What is mine?

Due to the blessings of ridiculously generous relatives, our boys are regularly showered with gifts and money for Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Presidents Day, Valentine’s Day, and “Third Tuesday Fest” which I don’t even think is a real thing. Ever the diligent family accountant, my wife keeps close track of each boy’s individual bank balance whenever they go out shopping for toys. Well, an interesting problem has started cropping up.

Whereas Spencer and Ethan (7 and 5, respectively) always have consumer appetites which exceed their savings, Sage (3) has the reverse problem. As the beneficiary of two older brothers’ toys (and a dubiously grown-up father with some lingering childhood artifacts), Sage luxuriates in a continuous toy surplus. Having no real needs, the result is that Dani never has anything to buy for him with his money. Since the others will always be older and passing their former toys down to him, this problem seems likely never to fade. But it raises an interesting philosophical-economic question.

If the flow of toys is all Sage’s way but the dispersal of money is equal to all three, why shouldn’t some of that money go to benefit the undersubsidized desires of Spencer and Ethan? To put the matter more politically, Sage is the undeserving beneficiary of our family’s societal infrastructure the creation of which was not due to any merit on his part. So, even though the gift money is his, it seems only fair to spread it back up the inheritance chain a bit.

Now, I understand that a country is not the same thing as a family, and I understand that confusion over this distinction is near the heart of most of the mistakes of modern liberalism. That being said, isn’t there something here to support the idea that maybe some factions of our current political landscape are slightly excessive in their demand that citizens of a long-established society unequivocally deserve to keep every last scrap of anything that comes to them?

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