A Scary Lesson of Economic Incentives

Trick or Treat, Kids

Trick or Treat, Kids

Parents, try this one at home.  Gather the kids around you this afternoon for a special announcement regarding Halloween.

Carefully note the kids’ expressions as you explain to them that our beloved Big Government has issued a new law effective today – The Goodies Re-Distribution Act.  An elite Academic study has discovered that some kids (48.7 Million!) do not receive any treats on Halloween – regardless that some don’t make the effort to dress up very creatively, or take the time to hit the streets persistently, or their fuddy-duddy parents don’t even believe in celebrating the gory, pagan holiday.

[Cue scary sound effect]

For the coup de grace, convincingly wipe away a phony tear as you reveal that there may even be a kid out there who wasn’t allowed to go trick-or-treating on Halloween for some no-good reason… <sniff>   And, some kids simply aren’t as good at collecting the sweet goodies as some other elite kids who manage to make a great haul – at their expense!

The government’s new deal is that when your kids arrive back home after a hard night’s work, blissfully tired-out from the pursuit of their delectable bounties, explain that under the new law, King Barry, The Spreader, has deemed it necessary to “contribute” 40%, 60%, or 80% of each child’s income, depending upon how much they actually bring home – the most successful kids, who were awarded with the most goodies, would of course find themselves in the highest brackets.

Explain to them, that when they have spread their loot out upon the floor or the kitchen table, and have carefully sorted it into various mounds of hard candy, taffy, and chocolate bars, suckers and lollipops, and fruit.., within a half hour afterward, a smiley-faced, armed Government agent will come knocking on your door and kindly confiscate their progressive quota of the sweet haul – with chocolate bars, being their first priority.  But, no worries, the King’s share shall be gleefully spread around to all the other ‘under-privileged’ kids throughout the community (and some for the bureaucracy, too) as he sees fit – for this “sharing” of your wealth will be good for everybody.

Oh, and when your candy is distributed to everyone (but you), the eager recipients of your candy will never be told that it came from you – and your hard work – see, because the King reserves the special right to tell these kids that he is giving them their equitable reparations out of the goodness of his gracious heart.

How well are your kids going to accept this ‘new and improved’ version of Halloween?

Next task: Explain to them, an additional law just passed that will also affect them – The Windfall Candy- Hoarders Tax.

Note any expressions of Change which begin to overcome them.

What changes in your kids’ motivations, because of the economic incentives, do you foresee when you explain to them the Government’s looming Fair Dress-Costume Doctrine?

Trick or Treat, Folks…