Thursday, April 5, 2012

M. Peevie: Reflections on Social and Economic Policy

The conversation started with a discussion of Mitt Romney and his piles and piles of money. 
"Mitt Romney claims he's not even part of the one percent," C. Peevie said.

"What?! No way," I said. "Cite your source." That's a favorite riposte in our household.

"Rolling Stone," he said. 

I raised one eyebrow and looked over to Mr. Peevie for a ruling. "I'd need to see the article for myself," he said.

"What's the one percent?" M. Peevie asked.

"It's the people who have buckets of money, M. Peevie," C. Peevie explained. "The rest of us are the 99 percent." 

"M. Peevie," I added, "There are many people who don't have enough money to even buy what they need. Some people have to choose between paying their rent and buying food, or between paying the bill to heat their house and buying the medicine they need."

"But why do some people have so much money, and other people don't?" asked the budding socialist.

"Some people are really good at making money," I said. "But how do they do it?" she asked. She was like a machine gun, spitting out questions without taking the time to reload.

"Well, maybe they start a business..."

"But how do they start a business if they don't have any money?" she interrupted.

"The bank will lend them money if they don't have enough to start their business, and if they have a good business plan," we told her, all of chiming in with totally theoretically observations about the process of starting a business. And then we got back to the solutions for helping the poor.

"Some people believe that the best way to help people who are poor is to ask businesses and people with more money to pay a little more in taxes so we can use that money to set up programs to help them, and to create jobs," I told her. "And other people think that the best way to help poor people is to help the people who run businesses, because businesses make jobs. The more jobs there are, the fewer poor people." Or so they say, I didn't add.

"That's called 'trickle down,' C. Peevie interjected. "And it doesn't work."

"I think they both sound like good ideas," said the 11-year-old sage. "Why can't we do both?"

I looked at Mr. Peevie and he looked at me. "She'd make a good president," I said.

"I do not want to be president," she said. "Too much responsibility, and too much sitting behind a big desk and signing papers all day long."

These kinds of conversations make me anticipate with wonder how this girl will one day change the world.

1 comment:

Leslie Wolf said...

It is impressive that C. Peevie already knows that trickle down economics doesn't really work. It is also impressive that M. Peevie is open to trying out two ideas at the same time. I suppose that most young people are. Then partisan politics ruin them.

By the way, if any of the young Peevies becomes President, I want to be appointed ambassador to Luxembourg.