Sunday, November 22, 2009

From each according to ability, to each according to need

posted Fri, 17 Dec 2004

What a great day! Lovely weather – I got lots of chores done, then rewarded myself with a visit to the Junior League thrift shop, my favorite place to shop. Why pay retail when you can get a Michael Kors suit for $10 at the Repeat Boutique?

When I was browsing through the baby clothes, picking up some onesies ($3 each – and some still have the original store tags!) for Leigh’s about-to-be-born baby (she will be induced on Wednesday), I overheard the store manager, his assistant, Dorothy, and a customer talking about the thieves who run our fair city. They were not happy with the mayor’s latest brainstorm (more of a light mist, really).

Last week, the mayor of M’town proposed that the power company consider an "income-based rate structure.” In an interview that I didn’t hear but did read about, the writer of this proposal, after explaining that those who could not afford larger utility bills would have theirs adjusted to a lower rate, was asked who would make up the difference. She answered: "The people who can afford it."

Well. I had to jump in this conversation with both feet, especially when I noticed that Race, The Issue in M’town, did not seem to be a dividing factor here: the store manager and I are white, Dorothy and the other customer are black. But we all agreed that charging some people more money for their electricity just because they had more money was grossly unjust.

The other customer, Miss Sally, said, “I’m 70 years old. I work for my money. Umm hmm. How come they have gold teeth and $400 necklaces but cain’t pay their electric bills?”

Dorothy nodded in agreement.

Miss Sally continued. “I see they got their cellphone – and they go to the casino. And they cain’t pay their electric bill? They want me to pay more because they are too lazy to get a job? Nuh uh.”

You know, this system has not worked in any country it has been tried since the Russian Revolution. Why on earth would it work here now?

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