What Sharing the Wealth really means

Where might “share the wealth” lead? One businessman found out the hard way and related his story to warn the rest of us. A must read, all the way to the end…

Dinner at the White House – a parable*
by Richard Gleaves

Once upon a time, I was invited to the White House for a private dinner with the President. I am a respected businessman, with a factory that produces memory chips for computers and portable electronics. There was some talk that my industry was being scrutinized by the administration, but I paid it no mind. I live in a free country. There’s nothing that the government can do to me if I’ve broken no laws. My wealth was earned honestly, and an invitation to dinner with an American President is an honor.

I checked my coat, was greeted by the Chief of Staff, and joined the President in a yellow dining room. We sat across from each other at a table draped in white linen. The Great Seal was embossed on the china. Uniformed staff served our dinner.

The meal was served, and I was startled when my waiter suddenly reached out, plucked a dinner roll off my plate, and began nibbling it as he walked back to the kitchen.

“Sorry about that,” said the President. “Andrew is very hungry.”

Read the whole story at
Dinner at the White House – a parable

*Linked with permission from Rebirth of Reason.


Steve Buckstein is founder and senior policy analyst at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research center.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn Post to Reddit

Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 24 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Jeff

    Scary thought, but the people did vote for “change”. Hold on to your wallets, we are only 6 months into this 4 year term and all we will end up with is change in our pockets.

  • John

    Considering the dinner with the president was paid for by the taxpayers, the rich author didn’t lose anything but a coat.

    If this fictional story is designed to make me feel sorry for the wealthy, it didn’t do it. For the first time in my life I’m actually enjoying seeing the rich fearing for the future of their wealth. You have lived in luxury, you pay very little taxes and you have taken from the very people that work to keep this country going.

    CEO’s are scared shitless that their massive pay and benefits will be taken away. Obama is attacking Wall Street and the very infrastructure that has created all this mess in the first place. I hope he succeeds.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      You’re serious?

      • Sybella

        I think he is serious. What he doesn’t know is when all the wealth is gone, so will he be.

        • Harry

          “I think he is serious. What he doesn’t know is when all the wealth is gone, so will he be. ”

          ====

          Gone? Nope!!

          Serious? Yep!!

          His name is Eric, and he has a large family…

  • counterpoint

    Fiction arguing with fiction. Wealthy people helped vote Obama into office, and he has proposed only mildly raising their taxes to a point still below what they were under Reagan. What we have here is hyperbole.

  • Delia Lopez

    John the definition of wealthy is going lower and lower, you are next. While the truly wealthy and politically connected are off the hook. Tim Gietner made a tax mistake it is amazing how many of Obama’s buds have made that mistake, how come they are not in jail, you or I would be. Take the “wealthys” businesses away and poof no more jobs. The way the gov. uses taxes is to tilt the playing field to benefit the big companies that fund their campaigns, at the expense of the small businesses that provided most of the jobs in our nation and gave us the highest standard of living in the world. The slow encroachment into our wallets and lives must be stopped. It is about rights. We Americans must join together to remind the government that the people are supposed to be in charge. They can steal money from me (if they use a gun or a badge it is still theft) to pay for abortions (I am pro life) 767 military bases in 160 countries that’s more than 80% of all the countries on the planet. Do we really want to pay for this? We created this government to “secure our rights” what happened? The federal gov. does not have the constitutional authority to do most of what it is doing. If we Oregonians want a program to help people we should be able to decide what we want to pay for with our money. At the state level. When the federal gov takes control the people lose it!

  • Joe

    The problem with John is that he isn’t rich or successful, so of course he is happy when the wealthy get screwed. I wonder if John works. If he does, does he work for a poor person??

    • John

      I love seeing the rich get screwed because it’s always another rich person or rich organization doing the deed. As far as my status, that goes under the category of “none of your business”.`

      Poor people don’t have employees, if they did, they wouldn’t be poor.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Why is it I have a feeling the most happy and or successful people don’t get a lot of joy seeing someone else get screwed?

        Somehow the phenomenon of taking glee in another persons misfortune is at the crux of liberalism. Convincing someone to take glee in another’s misfortune, even though it doesn’t benefit that person in the slightest is the key to liberalisms advancement. Without that, class warfare, and thus liberalism, cannot advance and that is the inherent evil in the philosophy. We are seeing it on full display here.

        I have a feeling whatever sucess you have had in your life has not been gained by indulging in this sort of envy. It really just sounds bitter and petty.

