The Baby Lottery: A rational redistributive plan

Rochelle Gurstein in The New Republic:

Babies5 As someone who has long believed that there is something morally repellant about living in a country that prides itself on being the greatest democracy in the world but where the top one-tenth of one percent of the people “earn” as much money per year collectively as the entire bottom fifty percent of working people, I would like to offer a modest proposal that might “level the playing field,” as the popular saying has it, and thus provide a foundation for a democracy worthy of the name. Instead of the old Marxist plan to redistribute property–and let's face it, that always took a bloody revolution and even then, it didn't always work out so well–how about redistributing babies at birth, a kind of big baby lottery?

Since it is a matter of sheer luck whether one is born into a rich family and then, as a birth-right, is entitled to first-class housing, top-flight health insurance, excellent schools, and, if need be, the best attorneys money can buy, or whether one is born into a poor or middle-class family and not be assured of getting any of these amenities, why not give rational order to what has been a wildly haphazard and obviously unjust state of affairs? A public program implementing the big baby lottery would at last make official what has in truth been the unspoken ethos of our government policy for decades and is in accord with the casino way of life–the stock market, the housing market, the state lotteries–to which so many Americans are wholeheartedly committed.

And just think of the unexpected public benefits my little plan will reap, not least of which would be immediate racial harmony through the creation of integrated families–think Asian Obamas, black Kennedys, white Jacksons, the kind of thing trail-blazing mothers like Madonna and Brad Pitt's current wife and, lest she be forgotten, Mia Farrow have been achieving through adoption of “third-world” children, but now in our own backyard!

More here.