Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How Much is a Man Worth?

Here it is, Tuesday again. I had previously prepared a nice little primer on the Libertarian Party for this week’s post. However, having parted with over $5,500 of my hard earned dollars last week, I thought that maybe I’d tackle another issue instead.

When I added it up this year, with Federal Income Tax, Social Security, Medicare, and local property taxes (not including sales tax), I was taxed at an effective rate of 32%. So, at 11:12 AM on Thursday, I stop being paid for the rest of the week. Or, to look at it realistically, I don’t start getting paid until about 1:00 PM on Tuesdays. Mondays really suck.

A man’s work is his life. I don’t mean that figuratively. It is an exchange of a portion of his life for something of value to him. In colonial times, a man bartered and exchanged the product of his labor for other necessities. Soon coins were used for the same purpose, in addition to the bartering system.

Later, coined money became the main means of purchase. A man exchanges his labor for a piece of gold or silver, and exchanges that piece of gold or silver for the things he needs. It was basically the same arrangement as before, but it made life a little simpler. Instead of taking a cow to the market and exchanging it for 20 bushels of corn that had to be stored, you could just sell the cow, and buy the corn as you needed it. Local, private banks were the norm. The U.S. went on the gold standard in 1873. The Federal Government’s role was to make the exchanges “regular” and fair.

Then, in 1913 things changed. The Federal government amended the constitution to tax your labor. They also established the Federal Reserve System to standardize paper money. In 1914, the Federal Reserve note was the standard of payment, and was backed by gold. But no longer was the exchange between just people. Now the Federal government was involved. It was only 1% for most people; only the rich had to pay 6%. In one fail swoop, the federal government reduced a man’s life by 1%-6% annually. It had taken the political class 122 years to undo the Constitution, and forever change the balance of power from the producers to the moochers. And our great-great-grandparents let them do it.

Once they had their foot in the door, it was only a matter of time. Who could complain about 1%, right? Then it became 2%, and then higher. They taxed everything. They taxed your income, the products you bought, and the services you used. They taxed your property and your investments. And our great-grandparents let them do it.

Next, in 1933, they took the paper money off of the gold standard, and in 1964 they were taken off any precious metal standard. The paper money was now only as good as the “full faith and credit of the U.S. government.” The paycheck soon became the standard method of payment. But the government had already gotten their cut before the worker. It was only fair, since it’s the government’s money, right? And our grandparents let them do it.

Now, most don’t even get the paper. It has been reduced to numbers on a computer. And the Federal government takes its cut before you even know you earned it. They tell us that the people who make more money don’t really earn it, they’re given the money. They are just more fortunate than the rest. And too many of us have bought that crap.

But, in essence, work is still the same. It is still an exchange of labor for goods. It's just that now, a man's life is worth less, and the Federal government gets a cut of your labor – and your life - first. They decide how much of our own money we get to keep. The rest, they spend and give away as they see fit. And we are supposed to be thankful to them. Trust me, our children will care when it’s their turn. And they will hate us for it.

At least, that’s the way I see it.

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