If today’s American Political Economy was a video game, I imagine it would look like a giant circular firing squad. On the perimeter of the circle you would have hundreds of people, from every socio-economic background. Each player would be given a gun, we’ll call it the paint ball gun of politics. The goal of the contestants is to shoot as many people as you can, anywhere else on the perimeter. In true video game fashion, any time you hit a competitor with a paint ball, you gain points, and anytime you’re hit, you lose points.
For instance, a player with several children in public school fires at the retired person across the way, who has to pay for the public school with property taxes that have risen with inflation so much that it probably matches the original house payment. The retired person shoots back with Social Security, after the money they put in is depleted. Which of course it was depleted, by their own elders before they even started to draw social security.
The farmer who is subsidized, or paid not to plant (incredible isn’t it), shoots around the circle. Americans that rely heavily on the welfare state, fire back at the farmers and others.
The rich are favorite targets in the circle, if you look at the proportion of taxes they pay, it’s easy to see they draw the most fire. Nevertheless, many of them have bullets of their own. If they’ve bought a good lobbyist, and in turn convinced politician that their industry was an “investment,” then they too can get plenty of ammunition with subsidies. If a shooter works for Goldman Sachs, which foolishly bought oodles of bad loans that the government pushed banks to issue, that shooter has a bazooka that launches a nuclear grade paint ball.
A unionized State employee, quite often, depending on the state, doesn’t have to contribute towards their own pension. Sometimes, they might fund a small portion of the pension. They get to shoot at union and non-union workers in the private sector, who will have to pay for their own retirement and the retirement of the public employee.
The middle class doesn’t get many bullets and draws heavy fire. The solution politicians have for this problem is to give them more bullets; Cash-For-Clunkers, a government give away of $10,000 to help them buy a house, and while those gimmicks are gone, now we have Obamacare, which will not leave so easily.
Children sit in the middle of the circle. They absorb the stray fire, the paint-balls filled with red ink. I don’t know the portion, but I bet they receive a third of the bullets. They don’t get a gun because they cannot vote. A curious thing happen when they are hit. A player that hits a kid gains points, and the defenseless child loses twice as many points. This happens because when they pay for what politicians give us today through deficit spending, the children will have to pay for it later - with interest.