Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The 'Blue' Plate Lunch: An Urban Redistribution Anecdote

Here is something circulating around the Net (lightly edited):
Today on my way to an early lunch I drove past an unemployed homeless guy standing on the corner next to my destination. He was holding a hand-scratched and scribbled sign that read "Vote for Obama, I need money."

I laughed out loud as I pulled into the parking lot and jumped out of my car.

Once inside the restaurant, I noticed my waiter wearing an "Obama 08: Working for the Middle Class" campaign button. Again I laughed as I considered the irony of the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided to put Obama politics in motion.

I asked the waiter if he had heard about "Joe the Plumber" and explained to him that I was exploring Obama's concept of spreading the wealth around. The waiter stood mouth agape in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need. I pointed to the homeless guy outside.

The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I promptly proceeded outside, gave the homeless guy $10, and told him to thank the waiter working inside. Like Obama, I said, I've decided who could best use the money.

The homeless guy was very grateful, which made me feel really good about myself. He confessed that it had been quite some time since he had been a party to a fine wine, and shuffled off toward the liquor store down the block.

At the end of my rather unscientific exploration into socialism, I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he didn't earn, but the waiter was pretty mad that I gave away the money he did earn, even though the actual recipient of the tip "lacked" the money more.

I guess the idea of spreading the wealth around in America works better in theory than it does in practice. Beware of the unintended consequences of doing things just to make yourself feel good instead of doing things because they are the right things to do.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Category errors are funny.

4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In pointing out a 'category mistake' one must also be able to correct it in order to prove that it has been committed.

Simply dropping the classification and running is akin to an intellectual drive-by ... though, less intellectual and more drive-by.

In the end, this story simply begs the question: are we all not Obama?

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rallying a crowd Wednesday in North Carolina, the Democratic presidential contender said McCain will soon "be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

No, mister Obama, you are not a socialist because you shared your toys and your peanut butter and jelly ... you are a socialist because you want to come into my home AND SHARE MY CHILDREN'S TOYS!!!

I don't trust you, mister Obama, to safeguard my children or their future.

5:01 PM  

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