        • Steve Buckstein

          Rupert, your analysis made me think of several quotes from Eric Hoffer. Here is just one:

          “Those who see their lives as spoiled and wasted crave equality and fraternity more than they do freedom. If they clamor for freedom, it is but freedom to establish equality and uniformity. The passion for equality is partly a passion for anonymity: to be one thread of the many which make up a tunic; one thread not distinguishable from the others. No one can then point us out, measure us against others and expose our inferiority.”

        • counterpoint

          “Somehow the phenomenon of taking glee in another persons misfortune is at the crux of liberalism.”

          I’m not sure how you draw that conclusion when it was liberals who got behind civil rights for minorities, and it is `liberals who support funding to reduce poverty.

          I also think John is the exception, and most poor or middle class people also take no pleasure in seeing someone else get screwed.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >I’m not sure how you draw that conclusion when it was liberals who got behind civil rights for minorities

            I come to that conclusion because class warfare, which at its center does draw from such glee, is the foundation of liberalism. While liberalism can exist without class warfare, it cannot gain any popular momentum or be implemented without it. Liberalism requires massive funding and that funding is constantly ginned up by using class warfare – “the rich need to pay their fare share”.

            How you extrapolate my statement into a conclusion that “getting behind civil rights for minorities” voids such a conclusion is beyond me. Unless of course you are using the old round about way of calling anyone who disagrees with a liberal is a racist. I find that quite funny.

            At any rate, enough of trotting out “the civil rights movement” every time someone criticizes liberalism as a philosophy. Liberals constantly taking a bow for the civil rights movement has become almost comical. The civil rights movement was hardly an exclusively liberal club, it was far more a church one. Dr. King was a Baptist minister and indeed churches deserve far more credit for their organizational efforts in the civil rights movement than any liberal organization does. Last time I checked Southern Baptists weren’t exactly on the list of organizations liberals were real fond of. No liberal group did anything near what just the Baptists let alone the Quakers and other religious organizations did when it came to civil rights.

            Of course, to acknowledge the church’s massive role in the civil rights movement with both tear down liberal self esteem and point out the foolishness of the calamity liberals insist would happen if the church was involved in anything political. I guess I am also a racist for pointing that out as well.

            If it makes you feel better to take a bow for civil rights, go ahead with such silliness. However it doesn’t do a lot to remove the ugly truth that without class warfare, playing upon peoples greed and envy, liberalism gets nowhere.

          • counterpoint again

            Well with all due respect I think your conclusion holds no water. I’ve been a card carrying liberal for 4 decades and have never used the phrase “class warfare,” nor have I known any others who have this side of a few stubborn, remnant, barely coherent Marxists. Strike that. The people I hear using class warfare as a phrase are movement conservatives. And they use it as a club to beat a straw man.

            The foundation of liberalism is liberty and justice. The justice side of the equation includes economic justice, which includes a certain degree of “wealth sharing” to use the latest phrase of conservative ridicule.

            Recent proposals, by Obama and others, to increase slightly the share that wealthy Americans pitch into the common pot are modest, measured, and hardly based on class warfare. They are based on the cold fact that the disparity in income and wealth in America has reached its greatest point since the 1920s, so its time for a bit of correction. The majority of rich people & the majority of well educated people (who arguably have greater capacity to become rich) voted for Obama and Democrats across the board with full knowledge that their taxes might be raised. Essentially you are accusing people of waging class warfare on themselves, which is ridiculous on its face.

            Liberals supporting the rights of minorities is an example of support for those who are less fortunate. It was presented to counter your claim that liberals take glee in others misfortune. It had nothing to do with racism one way or the other, though obviously the misfortune of African American minorities had a lot to do with racism.

            Your criticism of liberalism seems based on a phony caricature of liberalism, not the historical record. Conflating liberal black Southern Baptists with Conservative white Southern Baptists is a way for you to dismiss the linkage of liberalism, which as I said stands for justice, with civil rights for not only minorities but for women, gays disabled people, and so forth. Yes, some white southern Baptists helped. The majority and their leadership did not, and they recently publicly apologized for their position, a few decades too late to do anyone any good. A lot of northern liberals, some secular, some religious, went to the south and at great risk registered voters and demonstrated. To dismiss them and their contribution is very disrespectful and petty of you, given that some of them died for their troubles.

