Money…How and Why Progressives Seem Not To Understand It
Progressives have a strange relationship to money. Here’s the first of a series of articles attempting to explain the reason why.
Progressives think that money grows on trees.
Imagine a man, we’ll call him Nick, who met another man, we’ll call him Max, who owned 5000 acres of forest. Max had a problem in that a road ran along 20 acres of that 5000 acres and travelers were constantly starting forest fires that raged out of control and caused a great deal of damage. A bargain was struck stipulating that Nick would watch over all the land in exchange for the deed to 100 acres, including the 20 acres butting up against the road.
Nick got to work clearing his land, building a cabin, and planting fruit trees in neat rows only breaking off to patrol the land and put out the occasional forest fire. On a few occasions he was caught off guard and had to call in the nearest town’s fire department for help in putting out a blaze which was threatening to get out of control. Each time he became even more vigilant as the accompanying charges left him with nothing to speak of in his reserve fund. He hunted and fished as much as he could but occasionally had to go into town and hire himself out as a handyman just to make ends meet. He toiled from sunup to sundown putting in day after day of backbreaking labor with no time off except for those few occasions when he was so sick he could not get out of bed.
It wasn’t until the beginning of the fifth year that he sat on the stoop of his weather beaten cabin and heaved a sigh of relief as he looked out at his orchard of trees which were beginning to show signs of bearing fruit. All during the summer he performed his chores as quickly as possible so he could go into town and earn the money which he would need to pay for the help that he would need to harvest the fruit and care for the trees. Finally in August he had enough to put down a deposit with a man who promised to be back at harvest time with a crew of experienced pickers. The man kept his promise but disaster struck when a 100 year storm destroyed the fruit, but at least left most of the trees standing. Nick’s deposit was lost as the men had expenses, but they did promise to return the next year for a reduced rate.
The year passed slowly, but Nick lived frugally and when the time came he had just enough money to reserve the same crew as he had the year before. One, two, three years went by and Nick was able to hire some year round help and build him a cabin besides. The 100 acres was now covered with fruit trees and other fruit growers had planted orchards in various locations around the county.
It wasn’t until the tenth year that Nick really took the time to notice that things were changing around him. The road in front of his property had already been widened several times and now was becoming a major thoroughfare. The town had prospered over the years and during the week of Nick’s Fruit Festival there wasn’t a hotel or motel room to be found. In addition, there were other events scheduled during the year and with businesses opening up everyday it seemed that anyone wanting a job could find one. Nick was happy that his little business had ended up helping so many people, but he was beginning to wonder what on earth those groups of men from the next county over meant when they shouted something about “you didn’t build that”.
The real problem was that according to the Mayor that Nick had known for years many of these men had been unable to find work in their own county and were now moving en masse into Orchard County just to find work. They looked at orchards such as Nick’s and wondered what gave Nick the right to keep them from picking the fruit which after all grew on trees. Did Nick think he owned the sun and the rain? Did Nick really think that he had built that orchard on his own? How about the road out front? Had it not been widened several times to accommodate the increasing traffic due to the growth of the town? What the Mayor was trying to say, in as nice a way as possible, was that the electorate had changed and it seemed that for him to keep his position he was going to have to ask that Nick donate at least ten per cent of his proceeds to the town’s coffers in exchange for keeping the other ninety percent safe. The other choice was for the town to annex additional land which coincidentally included Nick’s Orchard. This would mean that for a “small” increase in taxes Nick’s Orchard would be able to access the resources of the town whether or not he had the desire.
The mayor told Nick in confidence that the second choice was actually the one that quite a few of the new members of the Town Council preferred. It just seemed unfair that Nick’s Orchard only paid county taxes and yet was one of the town people’s biggest employer. Where would Nick’s Orchard be without the town anyway? Nick sat out on his hundred acres of county land, enjoying the literal fruits of trees that nobody should own anyway, and here he was growing rich off the labor of others while wanting to keep it all for himself. How much did it take to walk out the door and pick a free piece of fruit off a tree? In fact, it seemed to many of the townspeople that anyone of them should be able to pick whatever they wanted for free.
About five years later Nick left for good and with him the town’s largest employer. There are still a few trees bearing fruit but with each year the yield degrades further and thus the group that moved into Orchard County not so long ago are now looking at the next county over where it seems Nick’s New Orchard is inexplicably thriving.
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From → Liberal Lies