Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Working for the government
Published on September 1, 2004 By Draginol In Politics

Often times I see people describe those who vocally support tax cuts as being "greedy". But it isn't "greed" that drives that generally IMO. It sure isn't for me. It's about labor. The average tax payer works 10 to 12 hours per week for the government. That's quite a bit of "community service". But here's a fact that most people don't realize: Most people who are "rich" work a lot more hours per week - hence work even more hours for the government.

A lot of people who are considered "wealthy" are that way because they work a lot of hours. Personally speaking, I typically work between 10 to 16 hours per day, 5 to 6 days per week.  I've time sheeted it before and the total hours comes out to being between 60 and 75 hours per week depending on how busy things are. Let's say it averages to around 65 hours per week.

To convert this this to a 5 day work week and you have 13 hours each day, 5 days per week. 

So a person like me, working a 13 hour, 5 days per week schedule is working for the government for the first 6 hours each day.  That's 30 hours per week that I spend working for the government. I am almost a full time employee for the government. My "payment" from the government comes in the form of living in a nation that has the infrastructure and created an environment where someone like me, who grew up very poor, could start his own business and become well off.  So I don't begrudge that -- except when people try to argue that I'm not doing enough.  Because I'm not just paying a lot more in raw dollars to the government, I am working a lot more hours for the government -- nearly 3 times as many each week!

Statistically, people who make over $200,000 per year work more than 40 hours per week -- a lot more than 40 hours per week. Contrary to what some people will tell you, ones income is largely tied (directly or indirectly) to how much wealth they create which is a function of their productivity and time. Those at the top end of the scale tend to be people who are both very productive in their wealth generation and work a lot of hours.

According to the department of labor, those making $200,000 per year or more have a mean work week of 59 hours (I wish I had the link handy as it had a lot of other very handy stats in the report). And if you shave off those who earn a substantial part of their money via investments that number would undoubtably go higher.

Needless to say, when you're working 20 to 30 hours per week for the government, you tend to look darkly on those who suggest that a cut of say 3 to 5 hours you spend working for the government as "welfare" or a "giveway".

That's also a reason why people like me get up in arms when someone starts comparing real welfare to things like "corporate welfare". 

Let me illustrate that point with an analogy:

3 neighbors are working 5 hours a day to build a community play ground. One person is sitting on a chair watching us working. They will be using the playground when it's done but they're not helping build it.  One day, they get a note saying that they only have to work 4 hours per day on the playground. At hearing this news, the person who's been sitting on a chair the whole time says "Aha! See, you're no different than I am. That hour you just got off is welfare!"

That sort of thinking rankles me.  When someone argues that a tax cut/tax incentive is really no different than welfare it ticks me off. Because at the end of the day, it's labor we're talking about. One person is doing labor for the community and the other isn't.

You can debate whether that person should be doing more or less labor for the community, but you cannot deny that they are doing labor for the community. By contrast, the welfare recipient (defined as someone who is not paying income taxes but receives financial aid) is not putting in that labor.  And if you want to quibble on that point, I think most people would agree it's absurd for someone who's either not working at all or at best is working an hour or two each week (for the community) to pick too much on the guy who's working 20 to 30 hours per week for the community -- or to try to equate the labor of the two. 

The average # of hours the "working poor" put in each week total is 15 hours. That's total hours. I'm doing 20 to 30 hours each week for the community and then the other 30 to 40 hours for my family. And so are millions and millions of other people.

I am not suggesting that we should eliminate such welfare programs. On the contrary, I strongly support safety nets. The United States is a wealthy nation and the opportunities it provides should make every citizen feel they have a duty to the community to ensure no one goes hungry or lives without shelter.  But at the same time, don't describe a cut in the number of hours I'm working for the government as "welfare".

So next time you see someone complain about "corporate welfare" or demonizing "the rich" or arguing for higher taxes for "the wealthy" remember this - they're not just paying more than others, they are, statistically, working more hours for the community as well.


Comments (Page 4)
on Sep 20, 2004
Excellent, excellent article. Very well thought out and spoken.
on Sep 20, 2004
"Very doubtful in my mind that Brad would have a taxable income of 200K - most bigE's don't take all that much out of their businesses in the early years - and Brad's house looks rather economical given his (almost) undoubted ability to purchase more (if he was draining his business of more cash)."


What a crass, trolling statement... We can always count on you, can't we, JW?



on Oct 25, 2004
ARGGHGHGHGHG.. leave us alone spam
on Nov 14, 2004
The whole premise of this article is flawed because the people you are talking about almost universally work on salary not on a per hour income. It also ignores that those in higher brackets are able to write off more than those who do not make as much. I am under the opinion that you gain the most under the free enterprise system, you need to give back the most. The burden of taxes has moved from the rich to the middle class under the Bush administration.
on Nov 14, 2004
The whole premise of this article is flawed because the people you are talking about almost universally work on salary not on a per hour income. It also ignores that those in higher brackets are able to write off more than those who do not make as much. I am under the opinion that you gain the most under the free enterprise system, you need to give back the most. The burden of taxes has moved from the rich to the middle class under the Bush administration.
on Nov 14, 2004
Reply #53 By: whoman69 - 11/14/2004 11:11:48 AM
The whole premise of this article is flawed because the people you are talking about almost universally work on salary not on a per hour income. It also ignores that those in higher brackets are able to write off more than those who do not make as much. I am under the opinion that you gain the most under the free enterprise system, you need to give back the most. The burden of taxes has moved from the rich to the middle class under the Bush administration.


Show me how you came to this assumption, please.
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