How to Lend a Helping Hammer & Sickle


You know, the people who say the guy who paid a billion dollars because he had 10, he has still got $9 billion left, that’s not fair, we need to take more of his money. That’s called socialism.

– Dr. Ben Carson

In a recent conversation with a friend from The Netherlands, we broached the subject of American “socialism-ophobia.” Plainly put, we have no idea what socialism is, but we’re pretty sure it’s gunning for us. Consequently, for a large portion of our population, there is no perceived line between communitarianism and communism; any social action constitutes a socialist power grab, and any indication of caring about the well-being of our fellow citizens is but the first step down that good old slippery slope.

During Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, CNN edition, Dr. Ben Carson spent most of his air time (excluding his comments on vaccination) proving he really doesn’t have a clue about many of the subjects addressed. One of those subjects, specifically, needs further thought: the flat tax. Everybody tithes; everybody pays a flat 10% of their income each year, including the poor, who have been coddled far too long. This is the way to go, argues Carson, because God came up with it, and he’s “the fairest individual in the universe.” An individual who, out of fairness, “didn’t say if your crops fail, don’t give me any tithe or if you have a bumper crop, give me triple tithe.” No, this individual extorts from rich and poor alike. Or does he?

Let’s talk flat tax for a moment.

First, keep in mind that Carson’s got an estimated net worth (according to Celebrity Net Worth) of $10 million or so. So, the 10% tax he’s advocating would bring his IRS bill to around $1 million. If little Benny has ten million apples, and Big Government takes away one million, how many apples does little Benny have left? A whole freaking lot. Nine million of them, to be precise. And he’ll score nine million more by this time next year.

On the other hand, per Carson’s comments during the first presidential debate, if little Johnny has ten apples, and Big Government takes away one of them, how many apples does little Johnny have left? Enough to make a couple of pies. Maybe. And since he probably won’t be able to set aside any of the apples for next year, due to scarcity, even if he scores nine more by this time next year, that’ll still be all he’s got. Unlike little Benny, who had plenty of apples for eating, canning, and surviving the winter months.

To suggest that the only equitable course of action is to treat little Johnny as if he had the same amount of apples as little Benny, or that to acknowledge any disparity between the two somehow foreshadows the rise of the U.S.A.S.R. is not only unfair, it’s just plain bad math. Apparently all the work we did with percentages and ratios in grade and high school eluded little Benny. I’m sure the man is a brilliant surgeon, but he seems unable to count. And completely clueless as to what socialism is.

It is NOT socialism to recognize our mutual obligation to one another, or to disincentivize greed. If the whole point of legislative activity is to compel people to act in ways they would not naturally act of their own volition–if that is what laws are for–then it is not beyond the purview of the federal, state, or whatever government you like, to craft legislation aimed at counteracting our natural human tendency to hoard stuff for ourselves. On the contrary, since those governments are charged with the well-being of rich and poor alike, it is their duty to do so. Otherwise, what we end up with is not socialism; it is antisocial-ism. Don’t tread on me; it gets in the way of my treading on you.

Perhaps you noticed that the one vocal defender of the progressive tax on that dais was none other than The Donald. What are the odds of the ultimate capitalist launching a socialist takeover? I found myself liking the guy, just a little, if only because he seems to understand that the elephant in the room is prone to sitting on people. He may be filthy rich, but at least he seems to care about those who are not. This is not an endorsement of Trump for president, let me be clear; but when the only guy up there who defends the poor is the richest of them all…

Well, where’s Rod Serling when you need him?

11 thoughts on “How to Lend a Helping Hammer & Sickle

  1. I watched the CNN edition until I finally rolled over and fell asleep. Normally I’d grunt and make noises, sights, guffaws and roll my eyes a lot at these things but seriously I sat there and literally hardly even moved. I’m not sure I blinked my eyes. I think in hindsight I was in shock. Biker Dude watched it too and he did the same thing. We never said a word to each other. The next day when the shock was wearing off I told him that I got to thinking that I am worried. Between the U.S. election stuff and ours here in Canada (Federal election mid-October this year) I find myself feeling quite hopeless at the people that make up our governments. I’m not saying I’m a Clinton fan either. I just sit there and think to myself, this is it? The leader of the free world is on that stage?

