On Work

“The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”- Thomas Jefferson (1743 –1826), 3rd President of the United States

Every day I go to work. I work because of one thing. I need to eat. And I have a mortgage. And a very hungry old house. And I have to pay the electric bill. Oops… I guess I work for more than one thing. In any case, I work because I have financial obligations I need to meet. In exchange for my labor, I get a paycheck, and with that paycheck I pay those financial obligations. However, every year, it seems I am working harder for less money. Has my salary changed? Maybe a little, but what has really changed is the amount of taxes taken out of my paycheck every week.

As I watch the news, I am learning that as of the 2009 tax year, there are now 47% of Americans that do not pay anything – yes anything – in federal income taxes. And some of these Americans actually get money back from the IRS as a refund (tell me, how do you get a refund on something you have not paid into?). That means that 53% of Americans are carrying 100% of the load. I don’t know about you, but that does not seem quite fair. Whatever happened to everyone having “skin in the game”?

There have been many times that I have had to work long hours and sometimes take a second job to make ends meet. I even took jobs that many would have said were beneath me because that was all that was available and I needed to pay my bills. The thought of taking any public assistance so I did not have to work so hard never crossed my mind. I wanted to get ahead. And people who are not willing to work hard do not get ahead. People not willing to sacrifice a little of their pride do not get ahead. People content to live on public assistance do not get ahead. They all get behind, and then they get trapped. I did not want to get trapped. I did not want to be beholden to the government for my survival, a modern day slave to the fickle benevolence of the Uncle Sam Plantation.

Everyone needs a hand up now and again. I myself was on unemployment for 2 weeks. But that was not enough to live on in my mind, and was only a stop-gap until I could get back to work. But lately, public assistance has become a lifestyle, spanning not one, but multiple generations and even families. Why work when everything is going to be handed to you? Tell me, when did people become satisfied with poverty? Don’t they ever want more? Of course they do, but instead of going out and getting it for themselves, they now ask the government to get it for them from someone else. And a 47% voting block is strong enough to get the government to do what you want, don’t you think?

Eventually though, there will come a time when the 53% of Americans who are working hard will tire of supporting those that don’t. They will decide that it is just not worth it and will no longer strive to excellence because they know that the government will merely take it from them anyway. To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, we will then turn from a country of unequal wealth, to one of equal misery. Only the elites in power will have more. Is that what you want?

I don’t begrudge the wealthy their money, as I have never been given a job by a poor man. I am not jealous of their success, and I don’t think that they should be taxed more than I (I believe in the Fair Tax). They worked hard to get where they are, and deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labor, as I do mine. Seeing their success gives me hope that maybe I can do the same thing too someday. After all, this is still the only country where an ordinary person has that hope and opportunity. But we do not deserve any more (or any less) than what we earn. We certainly do not deserve what other people have earned.

I am weary of the whiners demanding more. Sorry, but there is just no more to give. The well is dry. So, it is high time for them to just suck it up, get back to work, and stop voting modern-day highwaymen into office. We need to get back to celebrating and encouraging people of character who succeed by hard work, instead of discouraging them with higher taxes in order to provide for those that would not. A bright future is in our own hands, as long as those hands are willing to work.

“I am for doing good to the poor, but…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. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), inventor, author, politician, and the only Founding Father who was a signatory of all four of the major founding documents of the United States: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, the Treaty of Alliance with France & the U.S. Constitution

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