I took the kids to a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition game yesterday.
One of the neighbors got a ton of passes to his company’s luxury suite — usually reserved for big customers or prospects, the Globetrotters are not the sort of event those types want to attend — so off we went, three of us watching over a dozen prepubescent boys to the lap of luxury, complete with a complimentary all-you-can-eat kidfood buffet (pizza, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, etc) and enough sodas to put every one of those boys into a week-long sugar induced coma.
To be fair there was enough complimentary beer to keep the babysitters happily occupied for the duration.
I’ve seen the Trotters a few times, and while they entertained the kids in the usual Trotter style, their shtick hasn’t changed in years. I watched them in their 70’s heyday, and in my opinion, the current crop of players can’t hold a candle to Meadowlark Lemons, Curley Neal, Marquee Sanders, and the rest of that awesome crop of players from “back in the day.”
I settled into one of those comfortable chairs, popped open a can of Lite, and found some chips and salsa to help me pass the time away. Eventually, one of the other fathers settled into the chair next to mine, carrying a similar repast.
Conversation settled on, as it seems to inevitably do these days, the topic of our economy.
My friend is a liberal, not of the rabid Harry Reid, Barack Obama type of liberal, but a liberal nevertheless, and an Obama supporter.
My engaged in a friendly conversation on the differences of our political ideologies. We agreed on taxation being necessary to maintain certain infrastructural needs such as roads, police and fire, and even parks. I however, drew a line dividing what I consider excessive taxation for welfare (or forced charity), while he argued that we, as responsible members of society, have an obligation to take care of those less fortunate among us, and that the best way to accomplish that is via government programs…welfare to people like me.
He made an intelligent argument on the cost of welfare versus how people in desperate situations externalize the cost of their situation; desperate people resort to desperate means to satisfy their needs, and the crime associated with poverty carries a higher cost than welfare. The debate never got heated, we are friends and respectful of each others’ ideologies, but it ended in what I thought to be an ironic note: when it came down to the basic question of whether or not I was the best judge of how best to spend my money, he settled on the argument that taxing me for the purpose of societal engineering (welfare) was the right thing to do, to which I then asked a simple question…if we disagree on how government should appropriate and dispense of an individual’s money, what gives his side of the argument the right to take my money to do with it as they see fit?
His answer was simple…because they believe they are right.
I got up and went for another beer at that point, because I knew that there was no end to this debate. Leftists believe that they are right, and that belief gives them the right to simply ignore the fact others may disagree. Right along with that, they also believe that they have the right to simply override the beliefs of others, and act on THEIR own beliefs, ignoring the fact that property rights dictate that my property (in this case my income) remains my property, and their ideas of how I should spend my money do not override my property rights.
I made one last attempt at giving him insight into the argument, when I suggested that if he believed what he believed in, he should freely take a portion of his earnings and donate it to the charity of his choice. “What about you?”- he asked -“how will I know that you donate to charity as well?”
My response was that charity was something freely given, and that I may, or may not donate to charity…but whether or not an individual donates to charity falls within the right of an individual to decide.
With a triumphant tone he pointed out that the only truly “fair” for society to help others in need, was via government taxation, and the management of those tax dollars via welfare.
We watched the exhibition for a bit, then I asked him who prepared his taxes…I am in the market for a new accountant, and being in business for himself, I figured that he had someone that I could check out. He did, and gave me the name and number of his accountant.
He gave this guy a very high recommendation, and explained how being in business for himself, put him in a great position when the tax man cometh.
“I have to tell you, my guy is the best. He knows that being in business for myself gives me the opportunity to do things to minimize my income that people who work for others can’t do. So every year he works his magic and lowers my income like you wouldn’t believe. Everything I do is a cost of doing business; I’ll even turn in the receipt for parking here today. You should call him.”
I value our friendship more than the obvious “gotcha” moment that he provided, so I just smiled and went back to watching the Trotters, with my ideological center reinforced.
Liberals love the idea of taking my money to finance their ideology, but when it comes down to the shoe hitting the pavement, they hate paying taxes every bit as much as I do, and cheating the tax man isn’t a problem for them.