William Thien

Archive for January 2019

Lovely discussion today with some acquaintances who claimed they didn’t care about illegal aliens working on a construction project I happen to be associated with indirectly.

One of the construction workers said he didn’t care if some of the employees were illegal aliens, it made no difference to him.

That type of talk of course got him a lecture about illegals not paying taxes like the rest of us and still using services, in a sense costing us twice what it costs to provide government services to someone who in fact does pay taxes. But he didn’t care. The conversation digressed to the socialist redistribution of said tax dollars for dependents and mortgage interest deductions, points of contention with me.

In comparing two employees, one married with four kids and one single with no dependents or property, but both making the exact same income and working the exact same hours throughout the year, that employee with dependents and a mortgage payment will receive a significantly larger tax refund than the single employee with no dependents or property. That same employee will take home more on their pay checks throughout the year because it is likely they will have multiple reasons to have less taken from their pay throughout the year, their dependents. Both employees made the same earnings during the year but the government is taking money from that employee with no dependents or property and giving it to the employee with the dependents and property. Socialism, heck practically communism in a sense, the worst kind of socialism, socialism that’s primary function (f)n is unfairness.

When I explained that scenario to the construction worker who claimed he didn’t care about illegal alien employees working on the project, his response was, “well I guess I should have more kids, then.”

Therein lies the flaw in socialism, a system designed to help humanity in fact stimulates self-interested behavior on the part of the recipient of social benefits.

Instead of saying, “yeah, that’s kind of screwed up that the government is taking tax dollars from the employee with no dependents or property and giving it to the employee with the “write-offs,” who aren’t even related to him, his response was in a sense, “well if I want more from the system, I must have more children so I can strap the childless employee with more of a tax burden,” an obvious display of self-interest.

Socialism actually doesn’t equalize, it stratifies the population, creates social classes with access and burdens the rest.

I guess you can’t blame the construction worker for not having any control over his own self-interest. Why should he care about his fellow man (what socialism claims to be about, caring for your fellow man)?

But therein lies the flaw in socialism. It’s one of those ideas that sounds good on the surface, almost perfect in a sense, but when it is put to use and combined with human nature, it is incredibly flawed, creates substantial instances of unfairness, and perpetuates itself through stimulating divisions in the various social-economic classes it is supposed to unify.

Socialism in a sense is supposed to sound like this: How can we help you get over your rough patch in life? Instead, this is what socialism in America has become: what can I get? Gimme, gimme, gimme.

Copyright © William Thien 2018

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Regarding a response to a comment on Facebook, the OP stated in so many words that he thought it was an unfair requirement that Americans are forced to contribute to Social Security because of its poor performance.

My response:

Though there is a need for the social security system, he makes a good point. Any other type of investment with such poor performance and it would be on you for not withdrawing your principal and putting it in something more effective. When its the government, you have no choice. What everyone seems to forget about social security, though, is that you never see the principal again whereas if you had put that capital in your own retirement account, it would still be there, you could will it to someone, your kids, another family member or loved one. That’s where the real theft comes in, not on the performance of the investment. That’s the big misdirection of social security, the big sleight of hand. The initial investment is gone. They don’t want you to think about that at all and that’s why they keep focusing on the performance of social security.

Copyright © William Thien 2018

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If there is one thing that I gain from hearing about the partial government shutdown over and over again in the news it is that there are 800,000 federal government employees furloughed that are considered “non-essential.”

When I heard that number at first on talk radio yesterday I didn’t comprehend it completely. But then I did some basic math. 800,000 divided by 50 (the number of states) comes out to 16,000 federal employees per state, so-called non-essentials that are on furlough. Now the number begins to have some significance.

Sixteen thousand employees per state seems like a huge number to me, especially if they only make up a small portion of the total number of federal employees per state, a number which we do not know exactly.

The news commentator on the radio was interviewing someone while I drove home yesterday and the guest stated that from an economic standpoint, the shutdown will only have a minor impact on the economy if any. That was good news, but if the employees on furlough only make up a small amount of the total number of federal employees per state, how many total federal employees are there? A quick search reveals that there are as many as 9.8 million federal employees with about 22 percent being full-time, the others part-timers and contractors receiving a federal payment of some type but working for a private company contracted out to do the work required. Twenty-two percent of 9.8 million is 2,156,000 full-time employees, or 43,120 employees per state. Add to that the non-essential employees on furlough and you have a total of 43,120 plus 16,000, equaling 59,120 employees per state.

Wow! Holy you know what! Now, many of those are related to the military which by definition is made up of large numbers due to the nature of the task. And without taking the 800,000 non-essential employees from the total number of federal employees is kind of an accounting trick, but for the sake of demonstration it makes an excellent point illustrating the size of the federal work force.

On the other hand, that to me is a staggering number of people involved in the governance of each state (not what they are all involved in but for the sake of drawing a picture of the tax burden for each state), roughly 60,000 federal employees in each state.

Add to that the state employees and local and municipal employees and it makes you wonder how many people in each state work for the government or governments? The media never really comes up with a solid number on the matter and we are left with only vague indications as to the total number of employees.

But lately the media has reminded us constantly that 800,000 employees are furloughed during the current partial shutdown and I can only conclude that the reason for the shutdown is not the wall any longer, the shutdown is so we can see how truly massive our government has become.

I don’t begrudge anyone for working for the government. Most government jobs are usually good jobs with benefits and the people are usually of a very high caliber. I myself have been in the military and at one point was attached to a federal government agency, and I have also worked at the municipal level for a year. I’ve also taught in public schools (educating is not really governance). But after seeing those numbers, nearly 60,000 people per state at just the federal level, I no longer have any question as to why the government takes so much from my pay and I never see it again.

Though I see a need for the wall, for me the shutdown isn’t about the wall entirely any longer, not since I heard that number, 800,000. For me the shutdown is becoming more and more about my pay check, what’s being taken from it, and what’s left.

Copyright © William Thien 2018

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