Consider two shoemakers. One is exceptionally gifted and motivated. He can make seven high-quality shoes per day. He has found his niche and enjoys a prosperous life style. The second shoemaker for whatever reason is less successful. He can make only one lousy shoe a day and makes an equally bad living. The blind forces of capitalism would force the less productive worker into another endeavor for which he is better suited or better motivated.
SOCIALISM AND ITS DISCONTENTS
The democrat-socialist however would find the trauma of all this unacceptable. The left-wing remedy would be to tax the efficient shoemaker by perhaps confiscating anything in excess of four shoes per day. The government would then have three shoes to play with.
The first shoe would be kept by the government for “collection expenses.” The second shoe would usually find its way into the private sector perhaps to hire a think tank “consultant/lobbyist.” This new friend might be grateful enough to hire the sponsoring politician if he is voted out of office after some all too frequent and predictable scandal. But in any event, the third shoe would be gifted to the inefficient worker.
The initial effect is that the good shoemaker only has four shoes but the bad one now has two. Equality of income and attendant life style has apparently been improved creating a more harmonious society.
Socialism thus believes government bureaucrats can spend your money better than you can. You would just waste it on your family whereas government politicians are smarter and able to make society at large fairer and happier. And the slight loss of personal freedom because of new taxes and new regulations are a small price to pay.
Unfortunately, some of the unintended effects of the inherent corruption of socialism are
1. The government bureaucrat who collects taxes, and his friend the consultant/lobbyist, have new jobs enforcing new policies but will otherwise produce nothing.
2. The government bureaucrat will always make his life easier using the absolute power of the state. For instance, he might require daily reports on production to make collection easier. He might seek increased penalties for mistakes in reporting and be rewarded for increasing government income. But to the extent he exercises his authority, it will always be, for better or worse, at the expense of everyone else.
3. The efficient worker still has enough to live on but will see less benefit in hard work. He might maximize his situation by reducing his daily output to only four shoes. Indeed he wouldn’t get paid for making any more and might not have the time anyway after filling out all the daily government forms.
4. The inefficient worker will soon realize that if he stops making shoes entirely, he will still get one a day from the government. This is what he had before, and to which he had become accommodated. He will be quite happy not having to work and is well on the way to becoming a permanent burden on his neighbors.
5. There will be fewer shoes available. That is the previous output of eight shoes has now been reduced to four. Everything will be more expensive in a sort of hidden tax the politicians will deny.
6. In sort of a downward spiral, the government will find it necessary increase taxes as production declines in order to make up for the missing four shoes, perhaps by taxing the local donut shop. And so there will be fewer donuts and less bread as well for similar reasons.
7. As the economy declines, the government might quietly print more money. This will of course cause inflation and is thus a hidden tax because everyone’s money now buys fewer goods. But this will be so gradual that most people won’t realize it and even less so blame the government.
8. The number of people permanently in need and whose lives literally depend on “trickle-down” crumbs from the government table will continue to increase. These will form a permanent voting block for socialist politicians who will use demagoguery to blame the declining economy on everyone else.
Or as Prime Minister of Britain Margret Thatcher ruefully noted “The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” And then having feasted on the “seed” corn, everyone starves.
Despite the universally broken promises left-wing politicians always make, socialism does not improve the lives of the poor but rather brings everyone else down to their level. It is corrupting and, at its core, immoral.