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The Tentacle


December 26, 2008

Time is Money

Joe Charlebois

"Remember that time is money" is a line often attributed to the great patriot Benjamin Franklin. What does that mean to us today? Essentially it carries the same meaning, albeit in a much different environment than colonial America.

 

What hasn't changed – simply put – is that wages are the equivalent of pieces of our lives. When we are industrious we are rewarded with wages, a salary or payment for services.

 

When we have received these wages, we then have the choice on how to spend our money or "time."

 

When I purchased my first vehicle, it was a 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle, red with a crank moon roof. I paid $800 for it. At that time I was making approximately $4 an hour. If I worked eight hours a day, I was pulling in a gross of $32 each day of which I may have seen a total of $25 after taxes.

 

In essence, I traded 32 days of my life to purchase my first car.

 

How many of us think about trading a number of days of our life to purchase a new washing machine, a flat screen TV, or a new car?

 

Since our earnings are a measure of our time spent on labor, how many days are you willing to trade for certain products or goods?

 

When it comes to the obligatory payments such as income taxes, we are – in essence – dedicating a portion of our lives in service to the government. Doesn't that take on a whole new meaning?

 

Barack Obama, since being elected president, has stated that he will temporarily not raise taxes on those making over $250,000. In contrast to recent statements, Mr. Obama's website has not veered from its campaign course. As of this week, his tax plan has not changed from his campaign platform. He still intends to confiscate more and more monies from the industrious and subject them to an ever increasing time of obligation to the government.

 

Mr. Obama will lobby for the first negative income tax (NIT) system ever instituted on a national scale. There is a reason that the NIT has never been implemented; it is a socialistic welfare program. Just like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), those who do not pay income taxes will receive monies from those who have paid income taxes. This amounts to the full establishment of a Brave New Welfare State.

 

Mr. Obama believes that he can build prosperity from the ground up. I understand what he is attempting to do; however the free market doesn't effectively work that way. He believes that giving money to the working poor, or middle class, will spur the economy the same way as an overall reduction in taxes would. The working poor and middle class will not expand their businesses or hire more employees with their welfare payment.

 

This ''trickle-up" philosophy is bound to fail if for no other reason, than it will be no different from the previous stimulus packages that spurred quick but unsustained economic growth. Where economic success has occurred is when those who employ the working poor and middle class are given incentive to hire more, increase wages and offer better benefits, all due to the reduction in tax rates.

 

Benjamin Franklin put it best when he wrote: "I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."

 

Though the EITC and NIT make it easy on the lower income brackets, it will not lead them to prosperity as it makes them all too comfortable and less willing to take risk.

 

We need to remember that we are finite beings. We trade our time for money. We should reserve the right to determine how that money is spent.

 

This is not to say that we have no responsibility to fund our government, but rather we should fund the necessities of our government with our earnings. This should not include coerced redistribution of income.

 

Joe_Charlebois@yahoo.com

 



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