ICFE eNEWS #16-17 - June 23rd 2016
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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 redistribution" crowd.

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:

"I 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 attitude.

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 excess income.

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.

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.

Ask Mr. G
© Jim Garnett, The Debt Doctor
AskMrG Consulting, LLC
2216 SW 35th Street
Ankeny, IA 50023

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Sent by:

Paul Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

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