Here's Something: Sharing wealth makes every day scary as Halloween

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Ghosts, goblins, skeletons, skulls and cobwebs. Blood, gore, vampires, bats and cauldrons. Spooky creeking, squeaking, howling, hoots and cries. These are some of the scariest parts of Halloween, but there’s one thing even worse: When your mother makes you share your candy with your siblings.

Picture the following Halloween-night scenario: You’re 10 years old and in the prime of your trick-or-treating years. You have two older siblings who are too lazy to be bothered with trick-or-treating despite the sweet rewards promised to all who put in the effort.

You live in a densely populated neighborhood, perfect for efficient Halloween candy collecting. You’ve spent weeks making your ghost costume. You’ve even thought about what kind of candy receptacle you’ll employ, a white pillow case that’ll meld nicely with your outfit. You’re all set for the big night: All Hallow’s Eve.

It’s 4:30 p.m. and it’s getting dark. You’ve planned your route. You’ll go street by street, up one side and down the other, in a serpentine path designed to yield as much candy as possible in the few hours allotted. A snag pops up. It starts raining at your estimated time of departure. Not a hard rain, but certainly not conducive to someone wearing a cotton sheet. Undeterred, you don a rain jacket and boots under your flowing costume.

Despite the weather, you’re excited and the friendly face at the first house you visit (Mrs. Smith, your next-door neighbor, who always has great candy offerings) tells you how impressively scary you look as she drops a Reese’s into your pillow case. You head to the next porch-lit house. It’s another score there – a full-size Hershey bar.

The euphoria coursing through your 10-year-old veins is palpable. You’ve put in the effort to make a great costume and you’ve designed your assault street by street and now your dream of scoring a bagful of candy is coming true piece by piece, house by house. Candy, of course, is how you measure wealth, as any kid would. And tonight, as President Trump or Charlie Sheen would say, you’re winning.

About three hours later, you finish your trek, albeit soaked and cold, with your arm muscles strained from carrying what has become a water- and candy-laden pouch filled with treats you’ll enjoy for the next few weeks. You get home, pull off your ghostly coverings, remove the wet jacket and take your hard-earned sugary booty into the living room where you show it off to your parents and siblings as they sit watching TV. You’re proud of your candy, but you’re more proud of the work it took to amass.

Your mother then says the scariest words you’ve heard thus far in your young life: “Aww, wouldn’t you like to share some of your candy with your poor brother and sister? Go on, now.”

You think to yourself, “No, Mom, I actually wouldn’t like to share. This is MY candy. I asked them to come along with me but they said they had better things to do. They said they were tired. So, no, this is my candy. I’ve earned it and I’m gonna eat it.”

Of course, your 10-year-old brain doesn’t think fast enough to turn these thoughts into words before your mom has her redistributing hands in your candy stash. She takes out two big handfuls and gives one to your brother and one to your sister. Of course, your siblings feel like winners now, too. They scored delicious candy without lifting a finger or trudging around in the dark and rain as you did. They didn’t even have to take it from you themselves; a higher power (good ol’ Mom) did that for them.

After losing about half of your stash, you sulk up to bed feeling defeated, deflated and disgusted. You feel robbed. You consider foregoing the Halloween candy hunt next year, but instead go to sleep vowing to figure out how to protect your candied wealth next Halloween.

This Halloween-inspired allegory, of course, is fictional. But it happens daily in American life in a similar, but no-less-scary way: It’s called excessive taxation and redistribution of wealth.

Government confiscates our hard-earned “candy” and uses it to prop up inefficient and ineffective social-welfare programs. We lose half of our stash to corrupt politicians who dole out pork to their local constituencies. We lose it to big-business tax incentives and tax breaks. We lose it to wasteful infrastructure projects and bank bailouts. On and on it goes.

Bloated government is like the mother who doesn’t realize she’s shattering one child’s work ethic to please two others who are too lazy and unprepared to go out and get their own “candy.”

John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.

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  • Just Sayin’

    The author fails to recognize that there’s a major difference between candy, and wealth.

    Sure, we all like candy, but we can survive if someone else hordes it all. With wealth though, everybody needs enough to be able to afford shelter, food, medical care, clothing, and many other necessities of life. Yes, we all like to keep what we earn, but it’s up to each of us to make a decision here: Would we rather share a portion of the wealth that we earn to make sure that people aren’t freezing to death, starving, languishing in misery and disease, failing to get an education or otherwise being left to suffer inhumanely?

    In America, we’ve generally believed in supporting a certain, very basic level of life, so that everyone has a chance to pull themselves back up.

