e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

Poultry for Politicians

I just stole this phrase from my friend Kris, because we both came up with the "Pay politicians who think this chicken for health care is a great idea in the chickens they claim should be legal tender."  And then I thought "Campaign contributions, of course" and why limit it to chickens?  

As a way of explaining to politicians like Sue Lowden that barter really doesn't work that well in modern society for ordinary exchange of goods and services (and that most people a) don't have a lot of chickens to spend and b) don't want a lot of chickens in payment), I think crates of live chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, emus, ostriches, peafowl, guineas, etc. arriving at campaign headquarters (or, better yet, the candidate's home)  instead of good green US money  just might get the point across.  

In some rural areas, some doctors can afford to accept barter for some medical care.   But beyond the occasional chicken or haunch of venison or hay bale (or even several hay bales)--the sorts of items Lowden quotes a Nevada doctor as having received--the realities of barter in extended exchanges lands on the doctor's head.  How much is a chicken worth?  How many medical procedures are worth just one chicken...and how many chickens can a doctor take care of (for later consumption?)   Hay bales are fine if you have livestock that eats hay, the hay is the right quality, and you have a place to store as much hay as whatever you did was worth.   But you can't trade chickens or venison or hay bales for electricity, gasoline, medical supplies.  You can't pay your employees in them.  You can't pay taxes with them (the IRS is quite happy to tax the items you receive in trade, but they won't take the items--only money.  So if you receive 100 bales of hay worth $10/bale, you'll pay taxes on another $1000 of income--with money.  If everyone's giving you chickens and beef and vegetables and hay...what money are you going to pay taxes with?)

Barter works when the recipient needs the item or items--that much, at that time.  Otherwise it imposes a cost on the recipient, who must store the stuff and then try to resell it for actual money.  If the items are live, they have to be confined, fed, cared for.   If you kill the poultry, you then have to store the carcasses for later consumption (freezers use electricity, which costs money.  And you can't sell them, unless you're a licensed, inspected meat packer...and becoming that means a huge investment in equipment and licensing.  Whereas, if you get money, it can sit in the bank until you need it.  

However, since Ms. Lowden is not able to see beyond the golden haze of nostalgia, I think she needs some personal experience with a lot of chickens used instead of money.
Tags: politics
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