Political Donaldism

We worry about people who take Scripture too literally, but what about those who take Disney comics too literally? (Picture from Wikipedia.)

Looking at political debate these days, I wonder how much of it is based on the Disney universe and its character Scrooge McDuck, whose most famous attribute is the giant Money Bin, in which coins and banknotes are stored like grain in a silo.

The things we pick up when we are children tend to stay with us through life, if we don’t actively reflect on ourselves and change our perceptions. Even then they continue to influence us subconsciously for a while.

In the real world, the “super rich” don’t actually store their money that way. The money is, except for that used in personal consumption, invested in various ways. The super rich may own entire businesses, which they have either founded or bought out later. They may own property which they rent out either to businesses or housing. They may have money in various financial institutions. But mostly their capital is invested in the stock market and in bonds.

The difference between the money bin and the stock market is pretty clear when we come to the effect of taxation. If the government were to somehow manage to siphon some money off from Scrooge’s money bin, chances are that they would put it to better use than being used for a rick man to dive in.  But if the government withdraw the same amount of money from the stock market or bond market, they better have a VERY good reason, as they are undercutting the future production of society.

This aside from the question of “whose money is it anyway”, which is a separate problem.

Not saying it can’t be done, but let’s just realize what is going on. You are not taking “passive” capital and injecting it in the economy. You are drawing money out of the productive economy because you have some purpose you think is more important. This has always been the case, of course. Even a very conservative nation would have a military, police and probably public roads. There are certainly various purposes that tax money can be used for.  But it is not true that this money is just lying around now. It is currently being invested in various of the things we like, and these will become scarcer – and therefore more expensive – as we withdraw resources from production.

So just keep that in mind, and try to consciously correct for the subconscious influence of Scrooge McDuck.

Ironically, Carl Barks who invented this character and his money bin, was himself pro-capitalist. “I feel that everybody should be able to rise as high as they can or want to, provided they don’t kill anybody or actually oppress other people on the way up.”

Ah, the marvels of unintended consequences.