I have been reading Kays Blue Racine lately, mostly to enjoy the hilarious explanations for the defeat in Massachusetts. One of her regulars, Sean Cranley, is especially unglued. He asked me, in a most childish manner, to offer my solution to the health care problems that we face. I gave a wise ass answer that you can read yourself if you like. I have link to her site on the right of this blog.
Anyway, I did begin to wonder how to explain my position to someone with such limited mental faculties. It is a real dilemma. Imagine trying to teach Calculus to someone who can't add and who thinks math and math teachers are evil. Not an easy task.
Step one needs to be a discussion about zero sum and positive sum transactions. A zero sum transaction is where one party benefits at the expense of another. A positive sum transaction is where both parties benefit.
Example of a positive sum transaction: Sean has two bicycles and I have two computers. We trade freely, I get one of his bicycles and he gets one of my computers. We are both better off, ie wealthier. Wealth has been created.
Example of a zero sum transaction: Sean steals my computer. Sean is wealthier by the amount of the value of the computer, while I am poorer by the same amount. This is a zero sum transaction. The total value of the transaction is zero. No wealth is created.
The problem with Sean is that he mistakenly thinks that mutually agreeable transactions (ie free trade/capitalism etc...) is an example of a zero sum game. The greedy business, stealing or exploiting etc..., gains at the expense of the consumer. He is wrong. The transactions are not forced on anyone, they are freely made by both parties for the purpose of mutual gain.
Another problem Sean has is an inexplicable faith that government, so long as it is run by liberals, is engaged in positive sum activity. Tax the productive, give to the needy and all will be well. To most thinking people, this more closely resembles a zero sum transaction. When you take from one person and give to another, one gains at the expense of the other, ie a zero sum.
So Sean has it exactly backwards. Until he gets lesson one, it will be impossible to proceed further. You can't teach Calculus to a person who can't add, hates math, and hates the teacher. Good luck Sean!