Welcome to the Circus

“Ladies and gentlemen…!”  Three rings of distractions, meaningless side shows and over-priced concessions – all dissolving like cotton candy before your very eyes.  By the end of an expensive day… nothing will be left but memories, nothing new will be learned, and there’ll be nothing to show for it all but some cheap souvenir to hang on the wall.

Kids do get admitted free.  Well, not really free – their parents pay, sort of.  In exchange for a free pass, a circus tax must be paid by parents, all parents, and those who are not parents.  And though there are tents up everywhere, kids must go to the show that’s closest.  And they must go.

Choice would, at least, allow a child to attend another circus, but nothing’d be different.  Every circus is run by the same Barnum & Bailey Department of with all the same animals, acts and clowns.  “Different” would be getting the free-entry fee to follow the child, but… good luck with that.  The circus has a refund policy: No refunds.

Vouchers would allow the fed-up to escape the fairgrounds and attend somewhere else… someplace seriously funny or with less clowning around.  Perhaps even one privately or religiously funded.  The Greatest Show on the Potomac has already ruled that vouchers do not violate the First Amendment’s clown-clause: Separation of church and all else.

But to be useful a voucher would have to be substantial, and well exceed what is paid by an individual – taxes propping up the circus are spread thinly (though unevenly).  To be fair, a voucher would have to be uniform, except that not everyone pays the same and some pay nothing at all resulting in a net gain or loss, which would then be unfair.  And because the public circus will never ever be deprived of one public penny, voucher funding would have to tap the common storehouse, which doesn’t have any.

There is no moral obligation to pay for someone else’s kid to attend the circus.  So, if some are allowed to collect free treasury IOUs for kids not attending the public circus, then everyone should.  Especially those without kids.  And if that refund is not dollar for dollar of taxes paid, a new dependency will be created: Circus welfare.  Or, if it is dollar for dollar… why pay the Ringmaster at all?

At the end of the day, it’s just smoke and mirrors.  The Ringmaster pockets money with one hand, then with a wave of the other, voucher hopefuls jump through hoops to get it back.  Some of it.  Rather than escape the circus, suckers become part of it.

“Ladies and gentlemen, hope you enjoyed the show!”  …there’s one born every minute.