A Sassafras economy

Anybody from the south should know what sassafras is. Most places use the bark and roots for a great tasting tea. Down in Louisiana they use the leaves as a thickening in gumbo. (Tried the leaves as a thickening, and I have to assume I did it wrong because it tasted terrible). Sassafras has been around a long time and was (is) the main flavor is sarsaparilla, and I believe root beer.

My dad, when I remember to ask him, will bring me back a bunch from Arkansas whenever he visits there, if it’s winter time. Y’see you have to harvest it in the winter, because that’s when the sap is down in the roots.

But there’s an important lesson to learn about sassafras. The most flavorful parts come from the roots in the dead of winter, when all the other plants are struggling to survive. So if you want to continue to get sassafras year after year you have to be very conservative about how much of the bark and root you take from any given tree. Too much and you risk killing or stunting that tree.

In the economy of a nation, the rich are the roots. Their income is spent on their business as well as their personal needs, and all of that is spent on payroll for other people. Which means that the $500,000 a year a rich person makes ($500,000 would put you well in the top 5%) is taxed, then what remains is spent, which is then taxed again as income for those who earned it. They spend it, and it’s taxed, yet again.

Bad economic times, like winter, generally affect the working class just like winter mostly affects the leaves. But recovery depends on the roots. Cut away the roots an the recovery may not happen.

If everyone treated sassafras trees the way Democrats treat our economy, sassafras trees would have gone extinct years ago.