Saturday, April 24, 2010

Booboo The Thief?

At the end of this post, I am going to ask one simple yes or no question. Your answer will tell me very much about you. But first a little story.

A young man we'll call Horace decides he wants to go to college. His parents have no money so he gets what financial aid he can, loans & grants. He still doesn't have enough so he works two jobs while attending school full time.

Fast forward four years, and now Horace enters the workforce with his shiny new degree. Because there isn't any work in his field, he has to work at a fast food restaurant (we'll call it McWillie's) as an assistant manager.

Horace knows that this is a stepping stone. He has dreams and ambition. Horace does not go to Rent a Center to get a big screen TV or new furniture. He does not say flipping burgers is below him and sign up for the government dole. Instead he works hard, drives a junker of a car, lives in a beat up old house that he bought cheap and saves his money as he works toward getting promoted to general manager.

Horace is living below his means. He is putting away money despite the fact that his friends are all out living large. That's OK, Horace has goals and ambition. He works hard and does without. After he has worked as general manager and learned the business, Horace decides it is time to open his own McWillie's restaurant. A franchise costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, which of course he doesn't have.

Horace talks to his new wife and she says she trusts him as he puts up their small house and his used car as collateral to get a loan. Risking everything, he takes this loan and the money he has saved, and secures the McWillie's franchise. He's not out of the woods yet, though. Now he has to make payroll for all the employees plus cover social security for all of them and heavily subsidize their health care. If he doesn't sell enough Big Willie's, he will lose his restaurant, his house, his car, and every dime he has saved since college.

Working 7 days a week, 14 hours a day, Horace slaves to make this work. Taking a bigger chance, he realizes that to get ahead, he will need to have three McWillie's franchises. Oh my. So Horace goes to his parents and asks them to risk their retirement nest egg to help finance this expansion of his dream. They agree because they trust Horace.

Fast forward 7 years. Now Horace has 26 McWillie's restaurants, he has paid his parents back in full and paid off their house for them, he lives in a very nice home in an upper middle class neighborhood and he and his wife drive nice cars. Horace's two kids are just starting private school. Willie and his wife volunteer 10 hours per week at the homeless shelter and they make substantial cash donations to their church and a charity that aids battered women.

One day a new President, we'll call him Booboo, decides that the rich have too much money and that they should pay for new cars for every American because it is the God-given right of every American to have a new car. The rich have way more than their share anyway.

Horace must now pay 40% of his income as income tax, tax on everything he buys, plus the cost of a car for every one of the 614 people he employs (every three years). If he doesn't, he will be fined substantially.
All of Horace's old friends who had the big screen TVs and fancy cars when Horace was doing without, are now jealous of Horace because he is "rich".

Here is my question.
What color are Horace's eyes?

OK, just kidding. The real question follows. Remember, President Booboo is about to soak Horace, who sacrificed and did without "stuff" and worked his butt off at demeaning jobs, advancing himself to where he is today, for the cost of those new cars for all his employees. He could afford to do it if there was a gun to his head.

Is this involuntary taking of Horace's money cool?

5 comments:

  1. No, not cool. And nobody can see what color Booboos eyes are because he always has his nose in the air. Great post.

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  2. Horace's eyes are brown.

    We have several words for the practice of armed thugs demanding money from innocent people at gun point: extortion, racketeering, mugging, robbery, theft and taxation.

    And I want to be clear I don't mean this as some statement of principals. If you disagree with this assertion, do it on a factual level.

    When armed men come to an innocent person and demand "your money or your life" we generally either call that robbery or the IRS enforcing tax code. I don't want anyone to shoo this point away as some Libertarian extremism. This is simply the words we attach to various actions.

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