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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Conversations with Molly

My Monday afternoon guest-post at HughHewitt.com is about a conversation I had with my youngest daughter this afternoon regarding spreading the wealth.


[Copied here for archival purposes on November 5, 2008, from the post linked above at HughHewitt.com.]

(Guest Post by Bill Dyer a/k/a Beldar)

"Grades come out tomorrow," said my daughter Molly, an eighth grader, when I picked her up at school this afternoon.

"Great," I answered, "How d'ya think you're gonna do?"

"Pretty well," Molly said confidently.

"What will probably be your best grade?" I asked.

"Guitar," she said, "That will probably be a 97 or a 98."

"Cool," I said. "You really have been successful. But I think you should tell your Guitar teacher that you want to give six or seven of those points to some of your classmates who haven't practiced so hard or don't have the talent you have."

She looked up at me, startled. "What?"

"That class is easy for you, and you have lots more points than you need for an A. They need those points more than you do," I explained.

"Then they should have worked harder!" she protested. "Yeah, I'm sort of talented, but I worked hard to get those grades! I earned them!"

"So you're telling me that you think it's fair for you to get to keep all of those good grades, both the part that comes from your having worked harder than your classmates, and the part that comes from the musical talent you inherited from me and your mom. Is that what you're saying?"

"Well, yeah!"


"Show me your lunchbox," I said. She looked at me strangely again, but found it on the floorboard and held it up.

I pointed at the "Barack Obama" sticker on its side, which she got from my ex. "That guy," I said, "wants to use the tax laws to take away more of the money that wealthy people have, whether they got it by working harder or because their parents worked harder to be able to give it to them. He says other people need that money more. He thinks we need to spread the wealth around.

"What I was saying when you first got in the car," I continued, "is just that we should spread your grade wealth around. You disagreed. Good for you. I don't really think your Guitar teacher should do that anyway. But let me ask you another question."

"Okay," she said, listening thoughtfully.

"Let's say even though you object, your Guitar teacher decides to spread your grades around to the other students in your class. Do you think you'll work as hard to get top grades during the next nine weeks?"

"No way!" she said.

I just pointed at the sticker on her lunchbox again. We spent the rest of the short drive to her mom's house in contemplative silence.

— Beldar

Posted by Beldar at 01:24 AM in 2008 Election, Family, Obama, Politics (2008) | Permalink


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(1) Dennis made the following comment | Oct 28, 2008 2:16:14 PM | Permalink

Molly’s Mom does not make a valid comparison.

It is the campaign directors who seem to want to turn this election into a class war that are falsely claiming that Sen. Obama wants to steal from the rich and give to the poor. That’s simply not true. Taxes are intended to fund the cost of government, not redistribute the wealth from one group of individuals to another. Sen. Obama and a significant number of the members of our congress simply want to collect taxes differently and distribute those revenues differently. They want to stop giving enormous deductions and credits to those who don’t need them. They want to fund projects or programs that will be of greater benefit to the nation as a whole – not a few individuals.

To explain, Molly’s Mom should describe the role of government as that of a gardener. A good gardener does not simple turn on the sprinkler and sit back in the lawn chair and watch to see what randomly pops up. And he will not water that part of the garden that already receives plentiful rainfall. A good gardener will consciously think about what he needs to feed his family and enrich his community’s life. He will then design, plant fertilize, weed and water (tax, regulate, provide incentives and yes - like weed control – disincentives too) his garden so it will yield the good healthy crop and flowers – just the right stuff to allow his community to survive, grow and prosper. In the end, he will harvest he needed, not the one that happened.

Those same culture warriors who misrepresent Sen. Obama’s tax proposals mock Sen. Biden for saying that ‘paying taxes is patriotic.’ What are they trying to say? Are they saying that NOT paying taxes IS patriotic? If so, how would they pay to plant and tend our garden, to build our roads and bridges? How would they pay to keep the fox out of the hen house? To keep us safe? How would they pay to fight the war on terror? Since it does not grow on trees, and paying taxes is not patriotic, just where would they expect to get the dough?


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