American Elephants

“The Golden Apple” — A Socialist Fairy Tale by The Elephant's Child

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog 

Once upon a time there was a street fair. It had striped awnings and bright colors and from far and near, farmers came with wagons full of produce to sell at the street fair. The produce was plentiful and cheap and the crowds it drew were huge which created all sorts of concerns for the government.So the government created a Ministry of Street Fairs which it funded by taxing the produce sold at the fair. At first the Ministry brought some some order to the street fair, but it would periodically launch new “street fair initiatives” to justify another expansion and pay for them by raising taxes on the produce.At first the taxes were small, but as the ministry grew, so did the Produce Tax. The Ministry of Street Fairs built itself a towering stone headquarters overlooking the street fair. In its shadow, the street fair dwindled as its produce was now more expensive than anywhere else in the city.The empty fair would once have been a relief to the government, but was now a source of concern because it had grown dependent on the Produce Tax and plenty of its nephews and nieces had picked up lucrative positions in the great stone building.So after some consultation the Ministry of Street Fairs launched an “Emergency Street Fair Stimulus Plan” to promote shopping at the street fair.  The stimulus plan offered people credit for shopping at the street fair, but the credit was paid for by borrowing against the expected returns from an enlarged produce tax. The stimulus plan also piled on new regulations to be enforced by new branches of the Ministry of Street Fairs detailing exactly how many pears can be placed in a basket and the exact shade of green that a Granny Smith apple should be.A short term burst of shoppers excited by the credit arrives and then fades away. The new taxes and regulations force the fruit sellers to raise prices again. The credit goes away, but the high prices remain.

Worried, senior members of the Ministry of Street Fairs do the unthinkable and consult with some of the vendors at the fair. They learn that their old customers are choosing to shop for their fruit at supermarkets where all the taxes and regulations don’t apply because there is, as of yet, no Ministry of Supermarkets.

Tackling the problem head on, the Ministry of Street Fairs demands that supermarkets be classified as indoor street fairs and put under its jurisdiction. The “Supermarkets are now Indoor Street Fairs” bill is introduced and not only puts the supermarkets under the Ministry’s authority, but taxes them at twice the rate of street fairs. Supporters of the bill denounce the evil “Supermarket Lobby” for its indoor unregulated street fairs which use a legal loophole to profit at the expense of starving children who need fresh fruit.

The bill passes. The Ministry is congratulated for its commitment to fighting for the right of everyone to buy fruit at vastly inflated prices.

Produce sales fall drastically as fruit becomes a luxury. Most fruit now spoils on the stands with no one to buy it because no one will buy it at the minimum price necessary to turn even the most minimal profit. Fruit sellers and merchants raise their prices again to compensate for decreased sales volume. Many supermarkets and sellers go out of business, so that even fewer people can afford fruit. In a ripple effect, fruit growers and importers also go out of business further destroying the market.

The Ministry of Street Fairs responds to public protests by creating a “Fruit Dole” which entitles every child to one apple a week. This dole comes at the expense of the fruit sellers, which again raises the price of fruit for everyone. Charismatic young politicians demand “Fruit for the People” and denounce the corrupt interests who keep the people from having access to fruit. A radical “Fruit People’s Party” is created with a call for nationalizing the orchards to ensure equal fruit for everyone.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: