Donald J. Trump Jr. went viral this week when he took a picture of his adorable little girl and wrote, “I’m going to take half of Chloe’s candy tonight & give it to some kid who sat at home. It’s never to early to teach her about socialism.”
I think this is a “teachable moment” to take a quick, imaginary lesson on Marxism.
But, first, to get it out of the way, first: Chloe is dressed as a police officer, which is a public service job paid for by the government to support everyone—you know, a socialist policy; second, this picture should have a giant asterisk and the note “not to scale.” If this were accurate to Chloe’s actual socioeconomic status, it wouldn’t be a tiny plastic pumpkin only 25% of the way filled, it would be a giant pillowcase overflowing with full size bars; third: it’s never “too” late to learn good grammar; fourth: maybe you should leave your fucking kids out of this, what are you a mobster?; fifth: don’t think I haven’t noticed the timing of this tweet, by the time Mueller is through with you, you’ll be lucky if you’re out of jail by Chloe’s wedding.
Now, on to the lesson.
So, let’s imagine that there are two major components to trick or treating. You have the preparation of the costume—a skill, and the hoofing it from house to house—an unskilled labor that any schmuck can do. Chloe, by making her own costume and walking from house to house herself, can generate ten pounds of candy a night.
Chloe, being the enterprising person she is, realizes that she can make ten costumes, and hire ten people to walk for her, generating 100 lbs., of candy. Because she did the hard work of making the costumes and she gets nine lbs. from each worker and pays them one pound. This is capitalism!
You might see where this is going. The workers realize that they see 100 lbs. of candy going through their hands every night and it’s all going to the top, so they agree to unionize, and bargain collectively to split the profits 11 ways, instead of only 10%, and so everyone gets 9.1 lbs. of candy.
That’s it. Really. Socialism is about giving the workers, the everyday unwashed masses, a fair price of their labor that takes into account the wealth they create rather than rely on the disposability and interchangeability of the workers. Every policy that gives everyone access to a public good, from police, healthcare, education, roads, whatever, is about interpreting that basic philosophy. And rich assholes like you owe more in taxes because you get more out of it. You have more to gain from choosing from an educated workforce, you have more to gain from public transportation, you wouldn’t be able to send those fancy contracts without the mail, there would be no internet if it were not for publicly funded organizations like ARPA, and so on. You get more from a stable, functioning government with standardized money and enforceable laws, so you owe more in taxes. That, Mr. Trump, Jr., is called fairness, a concept that you might want to teach your daughter.