    Specific to your post regarding Dr. Carsen. I remember saying to Biker Dude that I was hopeful about the neurosurgeon until he spoke and I thought good grief, him too?

    And then there was the issues over the red button. Would you want Trump in charge of pressing the red button (it’s red right?) I wouldn’t want any of them in charge of that button! I don’t know them all but they all seemed to be cut outs from the same piece of paper.

    What do I know though. I’m just a Canadian. Time to repair the igloo. 😉

      1. Oh we aren’t a bag of chips and all that here either. Wayne Gretzky is here supporting Stephen Harper for re-election as our Prime Minister. Yuck. Go home Wayne. You can’t vote anyway!

        I currently have no doctor. My former doc retired without notice this spring. I found out when I called during a serious bowel/gall bladder flare I had. Not one doc in any of the clinics here is taking patients right now. Not one. We have a lot of docks. We have a hospital. Where there is a hospital there are doctors. I doctored myself through another flare. Not the first time. To get a doc I have to fill out an extensive application form. Then it goes in the waiting list pile. It waits there to see if anyone is interested in reading my application and then having me go in for an interview to see if I pass the test and the doctor wants to see me. I don’t get to chose or have a say in who that doctor might be.

        Then, if by chance someone takes me, I have to abide by their rules. And I have to sign a contract. The contract says I have to doctor with them and them only and their after clinic only. If by chance I happened to attend another walk-in clinic and not their walk-in clinic I’ll be chastised for doing so and breaking the contract. I’ll get a written scolding and warning. If it happens 2 or 3 times I am dropped as a patient.

        We’ve got our issues too. But maybe I shouldn’t complain.

      2. Everybody’s got their issues, and I’m not sure there is such a thing as a well-oiled system. I don’t really follow Canadian politics, since I’ve got more than enough to pay attention to on our side of the line, but maybe I will start trying. It sounds “interesting”…

  2. Dr. Ben Carson stands proud of his humility. Truth is, he’s just as arrogant as The Donald, just not as loud. It is complete arrogance to believe that being a great surgeon means you have a great brain which translates into instant wisdom on all other subjects, regardless of the amount of preparation or study that has gone into them. Was Dr. Carson born with the knowledge of how to separate conjoined twins or did he spend years and years learning how one might go about performing that task? And he thinks he can take that same scalpel to the U.S. government, with the same precision, without any advice or education with which to do so? I think not.

      1. I watched the happy hour debate and about an hour and a half of the main debate Wednesday night. I’m not a fan of any of them, really. Though I do have to say that George Pataki said some things that intrigued me in the happy hour debate and John Kasich got my attention on a few things in the main debate. Neither of them have a snowball’s chance, though, so…

        Dr. Carson seems fairly intent on some sort of theocracy which isn’t a big deal if you’re a Christian – it seems logical. On the other hand we need a president who will protect religious freedom for all. Not only that, all of the candidates save Rand Paul, John Kasich, and George Pataki seem pretty focused on war. Follow the money, folks. War is big business. Even though many Republicans were impressed with Carly Fiorina, even she was very war-centric.

      2. I’m for the most part a Democrat, so my watching was mainly in the interests of staying informed. That being said, the only two candidates I could ever remotely get behind are Kasich and Paul (more the former than the latter). Kasich seems aware of the need to work with people of opposite views, but I’m not sure he’s got a forceful enough personality for it. In any case, you’re right; not a snowball’s chance. The level-headed ones rarely do…

      3. I’m really neither. I’m fiscally conservative and socially progressive, which sometimes presents a conflict. When it does so, usually the socially progressive side of me wins out because conservatism with regards to the poor seems quite stingy, though I can see need for reform to our welfare system.

        Like you, I mainly watched to stay informed, to know what they issues are and who is actually presenting their views on the issues whether I agree with them or not.

        What this Republican primary is turning out to be is sound-bite reality tv. I’m not sure that’s all Donald Trump’s fault, either. The media hype surrounding him has turned it into a three-ring circus.

    1. :o)

      It’s a scary thing to find an issue on which Trump would be the best candidate…in a manner with which I agree…

      Shivering in my sneakers…

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