Saturday, March 8, 2008


A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many
others her age, she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat, and was very much in favor of 'the redistribution of wealth.'

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican, a feeling she openly expressed. Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the addition of more government welfare programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father. He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, 'How is your friend Audrey doing?'
She replied, 'Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies, and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She's always invited to all the parties, and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too hung over.'

Her wise father asked his daughter, 'Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.'

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired back, 'That wouldn't be fair! I have worked really hard for my grades! I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!'

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, 'Welcome to The Republican Party.'


Anonymous said...

Well Jess, I'm glad to hear that you think my grandmother and I who were on welfare when I was growing up were lazy people taking advantage of the system. As if the two examples in the story could really be likened to one another. Sometimes your black and white view of things really hurts.

chandy said...

The story does take a complicated issue and simplify it, but that is really the whole point of an analogy, right? So, with the details given, I don't really think it is cruel at all. Now if the story had included other details, like Audrey had a learning disability and was denied reasonable accomodations, or she desparately sought tutoring but was refused, then the story would be pretty harsh.

Anonymous said...

Sure, analogies are meant to be simple. But this particular one is a very crass example. It suggests that all people on welfare are lazy and unmotivated. While I agree that some people do take advantage of the system, I would argue that many are hard workers who need a little extra help. Speaking from experience, I think I have credibility to make this claim.

It's easy to sit in the seat of judgement if you've never experienced real need before. And when I say need, I mean an "I don't know where my next bite of food is going to come from and I'm so hungry my stomach hurts" kind of need. When you've been there, I think you might reevaluate your opinion of the story.

Jessie said...

You are both right that this example is far too simplistic for the complicated mess that the welfare program is.

However, I think the story and your response, Jen, perfectly illustrated my point in posting it.

1. The welfare program is absolutely supposed to help those in need. What it has done, however, is create a system of dependence on the state and federal government.
2. There are always exceptions to the norm. You and your grandmother, of course, were exceptions. Anyone who knows you knows that. You beat the odds.
3. My point in saying that you illustrate a point I was trying to make with the story is that for liberals, there will always be those who 'deserve' it. There are always the ones who truly need food, clothing, shelter. The problem is when we make whole economic policies based on a very few, and it ends-up affecting a bunch.
4. My biggest problem with the federal government taking over the welfare of the people is that the program directly undermines what Christ called us to do. To care for the poor and widowed. Instead of the needy looking towards the body of Christ, now they are looking to the Government as their provider, as their, dare I say it, savior.

Again, in no way was I meaning to hurt your feelings. But there is a bigger problem here. The problem is the entitlement that it's created on the majority of welfare recipients.

I am all for independent (read: Faith Based-YEAH BUSH!) organizations providing for the needy, and indeed they deserve tax incentives to do so. I think that goes a long way towards correcting the welfare state that we have in the U.S. That way the organizations have an opportunity to talk to those folks about helping themselves, or overcoming addictions, whatever the case is. I believe keeping the focus on Christ is the only way real change can occur.

Jessie said...

Also, the moral of story is the unfairness that redistribution of wealth is.