ICFE eNEWS #16-17 - June 23rd 2016
If I Don't Have It, Neither Should You!
By Jim Garnett, a/k/a Ask Mr.G, a member
of the ICFE's Board of Educational Advisors
Here's some advice for the "income inequality" and "wealth
This column from the Des
Moines Register's "Two-Cent's Worth" caught my eye (and
my ire) the other day. Thought I'd share it with you:
make $40,000 a year. A flat tax of 5% makes me pay $2000, but I
need every penny of that. Someone making a $1,000,000 a year gets
to keep $950,000. They don't need all that!" (Paycheck-to-Paycheck,
Des Moines Register, June 9, 2016).
Keep that thought in
mind as you consider Kindergartener Sarah Jones. She raises her
little hand and says, "Teacher, it's not fair that Julie has
a box of 152 crayons while I have a box of only 36! She doesn't
need all those!"
Do you see any similarities between
the two situations? You should, because they convey basically the
same idea: "If I don't have it, neither should you!" Both
attitudes begin with a lack of appreciation that turns into jealousy
because someone else has more. Neither attitude is desirous for
a child or an adult. It is not a childlike attitude; it is a childish
Little Sarah is a child and will hopefully learn
to appreciate what she has and quit complaining about others who
have what she doesn't have. As she matures, she hopefully will learn
that if what she has is not enough to satisfy her, she should find
an honorable way to get more.
Mr. Paycheck, on the other
hand, is a much sadder situation, in that, as an adult, he is embracing
an attitude that he would never desire for one of his children.
The implication in his remark is that the Government ought to "level
the playing field" and "tax away" the millionaire's
But consider some serious flaws in this thinking:
Hey, I have a neat idea! What if people quit worrying about what
someone else has that they don't, and just focus on themselves?
Why don't they try to "equalize the wealth" by bringing
their own wealth up instead of tearing someone else's wealth down?
History substantiates the fact that the best vehicle for increasing
one's status in life is through free-market Capitalism, not through
some Socialistic "equalization" plan. How about if people
quit squawking and just work harder and/or smarter until they have
whatever it takes to satisfies them.
- If the Government "taxes away" the other guy's
excess, it won't give Mr. Paycheck a dime more than he already
has. Making the other guy poorer will not make him richer!
- It would not be enough to just tax the millionaire more,
we would also need to "equalize" his assets. After
all, he probably has more money in checking and savings, owns
more stock, has a bigger house, has a nicer car, wears more
expensive clothes, and eats at more expensive restaurants.
- What do we do about all the people who make less than Mr.
Paycheck? Those that make $20,000 will look at him just like
he looks at the millionaire and desire his "excess"
be taken away too.
Milton Friedman, Nobel
Memorial Prize recipient, hit the proverbial nail on the head when
he penned: "A society that puts equality - in the sense of
equality of outcome - ahead of freedom will end up with neither
equality nor freedom. The use of force to achieve equality will
destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will
end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests."
Maybe the next time you hear someone spouting off about "income
inequality" and "wealth redistribution," you could
gently tell him about little Sarah Jones.
© Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023
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