ALICE: Hatter, the White Rabbit was saying that Poverty Politics are wicked.
MAD HATTER: They can be of course; politics in general are often like that. Who else was there?
ALICE: The Dormouse was bragging about helping the needy with free money.
MAD HATTER: I’ve heard him a few times. He misses a key point.
ALICE: It’s good to give the needy help, right?
MAD HATTER: Giving someone money once helps them; but giving regular payments hurts them.
ALICE: How can that be?
MAD HATTER: If we pay someone to be needy, then they will be sure to remain needy.
ALICE: That is what the White Rabbit said, but I’m not sure.
MAD HATTER: If I give you a job to serve tea, you show up every day to serve tea. But what if the job is to be poor?
ALICE: Oh. Then their job is to remain poor. Oh dear.
MAD HATTER: It is called “A Race To the Bottom” because paying people to be bad encourages them to stay bad.
ALICE: People compete with each other to win the payments… deliberately trying to be needier than the others.
MAD HATTER: Yes, Alice, that is how it works.
ALICE: But this is a theory, how do we know if it’s true?
MAD HATTER: Because there are groups of poor people who remain poor, from mothers, to daughters, to granddaughters. And Fathers, sons, and grandsons….
ALICE: That is what the White Rabbit said. The Dormouse called him cruel.
MAD HATTER: Alice, describing a cruel situation is different than causing the cruel situation.
ALICE: Why would anyone try to cause such a cruel pattern?
MAD HATTER: Alice, pour some more tea, because this will take some time to explain.
ALICE: Okay Hatter, tell me why anyone would knowingly encourage the poor to remain poor.
MAD HATTER: Politicians are not like regular folks. They don’t make things, or do things, or sell things. Instead they arrange things.
ALICE: Oh, you mean a Community Organizer; that sounds nice.
MAD HATTER: It’s easier than unloading trucks, but it’s not nice.
ALICE: Oh really? Why not?
MAD HATTER: To keep the job requires you to find ways to get votes, even while you do not make anything.
ALICE: How does one get votes?
MAD HATTER: You have to give people things. Things you do not own.
ALICE: Oh my. Well, who does own them?
MAD HATTER: The trick is to take from a few who will not vote for you, and give to the many, who will.
ALICE: But we were talking about keeping poor people poor, right?
MAD HATTER: We still are. As we agreed, organizing regular payments keeps many people poor – and then you can collect many votes.
ALICE: I see. Politicians need the poor.
MAD HATTER: Those who need the votes of the needy need people to remain poor!
ALICE: What a scam! How do they get away with it?
MAD HATTER: They share the wealth with many, both the needy, and those who would otherwise complain.
ALICE: They take from the few and share with the many, to purchase a majority.
MAD HATTER: This is how a Democracy, a pure Democracy, actually works.
ALICE: I was never taught this in school.
MAD HATTER: Well no, because schools are paid from the shared wealth — public schools are in on the sharing scheme.