Saturday, March 09, 2013

Keeping the Fruits of Your Labors

This past week upon completion of a locksmith job for a small car dealership that specializes in wholesale used vehicle purchases and sales, when it came time to get paid I was directed to their office where a check had already been written; all that was needed was a copy of the receipt which I exchanged for the check. 

“I like getting paid”, said with a smile and a wink.  It was time for me to be on my way, putting the check in the receipt binder. 

Back when I was an apprentice locksmith working for knowledge rather than taking home any money, the fruits of my labors couldn’t be recorded in a green columnar ledger sheet; but they couldn’t be taxed by the government either.  It takes years to accumulate a working knowledge, how to successfully complete a locksmith job isn’t always the same as a profitable locksmith job; staying in business requires the ability to know the difference.

I remember the first ‘paying job’ as a locksmith as if it were yesterday.  It was at the end of the day when the call came in; a simple case of car keys being lost, a job which I’d become proficient at so the owner of the shop where I was apprenticing threw me a bone, so to speak.

“Why don’t you go take care of this one on your way home, it’s all yours.”  That statement alone showed a considerable amount of trust in my newly acquired abilities, enough to trust me with one of his customers along with my putting a few dollars in my pocket.

The job went smoothly as a replacement key was produced; a certain feeling of satisfaction overtook me for stepping up to the challenge without having my mentor standing over my shoulder to make sure the job was done properly.  Driving down the road toward home, having traveled several miles; it dawned on me, I never collected any money.

All those times I’d produced keys in the past in the capacity of locksmith apprentice, the money part of the transaction was always handled by someone else.  A broad sweeping grin came over me as I realized, “Hey, I’m still an apprentice”.  Some folks would have brow beat themselves for having done something so dumb; but I’d been so elated for completing a job on my own that putting a few dollars in my wallet wasn’t that important.

Fast forward some thirty plus years and that broad sweeping smile wouldn’t have had a chance of appearing; I like to get paid, that’s why I show up in the first place.  The folks who call my business, explaining they need a locksmith expect to pay for those services; they understand my services aren’t free, at least most of them do.
There’s an element within our society which has been brought up believing the world owes them simply ‘because’; call it the entitlement mentality if you like.  The most current tag being used to identify them is Low Information Voters.  Politicians find these folks; change that to read, politicians seek out these folks as a means of getting elected over and over. 

Promises of free cell phones, welfare assistance for housing, food stamp programs and the list goes on.  The problem with having all these government assisted entitlement programs; they aren’t free, someone else is paying for these programs.

For every dollar awarded to a person who didn’t earn it there is a hard worker who had his wallet picked by the government, a worker who didn’t get to keep the fruits of his/her labors.

These folks are not apprentice laborers working for knowledge, folks who will go home with a broad smile on their faces for having accomplished a task put before them.  Quite to the contrary, most of these individuals would have preferred to put that money to good use in their own way rather than have the government decide who needed it more.

Somewhere along the way America has gotten off the road to prosperity and taken a different path, The Road to Serfdom, as Freidrick von Hayek spelled out in his book.

“We have in effect undertaken to dispense with the forces which produced unforeseen results and to replace the impersonal and anonymous mechanism of the market by collective and ‘conscious’ direction of all social forces to deliberately chosen goals.” (translation: Socialism)

In high school we read Shakespeare’s, Julius Caesar, with the famous warning, “Beware the Ides of March”, a foretelling of doom.  Ignoring the warning turned out to be...wait for it…Brutal. (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Had Shakespeare been writing in our day perhaps his warning would have been, “Beware the Ides of April”, as we prepare to meet our federal tax obligations; at least those who actually pay taxes.  April 15th can be equally Brutal.

What about the huge percentage of folks who are permanently on the dole, those who have figured out a way to let their neighbors pay in order to provide them with what the government considers a sustainable existence?  I’m not talking about those we desire to take care of out of the goodness of our hearts, doing the ‘Christian thing’ so the poor and the truly needy are taken care of.  No, I’m pointing my finger at the lazy, corrupt and worthless baggage we as taxpayers have hanging around our necks like a huge Albatross. 

For America to survive, much less prosper, we need to get out of the ditch of Socialism which runs parallel to the Road to Serfdom.   The dead weight which is dragging us down towards financial Armageddon has brought down countless other nations over the history of mankind; what makes any of us think we are exempt from the laws of nature?

The bill has come due and the check needs to be written, nature expects and demands to be paid; a simple lesson on the fruits of our labors.

This article has been cross posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government, & The American Constitution”.

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