Monday, June 17, 2013

Wealth Redistribution

If you were around for the christening party and the pre-party ceremonies you will remember the trauma and drama around "all our money going to deepest darkest Decatur" used to whip voters into a pro-city frenzy. Let's just say that "wealth redistribution is evil" was a truth the Dunwoody founding fathers promoted as self evident.

The use of past tense is deliberate.

Now these very same founders have themselves a City with all rights, privileges and power thereunto appertaining and lo and behold, wealth redistribution is a Good Thing. This was revealed in an otherwise mundane court case where lawyers practicing in Dunwoody assert that the occupation tax is no less than illegal regulation of the practice of law. It is the City's assertions that are most revealing. One might have expected them to trot out their well worn explanation of "everybody does it" and to some extent they did. But better still was the contention that this tax is not regulatory at all but is simply about revenue.

And there's the rub.

Taking money from the party of the first part and giving it to or spending it on the party of the second part is inherently evil when the party of the first part comprises the citizens of Dunwoody. That's BAD wealth redistribution. However should the party of the first part be anyone else, in this case businesses operating in Dunwoody, and the party of the second part be the politicos and bureaucrats at City Hall then it is inherently good. That's GOOD wealth redistribution. This is what the nuns called "situation ethics" and is best understood as "I'm in charge and I'm right because I say I'm right. Oh, and welcome to Dunwoody."

Let's play a quiz game. In addition to wealth redistribution how many of the evil practices of DeKalb County are now standard operating procedure down at City Hall? Bonus points: how many new ones have we added?