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As the April 15th tax filing deadline approaches, it seems I’m reminded daily what a colossal waste the government makes of my tax dollars. Liberals always whine the “rich” should be paying more in taxes, but we all know new taxes always come back to bite the real source of revenue — the Middle Class. This is especially noticeable by those of us with self-employment income, who must send in quarterly tax payments that include not only estimated federal & state income taxes but a DOUBLE portion of Social Security & Medicare (the 2nd half of which employers usually pay). So what do we get for it? I won’t go into how all the taxes I’ll pay in my lifetime probably won’t cover one tank in Ukraine. What about the generous entitlements “heroic” politicians steal from us to give to people they deem worthy?
Fun fact: EVERY government benefit that is income means-tested gives an incentive to NOT work, or at least work less. Even normally hard-working lower paid people can see that it isn’t worthwhile to take a job when it puts health care, EBT, low-income housing, or other benefits in jeopardy. And this goes beyound the obvious. For example, consider Biden’s “forgiveness” of student loan debt, which applies to a $125,000 income limit, or double that for a married couple. A doctor earning $250,000 a year might have a spouse who wants to work, who sees they will start $20,000 in the hole because of the lost benefit by going back to work. And you wonder why we have a nationwide labor shortage? Tax credits like the Earned Income Credit (which can be as much as $7000) are phased out with more income. People always adjust their behavior to government rules & benefits, especially when they have a knowledgeable financial/tax advisor giving them advice.
Yes, there are plenty of good people hit by hard times who depend on the benefits, who have unplanned pregnancies, medical issues, Biden-economy investment losses, or other problems. Unfortunately though, we have a class of people who have simply learned to game the system. If you don’t believe me, talk to someone who works with receipients in a government entitlement office, or volunteer for one of many charities such as homeless shelters. The beneficiaries share information with each other how to take advanage of every government benefit. My mother worked in such a government office most of her life. She described more than a few visitors who she couldn’t get out of her office unless she threw a job application in front of them. I personally volunteered at a domestic abuse shelter for a year. It struck me how cynical some of the full-time workers there were, and this was because so many of the people that stayed there weren’t victims of domestic violence. They were simply part of the permanent dependent class who would make up stories to take advantage of the free housing & food. So, in addition to wasting precious resources, they undermined the legitimate victims of domestic abuse.
All of us go through tough times, so I can see the need for temporary assistance like unemployment benefits, but too many people have developed a form of “learned helplessness,” who feel their only means of survival is indefinite government support. Having others support you undermines your whole self-esteem. It removes incentive to improve yourself through education, or work your way up in the job world. A $15/hour full-time job pays about $31,000 a year before taxes. Health care, tax credits, housing, food, and other benefits can easily equal or surpass that amount. So, why do it? And unfortunately, no matter what your training or education, you have to take lower paying jobs for a while before you have the experience to get a well-paying one.
It’s no wonder we have the lowest work participation rate since the 1970s. Only back then, during the high-inflation, recessionary Jimmy Carter economy, it wasn’t voluntary! Now, with Help Wanted signs everywhere, it’s almost entirely a choice. Remember that the next time you see a politician patting themselves on the back because they gave away more stolen money to secure voting blocks.
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