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
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
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
- 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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