A politician sees a warehouse full of wheat. He takes some of it to distribute to poor voters and prospective voters in his district. The warehouse will have to bear the burden. He is applauded for his sensitivity and charity.
The politician is dismayed at the consequence. Maybe the warehouse goes out of business, as people switch to using a warehouse that the politician doesn't see or can't tax. Or, the price of wheat goes up as the warehouse is not completely refilled. The politician ignores the people who paid for the wheat or were expected to buy it.
People complain that wheat is more expensive. The politician takes more of the wheat to subsidize the not-so-poor, to keep up his political support. Even less wheat appears in the warehouse, the price goes up again, and another group of people complain about the rising price.
The politician decides that the rich are making the price go up by buying too much wheat. He proposes a Wheat Allocation Board to decide how much wheat a person should get at the official, lower price. That board decides that politicians, state and federal workers, union members, and anyone granted a Wheat Buyer Card ("The Exempt Ones") can buy what they want. If others want more wheat, they can buy more by paying the 40% Wheat Tax on their extra wheat. Or, there are always oats available, which make a crumbly and dry bread, and cause some people digestive problems.
The amount of wheat falls further. The politician explains that the wheat farmers are at fault for not growing enough and charging too much, that the warehouse operators are causing shortages by not stocking enough wheat, and the rich must be cheating by continuing to buy too much wheat.
The answer is the Comprehensive Wheat Reform Act of 2010. It appoints 120 committees and boards to understand, control, and allocate all aspects of wheat production and consumption. Preliminary reports claim that the price of wheat will fall dramatically, now that the chaotic and inefficient market in wheat will be brought under comprehensive, organized, scientific, and rational management. The wheat farmers are called on to do their patriotic and humanitarian duty by cooperating with the government to finally provide wheat to everyone at a fair price. The selfish rich are told that they will be limited to a fair amount of wheat, regardless of their hard-to-justify wealth.
The Exempt Ones arrange for special deliveries of wheat to themselves subsidized at public expense, given their necessary and special contributions to the national welfare. They will need to remain impartial in deciding how much wheat the common man will receive, given that there may be a continuing and worsening wheat shortage, on a temporary basis.
The Medicare Tomato Market
06/24/09 - The Happy Hospitalist
Say that tomatoes were declared vital to life and made available free through the Medicare National Tomato Bank. This translates the story of the healthcare market to the tomato market. A long, readable, and informative post directly about the horrible effects of politically allocated healthcare.
This inspired my shorter analogy about wheat.
01/15/10 - Throckmortons Other Signs
Capgras' Syndrome is the primary delusion that a close relative or friend has been replaced by an impostor, an exact double, despite familiar appearance and behavior.
Throckmorton [edited excerpt]: One pulmonologist on staff had pontificated on how we spend so much resources keeping people alive in their last six months. He didn't think the proposed panels to limit care were a bad thing.
His father has suffered a massive stroke. Now he wants everything done, a trache, peg, longterm rehab vent unit, the works. I thought I was having an attack of Capgras' syndome, but then remembered liberals want to decide how to spend everyone's money except their own [and limit everyone's choices except their own -amg].