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One Million Dollars, One Whip Lash


1) Introduction

Sometimes, I think we should enact a new law in our Country:

"Any person, or association, or agency, or union, which publicly says that the Government should give them X millions of dollars, will receive X number of whip lashes instead."

Why would we want to do this? I will try to explain.

2) Money doesn't grow on trees

The first reason why we might want to enact such a law is to fight against a serious mental disease in our society. Many citizens seem to think money grows on trees. People often talk about "The Government" as if "The Government" had unlimited amounts of cash hidden somewhere.

"The Government" is us, and any money coming from "The Government" eventually comes from our pockets. Actually, that is not quite true, because these days much of the money comes, not from our own pockets, but the pockets of our children, and even the pockets of our grand-children! When bad politicians borrow money to shovel it out to voters, in order to get elected, they are often borrowing that money from our grand-children! (In Canada in 2015, it costs approximately 79 million dollars per day, just to pay the interest on our national debt! We're not talking about paying our debt! This is just paying the interest! Seventy-nine million dollars per day!)

This new law would force citizens to think about money more in the terms of a blanket. A blanket cannot cover an infinitely big bed. If you pull the cover too much in one direction, somebody at the other end will be left out in the cold.

This new law would force citizens to say things like: "It seems to me that we should reduce the salaries of all nurses by so many percent, or increase the tuition of all students by so many percent, so we could donate 18 million dollars to a large union of civil servants, in order to keep an unprofitable zoo financially afloat." With this new law, many loud requests for money would simply disappear, shamed into silence.

3) The Government needs high-quality feedback


Another reason for this new law is that the process of governing a society requires high-quality feedback. To once again take our metaphor of the bed and the blanket, politicians need to know who is being left out in the cold, exactly how cold they are, and exactly how much blanket they would need to be able to sleep tolerably well.

It is normal and good to ask for money when you need it. Persons, associations, unions, companies and industries, etc., must tell the Government what their needs are. But if too many people are shouting for too much money, the Government cannot make good budget decisions. The requests for money have to be calm, reasonable, well-documented, humble, etc.

4) Conclusion

To summarize, anybody can (and should) ask for millions of dollars from the Government, if they really need them. But they should either:

4.1) Just politely state why the money seems needed, and for what reasons, without giving orders to the Government; or

4.2) Actually tell the Government to give them the money, but then explain who else in our society will be deprived of that same money, and why their needs are less important.

Otherwise, for the Common Good, I sometimes feel like saying it should be one million dollars, one whip lash!

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