A Democratic Cry for Help

I have periodically advocated a "Megan Tax" for certain consumer goods which are, I believe, God's way of telling you that you have too much money for your own good.  It is my belief that if you buy a $20,000 Hermes handbag (after putting yourself on a waiting list for some), or a Harrier, this is a sort of cry for help.  Your money is overcrowding your life so much that you have become unable to deploy it wisely.

In the event of such a tragedy, I have suggested, the government should swoop in, take half your money, and donate it to the Children's Scholarship Fund. You will breathe freer, and some poor kids will get a shot at a decent education. Gains from trade!

The wait lists for Hermes handbags have evaporated, so perhaps the Megan Tax is no longer a pressing social need--for individuals. But now I suspect that the Democratic Party may need our help. They're running ads against...Mitt Romney. Yes, that Mitt Romney, the one who isn't, y'know, running for office this year. Donors, take note: they don't need any more money. The next stop is overfunding the throw-pillow budget at national headquarters.

Update:  sources at the DNC argue that since this isn't a television ad, and it was done in-house, this doesn't really count as "running ads" or "spending money".  Of course, there are in-house staffers who are not being paid less than minimum wage (I devoutly hope) and are probably being paid a really nice hourly wage to find the clips, edit them together, get the thing approved by the higher-ups who one hopes have to sign off on this thing, and upload it to the web.  Those are real costs.  I certainly hope that the DNC understands that indirect spending is still a drain on resources that could have been deployed elsewhere.

Mitt Romney is not running for office.  If the DNC has people it can afford to deploy on making attack ads against a non-candidate . . . well, if I were a donor, I'd conclude that it has too many people.  Your mileage may vary.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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