            Churches find themselves on all sides of public policy issues. I don’t include or exclude them as a generality. There doesn’t seem to be anything inherent in religion that makes for taking liberal or conservative positions. I suppose we could list all the churches and synagogues and temples who took one side against all those on the other side, but what would the point be?

            I don’t need to raise civil rights to feel better. I’ve lived long enough to experience which side of the political aisle consistently advocates for expanding rights to people who were denied them, and which side tried and still tries to hold back social progress. This includes the present controversy over gay marriage. Which side is more for versus more against it Rupert?

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >I’ve been a card carrying liberal for 4 decades and have never used the phrase “class warfare,” nor have I known any others who have

            This is silly. “The rich need to pay more” has been a constant theme of liberalism for virtually every election in my lifetime. One of the main battlegrounds in the last election was the Joe the Plumber “Spread the wealth around” issue. Obama’s central economic campaign was based on raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for a tax cut for “95% of Americans”. That’s class warfare. If you are going to try and deny this, you really are now arguing with basic reality. I mean its simply absurd. Using the phrase does not establish whether someone uses the strategy. It’s not about a phrase or use of it thereof, its about the strategy one employs, and class warfare is the central and essential strategy of to implementation of liberalism.

            >Liberals supporting the rights of minorities is an example of support for those who are less fortunate. It was presented to counter your claim that liberals take glee in others misfortune.

            Oh ok, I wondered what that was about. Alright, I never said liberals every endevour is taking glee in someone’s misfortune. I never said in every endevour, if there isn’t an opportunity to take glee in someone’s misfortune then a liberal would not engage in it. Therefore I have no idea what bearing your issue really has.

            >To dismiss them and their contribution is very disrespectful and petty of you, given that some of them died for their troubles.

            I don’t dismiss their efforts. I simply dismiss your efforts to characterize the civil rights movement as one borne of liberals. It was not. It was a church movement first and foremost.

            >I don’t need to raise civil rights to feel better.

            Well, you must admit, you do go on and on about it. I have no idea what it has to do with my central thesis, but for some reason this does seem to be the majority of your post so I’ll indulge.

            >consistently advocates for expanding rights to people who were denied them, and which side tried and still tries to hold back social progress.

            Ok, so does this mean you voted for Nixon? I think he was the one who really expanded affirmative action with his famed “goals and timetables”.

            >This includes the present controversy over gay marriage. Which side is more for versus more against it Rupert?

            Actually this is a good point. Liberals are for imposition of gay marriage through court imposition. Liberals in general abhor the idea of gay marriage being voted on by the people. I cannot think of too many liberals trying to get a gay marriage referendum on the ballot. I can think of plenty seeking to impose it through the courts.

            If anything were a second to class warfare in terms of liberalisms imposition it would have to be judicial fiat. This is why the supreme court is so crucial to liberals and why they are apoplectic when a Republican appoints a SC justice.

            Please let’s not get into a litany of court decisions. Some have been good ( Brown vs. Board of Education, DC et al v. Heller ), some bad ( the recent Kelo decision, Griggs v Duke power ), some idiotic ( Brown vs. Board of Education again, Roe v. Wade ). However if one seeks to impose doctrine largely through judicial fiat, then one has to live with the very real consequences of that, Dredd Scott. So I wouldn’t take a bow too quick for support of gay marriage. I view the method by which liberals seek to impose it as far more dangerous than whatever good may be in the issue. If liberals truly supported gay marriage they would seek to change public opinion on it and win it through the people. They don’t. They seek imposition by the courts. That says nothing about the worthiness of the goal, it says everything about the motivations of liberals, state control over the individual.

          • counterpoint

            “Using the phrase does not establish whether someone uses the strategy.”

            OK. Fair enough. But by what logic did the 53% of the people with incomes over $250K per year decide to wage class warfare on themselves? You just pointed out that Obama’s proposal to cancel the previous tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans was public knowledge and was aired in the media, so it can’t be that they did not know about it.

            “I never said in every endevour.”

            And I never said you said that. You simply made a categorical statement that “taking glee in another persons misfortune is at the crux of liberalism.” If the crux of liberalism is to take glee in another persons misfortune, why is there such a long record of liberals championing the rights of the “misfortunate? And don’t let you head explode as you consider this contradiction.

            “Well, you must admit, you do go on and on about it.”

            I admit no such thing. It is a clear example that refutes your core assumption. Nothing more or less.

