s job to provide charity in any form (IMHO). If you believe that is the way to help the economy then you should by all means do it. And if you feel little pinch on your taxes, feel free to give more. That is your right. I just don’t feel that is the way to solve things. I believe in paying a fair share of taxes to provide for a strong military not a weak society. Rights come with responsibilities and too many people today want to demand their rights without shouldering their responsibilities.

    Those who need temporary assistance get it – even those who should not. It is becoming an epidemic. I don’t think addicts should receive benefits. I don’t think my taxes should increase to provide healthcare for others. That is not helping the economy of my household, I tell you that much. It makes me resent the governmental intrusion in my life and taking my hard-earned money to squander as they choose. Everyone should pay a fair share – not the more you make the more you owe. That is unreasonable.

    Taxes could be lowered if our representatives listened to us and our desires instead of their own ideas or those of lobbyists. Stop spending our taxes on leased vehicles and flights around the world and all that BS and start spending it on the things that matter to us – borders, security, our country.

  27. Bill says:

    Adam,

    “jerk” wow…zing! You really got me there! My question as to your stupidity was rhetorical. Anyone who reads your posts here already knows the answer. But you make a valid point (finally)…any discussion with you or attempt to show you the error of your thinking is a waste of time

  28. Adam says:

    Schatzee:

    I don’t think it’s the government’s job to provide charity but I believe that there are programs and laws we can put in place in the same vein as the Social Security Act and unemployment which may on surface seem to be about redistribution or socialism but in reality they would help our bolster our economy. I don’t think most folks seriously (and this is debatable I suppose) want the US to be socialist, but I think many people recognize the benefit that certain aspects of socialism have had and will have on our own economic policies.

  29. Big Dog says:

    Social Security has been a failure because it takes money from one group and gives it to another. We are not “saving” for our retirement, money is being taken to pay for people who are retired. If our money were invested in accounts for us then there would be no problem.

    Before i hear the cries about the market melt down, the current elderly would not have been affected because they were not allowed to enter. Those who have a way to go until retirement will be fine, history shows us this (even after the Great Depression, those who left their money in the market became very wealthy).

    I also have an issue with increasing the cap on income subject to SS. When SS is paid out there is a maximum limit and regardless of how much you paid in you are restricted to this limit. The government takes this money each month and spends it on non SS things.

    SS would have been a good idea if the money taken were invested in growth accounts with low risk (lower interest rates) so that they could grow over time with minimal fluctuation.

    SS in not guaranteed and the government can stop paying it any time they want. It is my money and i should be allowed to take the risk if i want to. Those who do not can live on $1200 a month and fit into the categories that Adam and Obama say need help because they can’t afford medication AND food.

    I plan not to have to worry about that because I KNOW that the government cannot take care of me. Only I can take care of me.

  30. bruce says:

    just remember that the obama fuhrer is a racist commie who along with most democrats hate our constitution.they will do anything ot over turn our liberties and replace them with obama though.if you like detroit,d.c.or any city or country run by negroes vote for this creep and see what you get.

  31. Patsy says:

    Adam, Adam, Adam, you are trying to place the same value and contribution to society on all forms of work, acting as if those who have acquired the knowledge, experience and work ethic to achieve great success in their careers are not entitled to keep what they’ve earned. No one is taking away an unfair portion of those workers who hold low income jobs, why should it be that those who have done what it takes to become wealthy have that which they’ve earned taken from them and given to those who can’t or won’t do what it takes themselves?

    Let me tell you something, Adam, you can be anything you want to be in this nation, so long as you’re willing to work hard & sacrifice. You have to use your head and navigate your way through the various paths one must take to success, but if you are determined, anyone can make their way to the promised land. There’s even a fair amount of help along the way for certain groups of individuals.

    If you are stuck in a low income, miserable existence, that’s your fault and you can do something about it. Go back to school, on a government insured student loan and get yourself a trade or professional degree. Qualify yourself for something better. Stop trying to sanction the theft of others’ accomplishments. Get off your lazy butt and get to work! And keep your damn hands off my company’s bank account and my employees’ share of the profits.

  32. Big Dog says:

    Patsy, I’ll do you one better. Instead of going back to school how about staying in school? They could also improve the school system which has failed miserably under the protected teacher’s unions.

    Unions protect teachers, not students. Money is not the issue. We spend a lot of it on education. If kids stayed in school and were given a quality education they could make more of themselves as adults.

  33. P / P says:

    OK, Adam, I get your argument. You are not necessarily supporting “charity” which is backed by the government’s power of deadly force. Your are arguing the necessity to our economy of helping those in need. Is this a fair summary?
    If so, your argument fails by the laws of economics. “What is compensated is repeated.” If you compensate need without requiring some form of production in return for the compensation, you will produce more need.
    Speaking as one who has watched the last 4 & 1/2 decades of growth in the welfare state, I can guarantee you that compensating need CORRODES the economy, it does not grow it.
    In addition, government at all levels – but especially at the national level – has historically and consistently DRIVEN CHARITY OUT of those areas of our society where urgent need exists and where it is most effectively, and most economically, met by private charity. (I would be happy to discuss this in more detail, but do not want to divert this thread from the main topic.)
    Our constitution does grant taxing power to Congress, but it does not grant wealth redistribution power.
    If you want a strong, stable, growing economy, you should be demanding a return to constitutional government of the economy. That alone would make all individual income taxes UNNECESSARY to fund current federal operations. It would also restore the money and incentives to private individuals and organizations to do for those in need what this country has always done in greater proportion and with greater freedom than any other country.
    And, finally, to anticipate your argument that private resources are not adequate to the need, permit me a personal anecdote. Some years back, I was part of a small (<10 people) organization working on housing challenges in my locality. We were able to generate private funding to supply 15 families, 47 heartbeats, with transitional housing support for up to six months. All done over the course of two years. All done with what amounted in 2008 dollars to less than 100,000. If government had done it, staff costs alone would have been 5-10 times our total budget. All money NOT spent directly on the need.
    So my response to your argument – that we should have a little bit of socialism just for the economy’s sake – is that the laws of economics, the Law of the Land, and the practical realities of government all argue against your case.

  34. in israel says:

    Redistribution of wealth is stopping the manager of that restaurant from dipping his fingers into the tip jar of the hard working servers.