    If you’d rather hang onto the full measure of your wealth and damn the cost to your fellow man? Well, you have the choice to move to a country that will let you do that.

  • David Craig

    You want 10 year-olds to have Trump and Charlie Sheen as role models?

  • Chew H Bird

    The concept of sharing (contributing to the good of all) should not be the problem. We all should, in my opinion, contribute our fair share.

    The real issue isn’t just the tax basis, or the revenue amount, but a combination of those two critical details and a third variable called “circumstance”.

    I say this because we all have different situations and sometimes “stuff happens”, plus we all pay more every year for medical care and prescriptions, and insurance covers less and rates still rise. Fuel prices vary. Children grow, (and out grow), their clothes and belongings at different rates. The fact is tax rates and our income earnings are unable to adequately take personal circumstance into consideration and adjust accordingly. Politicians generally vote to spend more taxpayer dollars every chance they get and seem to have virtually no regard for realistic situations forced upon individuals, (taxpayers).

    I was brought up to share. I like to share (in general). However I also like to be on the other end of sharing once in a while. With the government it seems individuals are always sharing but the government does not share back…

    • Just Sayin’

      The government doesn’t share back? Interesting standpoint.

      I guess you haven’t driven on public roads, then. And the children you mentioned didn’t go to public school, I take it?

      Of course you have your own wells and purify your own water, too, right? And hire your own private security forces and firefighters? You handle having your trash hauled away and either landfilled or recycled?

      The government pays back in lots of ways. You’re just taking it for granted.

  • Linda Gouldrup

    Whatever the government touches, the costs go up exponentially. Academia? Health care? Welfare? Education Loans ? Corruption is synonymous with state and federal government. Less trusted than used car dealers (sorry to you honest dealers).

    • David Craig

      I don’t think you understand the concept of exponential growth. Please provide examples to back up your claims. I’ll give you an example that disproves one of your claims… Academia. Public schools (government funded) are less expensive than private schools.

  • Ted Markow

    In the latest issue of National Geographic Magazine, there is an article entitled “These Are the World’s Happiest Places.” Not surprisingly, the USA isn’t one of them. Matter of fact, we are fairly low on the happiness scale.
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/11/worlds-happiest-places/

    Denmark is one of the happiest nations, according to Danes who took an international poll (the same poll Americans took). And why are they so happy? A strong safety net, including universal health insurance/care, liberal time off from work, and a redistribution of money that gives the lowest wage-earners and non-earners a means to live decently above poverty.

    And guess how Denmark does this? Yup, high taxes. Everyone is taxed above 50%, but those taxes go to making sure that the wealthiest don’t take so much out of the national pot that there isn’t enough left over to house and feed the rest. That’s a decent society.

    Another of the happiest nations is little Costa Rica in Central America. Free education and health care. How? No military and strong social connections.

    No, the USA is not Denmark or Costa Rica, but there is much we can do to share the wealth…including, sharing the wealth. This would have to be done through more progressive taxation and perhaps, reining in military spending. Unfortunately, we have a rich inheritor as president and a brain-washed populace who believes that we should grub and hoard what we have. Because of this we are becoming greedier and meaner. And thus, less happy.

    This is not about candy. This is about life and our society’s values. If we get those right maybe we will stop being so angry and antagonistic. Heck, we might even become…happy!

    • Ted Markow

      Correction: The tax rate in Denmark ranges from the low 40s percent to the low 50s percent. I guess they have it right: the wealthy pay more and everyone shares in the benefits…because that’s what an ethical and humane society does.

      • EdBeem

        Absolutely. And the tax rate doesn’t matter if everyone is being served. We can also put to bed the conservative canard that profit motive is necessary to get people to work hard. Actually, freed from the necessity of making a living, Danish photojournalists have become the best in the world. They focus on doing great and important work rather than making a buck.

        • Ted Markow

          True. When you remove the stress and exhaustion of trying to eke out a living in the wild west of unregulated capitalism, everyone can focus on doing great work rather than making a buck. Denmark isn’t the only country to prove that.

          We are crumbling under the weight of our propagandized illusions here. The time of the Robber Barons has come back and it is leaving us pauperized and fighting each other. Again.

  • truther

    This column is a perfect example of why I can’t take John Balentine seriously. The notion that we should treat taxpayers like jealous 10 year-old candy hoarders — whose “hard work” consists of happening to live in an affluent neighborhood where people with leisure time give you candy for free — is laughable.

    I’d be willing to bet I’ve paid a lot more in taxes over my lifetime than John Balentine has. i guess, by his reasoning, he owes me?