            “Ok, so does this mean you voted for Nixon? ”

            As a mater of fact I did. But my vote had nothing to do with affirmative action one way or the other.

            “Liberals in general abhor the idea of gay marriage being voted on by the people.”

            Not according to polls. But here is the interesting thing. A gay couple gets married in Vermont, and then their jobs are transferred to Florida or Texas. Their marriage is not dissolved? Does that make any sense?

            “If liberals truly supported gay marriage they would seek to change public opinion on it and win it through the people. They don’t.”

            The only people making the argument to change public opinion are liberals, with a few notable exceptions. Some gay people who believe it should be their right to wed, regardless of what the majority think, have taken the issue to the courts as is their right as Americans. In some cases they have won, in others not. But public opinion is indeed changing, and over time it looks like blue states will have gay marriage and red ones will lag behind.

            “They seek imposition by the courts. That says nothing about the worthiness of the goal, it says everything about the motivations of liberals, state control over the individual.”

            I’m trying to understand that statement. Whether a right to marry the individual of one’s choosing is granted by a court or by a legislature, either way it would be a government imposition, since courts and legislatures are co-equal branches of government. As for favoring “state control over the individual,” which is state control: *allowing* people to marry whom they want, or *preventing* them from doing so? I don’t get your logic here at all. Please to explain.

  • Counterpoint’s counter

    As usual, counterpoint can’t be bothered by facts or reality.
    Liberal Democrats, Dixiecrats, actively opposed civil rights legislation. Sen. Byrd, the former KKK member, is still a Democrat, just like he was then.
    Liberals don’t support funding to reduce poverty. They support pay raises for the bureaucrats who perpetuate poverty for the sake of their own job security.

    • counterpoint

      Dixiecrats were not liberals. They were conservative Democrats, who mostly later became conservative Republicans like Strom Thurmond and Richard Shelby. Senator Byrd was a KKK member when he was young, and later on he had a change of heart. Liberals support funding to reduce poverty and always have. Some programs, like Social Security and food stamps have very little overhead or bureaucracy. Liberals are no more supportive of bureaucracy than are conservatives, but we are more supportive of public solutions to public problems, which unfortunately means tolerating more bureaucracy.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sure many people voted for Obama because the change they saw as deperately needed was the reversal of the big deficit trend.

    By Obama’s campaign these voters expected that sort of change. Not the change to massively expand the deficit and debt.

    The redistributing proponents could not have elected Oboma without the millions of others who were obviously wrong on what change would be coming.
    IMO the real Obama we are witnessing could not have been elected. The left left wing has not grown to the size they imagine it to be. The masses who they mistakenly think are still alligned with them grow weary of the lessons they are being taught.

    • anonymous 2

      When George W Bush was elected, the accumulated Federal debt was $5.6 trillion and headed downward. When he left office it was over $11 trillion and headed way upwards. Cheney famously said that “Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter.”

      Obama was elected during the worst economic crisis this nation has had since the 1930s. A 2nd depression was, and may still be a real possibility. He has ramped up deficit spending as the only known way to prevent this. No one wants added debt, including Obama. But right now there is no other logical choice.

      Obama is more popular now than the day he was elected, so I don’t think those who voted for him are dissapointed yet. Time will tell if he is able to give them what they want.

      • Harry

        “Time will tell if he is able to give them what they want.”

        ===

        Ring, ring!

        I want more cheese.

        Obama, give me cheese!

        • anonymous 2

          Did you vote for him? If not, no cheese for you.

  • Jessie

    I almost think of Obama as our savior. Perhaps he really is the second coming? I love him so much.
    Finally, someone who cares about me and mine and will work hard for us each and every day except for time off for golf, sightseeing, movies, plays, walks, dining out, etc.

  • Bob Tiernan

    *Rupert:*

    Why is it I have a feeling the most happy and or successful people don’t get a lot of joy seeing someone else get screwed?

    *Bob T:*

    Some years back, during one of those rainy periods in Southern California, I was chatting with the young gal at the register in one of those organic food stores and she admitted that she was “at that age” when she was glad to see the homes of wealthy people slide down the muddy hillsides. I wasn’t surprised at that, but was surprised at the fact that she admitted that she was aware it was a “phase” that she would grow out of.

    Bob Tiernan
    Portland

Stay Tuned...

Stay up to date with the latest political news and commentary from Oregon Catalyst through daily email updates:

Prefer another subscription option? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Twitter Facebook

No Thanks (close this box)