John Grund: Part Owners of the Statue of Liberty

John Grund: “Some years ago, a friend and I were walking on a downtown street when a homeless man came walking the other way.  My friend said, ‘Did you know he’s part owner of the Statue of Liberty?’  I was stumped for a moment, then replied, ‘Right, like we all are part owners of the Statue of Liberty.’  Over the years, that example has stuck with me. I work at an investment bank, where ownership of assets — and the privileges of owners — becomes a religion. I keep getting stumped by the example of the homeless man: If he owns an equal share of America, from the highways to the parks to the aircraft carriers to the public buildings, why is he destitute? Why is the owner of a share of America destitute, while the owner of a share of America plus a run-down duplex gets enough to live on?  I hear the recipients of public ‘safety net’ benefits, including subsidized health care benefits, described as ‘moochers,’ ‘the undeserving poor,’ ‘people who don’t understand how capitalism works,’ and worse. Why not describe them as ‘owners’? Does that change how the arguments sound? I think it does — it makes the safety net seem like a small, probably inadequate, way to give them a proper dividend on what they own.  There are a lot of reasons to think that people have a right to health care — religious reasons, moral reasons, ethical reasons, practical reasons. If a person finds none of those reasons compelling enough, perhaps the fact that every American is an owner will be convincing.”

Source:

Andrew Tobias: A Shining City On A Hill

John Grund: “Some years ago, a friend and I were walking on a downtown street when a homeless man came walking the other way.  My friend said, ‘Did you know he’s part owner of the Statue of Liberty?’  I was stumped for a moment, then replied, ‘Right, like we all are part owners of the Statue of Liberty.

https://andrewtobias.com/a-shining-city-on-a-hill/

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