My Humble Apologies to Occupy Wall Street
I need to offer an apology. For the last couple of months I’ve been highly critical of the Occupy Wall Street movement, accusing them of being violent, misbehaved, clueless social malcontents. However, in light of recent events, I’ve concluded I was wrong, and we should embrace the philosophy of government enforced equality for all. No more disparities in anything we do or have, just an equal distribution of everything to everyone.
I had this epiphany a few days ago while watching ESPN and coverage of the NBA lockout, now nearing its 150th day. What it boils down to is multi-millionaire owners and multi-millionaire players arguing over who gets the biggest piece of a multi-billion dollar league revenue pie. I realized that all of this bickering could be resolved by implementing the demands of equality espoused by the Occupy Wall Street protestors.
So here’s the deal…since President Obama wants to increase taxes on “the rich” who need to “pay their fair share” so that we can “spread the wealth”, we simply set the maximum NBA player salary at the level Obama defines as “rich”, which is $200,000 for an individual. That is $50,000 more per year that what it takes to be in the Top 5% of income earners in this country (a threshold which starts at just under $160,000). In fact, that will be the salary for EVERY NBA player, because it is immoral to discriminate simply on the basis of talent, productivity or some other performance-based metric. Just because one player was not born with the natural talent of another player, or refused to succumb to the oppressive dictates of some evil corporation (after all, the NBA is basically a big corporation) with its constant demands to maintain physical fitness and practice all the time, doesn’t mean they should be punished.
In addition, owners should only be able to charge an amount for tickets and merchandise which covers their costs, plus a $200,000 salary for themselves. After all, that is only fair, right? Just because they invest and risk their own money to build an industry that creates thousands of jobs directly, and even more jobs indirectly, doesn’t mean they should be able to get rich on the backs of the poor, downtrodden fans.
This new equality should not be limited to just to salaries though; it should extend to the basketball court. While winning is fun, losing just stinks. It makes the losers feel like, well, losers. Sometimes players even cry when they lose. It hurts their self esteem and makes them feel inferior to the winners. To solve this horrible injustice, I propose that at halftime of each game, the total points scored by that time be redistributed equally among the players of both teams. Then, with one second left on the clock, just before the game ends, the head referee will call time out and the official scorekeeper will once again redistribute the points evenly among the players of both teams.
Think how great this would be! Everyone that plays will be the high scorer. Never again will an NBA player experience the sadness of losing! Every team will be the L.A. Lakers or Boston Celtics, and no team will have to feel like the Washington Wizards or Toronto Raptors. Every team will go 82-0, and every player will be an MVP! It’s perfect! Just like PC-kiddie-soccer leagues, everyone is a winner and everyone gets a trophy. Isn’t this awesome?
This will set an example for the rest of society, and soon everyone will see the wisdom inherent in such equality of outcome. Never again will anyone feel depressed or unworthy simply because they were unable to achieve a goal, because results won’t matter, only the fact that you tried. And how hard you tried won’t matter either, because it is wrong to make someone work as hard as someone else. We would feel just awful if we were to cause stress by demanding someone work harder than they want to. Never again will childhood dreams be shattered simply because of a lack of ability, ambition or work ethic.
Granted, as a society we will have to accept that there will be a small price to pay for this newfound parity. We may lose a billion dollar spacecraft here or there when little Johnny, who always dreamed of being an astronaut when he grew up, dies a ghastly death when the ship burns up upon re-entry into the atmosphere because poor Johnny never mastered the finer points of astrophysics and geometry, so was unable to bring the spacecraft in at the correct angle to keep himself from turning into a human bacon bit.
There might be the occasional sacrifice that hits closer to home when little Sally, who always wanted to be a surgeon but could never quite remember the names and anatomical characteristics of the various human organs, accidentally mistakes the aorta for the appendix and snips that sucker right out of there. Oops! That’s gonna make a mess! Alas, poor mom, we loved you and will miss you, but the loss of your life was the acceptable price for keeping Sally’s self-esteem intact by letting her become the surgeon she always wanted to be, even if she never quite mastered the minutiae of performing surgery.
Of course, we’ll also have to accept a drastic slowdown, if not an outright cessation, in technological innovation. These last two decades have seen an explosion in the quantity and speed on new technology. Twenty years ago if you were on the go and needed to contact someone, you pulled into the parking lot of a gas station and used the pay phone. If it was urgent but the person you were trying to contact was not at the place you were calling, you may have to sit there and wait for a little while until they finally answered, or spend a few dollars worth of quarters calling around until you found them. Today we have smart phones, where you dial a number and it connects with a satellite in space and beams a stream of data back down to earth which connects with the other person’s phone, regardless of whether that person is sitting at home or traveling 85MPH down the interstate (in metro Atlanta, if you drive less than 70MPH you had better be in the turn lane or risk getting run over).
We’ll likely never again see innovations like MP3 players, lap tops thinner and lighter than a paperback novel, 3D television, streaming movies, MRI machines, robotic surgery, 3D ultrasound, Facebook and text messaging, commercial space flight, internet search engines, cars that get 50MPG, or who knows what else. Literally, who knows what else? We can’t predict these inventions because they are the product of the ingeniousness of the human mind.
On the other hand, it is well worth giving up these life-saving, productivity increasing technologies that make our lives easier and longer, more efficient and leisurely, as the price for government enforced universal equality. The people that created these inventions were willing to risk their time and capital for the chance of getting rich. Often they were funded by evil corporations seeking to make a profit! It’s doubtful they’ll take the risk with so little reward, but that’s okay, right?.
So here’s to a long (although not as long as it would have been with new technologies and skilled men and women bringing us life-saving inventions) life of stress free, universally enforced mediocrity, where no one is exceptional because we are all exceptional. Call 1-800-IMA-WINNER to order your first place trophy.