God damn. Will Cards Against Humanity ever stop being this gangster?
The card game manufacturer that, just a month ago, asked you for money to stop the Trump administration from building its stupid wall has decided to take some of it and address another social ill—income inequality.
The website, Cards Against Humanity Redistributes Your Wealth, explains the concept thus.
In order for Cards Against Humanity to truly save America, we realized we would have to tackle the biggest issue in the world: wealth inequality.
Here are some crazy facts: Today, eight men own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of humanity (almost 4 billion people). Most Americans can’t come up with $400 in an emergency, and one in five American households have zero or negative wealth.
That is truly fucked. But none of us feel like we can do anything about it.
Every idea has to start somewhere. Our lawyers advised against our first choice—a campaign to eat all the rich people and live in their houses—so we settled for something more achievable. Last month, 150,000 people signed up for Cards Against Humanity Saves America. Today, we’re redistributing their money.
When they signed up, subscribers filled out a survey with a mix of demographic questions and red herrings. We ranked everyone based on their survey responses and geographical census data to figure out who most needed money.
Most of our subscribers (about 140,000 people) got nothing today—they could have it worse. The next 10,000 subscribers received a full $15 refund of their Cards Against Humanity Saves America purchase.
Finally, the poorest 100 people received a check for $1,000, paid for by everyone else.
Much of the rest of the website consists of testimonials from the 100 people CAH paid. They don’t seem to be buying alcohol or drugs with it, but hey, who knows. (We’re Satanic Orgy people, ourselves.)
Kristi from Michigan says:
Oh. My. God. REALLY?!!!! $1,000 would mean so much to us right now, you have no idea. My husband and I are taking care of my niece for the foreseeable future because her parents aren’t capable of doing so. We are in the process of becoming licensed foster parents.
What this means to us is that we need to find a bigger place to rent. Our credit is shit, I’m unable to work for various reasons (my mother also lives with us, I help take care of her too because she has stage IV lung cancer), so moving will be expensive.
And here’s Courtney from Florida:
$1,000 will help ensure that my bills are paid, strengthening a cushion/emergency repair account I’ve been trying to build all year, and it means I get to splurge a little on my family’s gifts.
This kind of financial help, this type of unsolicited kindness from strangers, it means a lot of things right now but they probably all translate out to happy crying.
Extra money this holiday means I can buy a theme park ticket for my mom so we can have a vacation for the first time in a bunch of years, and that I won’t have to feel guilty about that.
Not all uses for this money fall into the bucket of things that many people think merit free money. (Like a theme park ticket.) A lot are related to Christmas presents. But there’s a bigger story here about people who have to make a choice between offering something to a loved one and barely surviving.
We can also go into all the politics of how poverty changes the brain, impacts health and ensures its own cycle, but you already know all that, don’t you?
As always, when Cards Against Humanity does something mind-blowingly awesome but also controversial with other people’s money, an FAQ goes into all the lingering public questions—both legit and totally myopic.
Our favorite bit, and by far the largest part, explains how CAH decided who would get the money. Here’s the short version:
To rank all 150,000 Cards Against Humanity Saves America recipients by wealth, we asked them some questions about their background. We also asked them about their food allergies and favorite pizza toppings so they might think we were sending them pizza. (Sorry. There’s no pizza.)
We then combined those responses with information about where they live to get a wealth estimate.
The factors are listed, everything from race to level of stress to debt and health. “We turned all these factors into z-scores and combined them with relative weights to make our initial ranking,” the brand adds.
It excluded Canadians (who get universal healthcare), liars, minors and lazy or evasive respondents: “The method is not perfect and there are likely some deserving recipients who did not get checks. We’re sorry about that.”
Here’s a histogram of how the income was distributed:
This is more a grand gesture than a permanent solution to income inequality. But given how we’re taught to perceive wealth distribution—thanks, Protestant Ethic!—it advances a conversation about who we think “merits” what, and how merit is rewarded.
If it makes you feel all charged up, Cards Against Humanity urges you to support political candidates who are working to fight inequality “and are not turds.” You can also support organizations like MoveOn.org, AmericansForTaxFairness.org and StudentDebtCrisis.org.
Finally, in response to people who are “poor” and “mad that I didn’t get any money,” CAH has this to say:
Our bad. We had to guess how much money you had with limited data. The U.S. government actually knows how much money you have and has trillions of dollars to redistribute. Why don’t you get mad at the U.S. government?
There’s an idea. But wait. Who will fund our military, though?