Archive for the Humor Category

Thoughts for Labor Day

Posted in All, Economics, Humor, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2010 by marushiadark

“… to celebrate work by being at play.” ~ Unknown

Today is Labor Day (not to be confused with Labour Day), a day commissioned to honor the social and economic achievements of the working class.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  Having parades in honor of the hard-working, blue collar men and women of America.

How do you plan to celebrate this most American of holidays?  Take the day off?  Have a barbecue?  Watch a parade?  Go to a ball game?  Or maybe just sleep until noon?  After all, you probably haven’t had a Monday to yourself since Memorial Day.

Yes, Labor Day is a day dedicated to you, the L5 vertebra in the back-bone of our society … or at least that’s how they sell it to us.

If you were to look at the history of Labor Day, you’d see very quickly that it was actually the result of political expediency in an effort to placate the masses.  President Grover Cleveland, no doubt at the behest of railroad lobbyists, ordered the U.S. military to step in and put down a group of workers exercising their Constitutional right to peaceful protest against what they believed to be unfair working conditions.  Many workers were killed and the whole thing was a political disaster stacked on top of questionable authority, so the President hastened the approval of making Labor Day a national holiday in the hopes that people would be too distracted by the big fancy floats to remember what happened.

Talk about buying people off!

But that’s all in the past, right?  The U.S. government no longer treats workers like crap.  I mean, this isn’t Communist Russia where we have things like graduated income tax, confiscation of property, centralized credit systems, centralized communication and transportation systems, property taxes, state-sponsored schooling, disproportionate rights for immigrants and rebels, … oh wait.  I guess we do have all that stuff over here in America.

Just that we had our workers revolt a few years before the Russians did.  And here we were worried about them beating us at something.

“If hard work made you richditch diggers would be rich.” ~ Proverb on Work

You might have heard that quote before, perhaps even in a letter about starting a business from home.  I’m not here to tell you to go and do that, but it raises an interesting point that there’s a disparity between what we’ve been conditioned to believe about working to earn money and the truth.

We’re taught from an early age that having a job and working hard makes you a successful and upstanding member of society; yet for most of us, the reality is probably a lot different.  The truly sad part, though, is that we’re all aware of it to some extent, but we either ignore it or think we’re powerless to do anything about it.

For instance, have you ever wondered how it is that 1% of the population earns 95% of all the money and can get away without paying any taxes on it to boot?  If you haven’t, then consider this is your wake-up call.

That 1% owns 95% give or take a few percent.  So if there were a hundred people in a room with a million dollars between them, one person would have $950,000 and each of the other ninety-nine people would have little more than $500 each.  Does that not seem unfair to you?  I count myself among the 99% and I think that’s unfair.  I mean, there’s ninety-nine of us and only one of him.  Why don’t we all just get together and make him give us a bigger cut?  Maybe he’s a really great guy that contributes a lot to society, so he can get a slightly bigger slice than the rest of us and that’s fair, but I seriously doubt he’s ninety-five times better than any one of us.  As a matter of fact, in all likelihood, he’s probably about ninety-five times worse than any of us.

But I’m generalizing of course.  Not that you go out and murder every rich man on the planet, although in the long-run it might be a lot fewer bodies.

“All the measures of the government are directed to the purpose of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.” ~ William Henry Harrison

I once read that, in a single year, David Rockefeller made $16,000,000 and paid no taxes on any of it; yet in order for us to pay off the outstanding national debt, income taxes of every man and woman in America would have to be raised to something like 65% of their total income.  With the amount you pay on taxes now, do you think any of us could survive such a thing?  Maybe it’d be worth it if we got something in return for it.  But I bet most of you reading this article right now are probably struggling with what you already have, trying to make ends meet while busting your ass for forty, forty-five hours a week or working two jobs or something, with kids and rent and family medical expenses on top of all of that.

I should know, since I’ve seen my own family go through that very thing.  My mom works as a nurse – sometimes twelve hours a day – and my dad is a general contractor.  My first job was working for him over the course of several years for next to no pay at all.  For a while, my dad had no work during the most recent recession, so my mom was supporting us all by herself.  Ours is a family of four kids, two dogs, and a mortgage.  Thank God we’re all healthy and went to public schools or we’d be in even worse shape than we are now.

“There’s nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” ~ Peter F. Drucker, Social Ecologist and Management Consultant

As Peter Joesph, creator of the movie Zeitgeist (linked in sidebar) put it, “Most people think of having a job as some form of basic instinct.”  Without much question on our part, we sell our time and labor out for money to some dictator we call “boss” for little pay and even less respect.  And the jobs we do are done solely because, if we don’t, we are going to lose our house or our health insurance or our vehicles or whatever.

Obviously, it’s not a totally unreasonable thing to do what you have to in order to survive, but working harder isn’t always a guarantee of fulfilling our needs, either.  And even then, we’re just taking care of our physiological needs.  We’re being kept alive to do … what, exactly?  Working hard to keep us alive just enough so that we can keep on working hard?  That’s what I thought.  What’s the point of laboring if you don’t get to enjoy the fruits of your labor once in a while?  Most people put off their enjoyment until they’re old enough to retire (which is usually some time in their sixties, if at all).  But even a poor orange grower gets to eat oranges one season out of every year.

It’s one thing to save for a rainy day, it’s another thing entirely to save every penny for a day that might never come.  If you aren’t living and enjoying life now, then you’re doing something wrong.

What that something is depends on your particular situation, but there are a few general things you can do.  For starters, I’d recommend reading the book The Richest Man in Babylon, as it has a lot of wisdom on earning money and making it work for you.  Wisdom that is really timeless.

Working hard will not be enough to get you what you want in life.  Trading your income for labor is something that a robot or a well-trained monkey can do and you’re not a robot or a monkey (not even a well-trained monkey), so you need to begin to work smarter, not harder.  Instead of working that dead-end job in retail or telemarketing (which is only helping to bring down the whole of society), figure out what it is you love doing and develop a plan around that.  You’ll be a lot happier for it.  And take some time out to enjoy life once in a while.  Otherwise, you’re little more than a cog in some great big corporate machine that churns out tools and bureaucrats by the barrel-full.

As I’ve often said, there’s a difference between work, a job, a career, and a hobby you get paid for.  Work is back-breaking labor, a job is a tedious task, a career is something you’re stuck doing for the rest of your life and a hobby you get paid for is just that: a hobby you get PAID for.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all do what we loved and then get paid for it?  If we did, I’m sure some robotics geek could build the machines to do all the other things we hate … and he would have fun while doing it, too.

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