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Dylan Brody Headshot

Economics 101

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I don't claim to know much about economics, but like most Americans, I never let a lack of comprehension prevent me from having an opinion.

Here's what I've noticed. Most politicians operating at the national level have a lot of money. I do not have a lot of money. For the record, I am not a politician operating at the national level, either. Is there a record? If there is, that was for it. I digress.

These national level politicians tend to tell those of us in the middle class that the reason for our problems lies with the poor and the disenfranchised. Illegal aliens, they tell us, eat up social resources in a time of deprivation using emergency health care and school lunches that cost millions of dollars. Apparently there are a great many accident prone undocumented immigrants with really hungry kids. We are told that having a safety net creates a lazy, government-dependent class that seeks only to live off our tax dollars in rat-infested hovels and that the best way to discourage people from being poor is to take away their money.

These same national level politicians spend millions and millions of dollars on advertising to convince the poorest voters that the reason we cannot afford a safety net is that the unions - those who actively represent the middle-class - demand too much for their workers. According to the very wealthy of this country, the so-called "job creators," an interest in working together to get the best deal for everyone on the work-force is anti-capitalist. Being willing to sell one's time on the planet at a rate that undercuts the other guy and allows for maximum corporate profits, that's just being a good, old-fashioned team player.

So, a group of people with a lot of money who mostly associate with people with a lot of money, spend a lot of money telling those with less money whom to blame for their privation. Let me put this, as best I understand it into the form of a simple school-style word problem.

Lexington Park Madison the Fifth has sixty-five apples in a big bucket. Lawrence Workharder has two apples. Michael Undernostril has none. Lexington Park Madison the Fifth stands up on his bucket and says, "Michael! Lawrence has two apples. You have none! How is that fair?"

Lawrence says, "Wait a minute. I worked hard for these apples. Why don't you give him some of yours?"

Lexington says, "Hey, you two fight it out. I have all these apples, obviously I am the provider of apples so those two must have come from me to begin with."

Lexington sits and eats some apples while he watches them argue and, at last, Lawrence agrees to give Michael an apple because the poor guy looks hungry, at which point Lexington says, "Oh! Did an apple just change hands? Then you each have to give me half an apple."

This confuses Michael and Lawrence. They say, "why?"

Lexington then says, "This is very complicated stuff. You couldn't understand it. But if you apply yourself, there's a chance that some day you could have enough apples for me to explain it to you. Now get off my Orchard. This is private property."

Did I mention that I don't really know much about economics?