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Once upon a time (before tractors), there was a clever farmer. The farmer had a horse, a gelding which he used to help him plow his fields. Now, the horse, especially during plowing time, was as hungry as, ... well, as a horse. This meant the farmer had to feed the horse perfectly good grain, grain that the farmer could have sold at the local market. This vexing state of affairs led the clever farmer to devise a plan to keep more of his valuable grain to himself.

Day by day, he reduced the horse's ration of grain a little bit, just barely enough to notice. The horse was getting hungrier, but what could he do? He knew that the clever farmer kept him solely for the purpose of working, and he worked all the harder, hoping it would earn him a little more grain. Alas! It was not to be.

The farmer, hoping to impress his neighboring farmers of his cleverness, bragged to them about his plan. But then one day a neighbor happened by, and noticing that the fields of the clever farmer remained unplowed, asked how the plan was going. The clever farmer replied that bad luck had befallen him. "Just when I got the horse down to nothin', the damn animal died on me."

Republicans might take this parable to heart. Like the clever farmer, they ignore the fact that it's the worker who does all the work. If that worker doesn't get enough to live on, then the farm country will fail. And sometimes the farm has to run at a grain deficit if there is to be a harvest. If the gelding gets no grain during spring plowing, there might be no harvest in the fall.

The rich are very clever when it comes to gathering up dollars. To each individual capitalist, it might seem like a good idea to scoop up dollars that might otherwise regrettably fall into the hands of a middle class worker. But the economy is not a zero sum game. Allowing the capitalist to gather up all the dollars might be good for the capitalist temporarily, but is bad for the poor and the middle class, and is ultimately bad for the capitalist class.

Capitalists have successfully exploited the meme that "smaller government is better government" to the extent that even some people on the left believe it. It's a false and vicious meme. If allowed to operate without restraint, the capitalist will drive wages down until people literally start to die of malnutrition. Government is the only force that can be a counterbalance to the rich. If we "drown government in a bathtub", then who will advocate for the poor and middle classes?

At this very moment, Republicans are succeeding in reducing the grain ration Food Stamps for the poor, in order to justify the low tax rates on the rich. They are succeeding in widening the gulf between poor and rich by one more tiny increment. This is bad for the poor today, bad for the country in the short term, and bad for the rich in the long term.

Our overworked and underfed gelding had no way to influence the clever farmer, and both eventually paid the price. If we allow the Republicans and their capitalist masters to set policy, we will suffer the same fate as the unfortunate gelding. The country desperately needs to increase our grain ration raise taxes on the rich. We need to defend ourselves from the vicious class warfare the rich are waging. Our only effective weapon in this war is our vote.

Originally posted to Tim DeLaney on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:59 AM PST.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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