An Abolition of Overtime Taxes is Overdue, Part 2

The reason I say none at all instead of merely a lower rate on overtime earnings is that a man can get by on 40 hours, (as is implied by the setting up and periodical increases in the minimum wage laws) and that it is only in pursuit of bettering oneself and his family, in pursuit of the American Dream that a man will work more than 40 hours. Thus if a man can sustain himself on 40 hours a week, it should follow that the government will also be able to sustain itself on the revenue it expropriates from people on 40 hours of work a week and nothing more. And because the Government is, at least in a certain sense a non profit organization (perhaps only in the most idealistic cognition) It has no reason to seek more than what is required for its maintenance. For government, there is no reason to go the extra mile, or to take more than what is needed, we do not have a royal family who has a thirst for jewels and a hunger for fine palaces, Taxation on money earned for 40 hours a week should contend our rulers whom we elect.

Thus we reach the part in this treatment where we find an objection that this policy would result in a loss of revenue for the government, and that to implement such a plan would require severe cuts in all departments of government. In the first place, whether or not this would actually be the result is questionable. It has been observed that when taxes are cut, tax revenue remains constant, or either increases or decreases marginally. But setting this question aside for the mathematicians to hash out. I should refer the reader to the previous paragraph, if a man can survive on 40 hours of work, so should the government survive on taxes collect only on those 40 hours. I would also add that it is not the measure of a nations wealth how much the government has, but how much the nation, the people actually have, and if taxes are reduced on overtime, more people will be inclined to work overtime, to produce more stuff. This is not the Reganomics, trickle down theory, it isn’t an argument that more stuff will be bought, though this is true, A nation is not rich because it buys a lot of stuff, it buys a lot of stuff because it is rich, it is rich because it produces a lot of stuff. Concomitantly, if more is produced, the workers working overtime will have more money to spend, and buy the addition products that will be created, which may in and of itself create more jobs.

The most powerful argument against my proposal is that it is not good for man to work more than 40 hours a week, and that he should instead spend time with his family, and be involved in his community. But this is argument is also the most patronizing. It suggests that those who put fourth the argument know what is best for the rest. Who is able to say how an individual should spend his time except for the individual himself? Perhaps the amount of money earned on overtime would be used to invest or start a new business, in order that ultimately the individual might not have to physically work anymore in the future? Maybe it is for family, in order to send his child to a better school than what the government provides. It could be that if overtime were not taxed so heavily a man might work 64 hours a week and his wife able to quit her job to stay at home with the kids or volunteer at the school. It is outside the bounds of government and even beyond its ability to say how a person might best make use of his time. If however, one holds that he is so wise that he knows not only what is best for himself but also for his fellow man, and if he also holds that having 128 hours off in a week to do something other than work (since it is obvious he is unable to compel a man to act as he would wish during his time off such as work in the community as opposed to playing X-box) is the highest end, then there is no other argument that can be put fourth. It is to be hoped that however, that one might not meet both of these requisites and that my argument might yet persuade him. Yet even if not, this is not conceding the argument to those who think themselves to be benevolent and omniscient. On the contrary it is at this juncture where they and I would take up, and engage in a new debate all its own as to what the American Dream really means. They would say, so I presume, that the American dream consists in family togetherness and a close knit community, and men should only work so much as is necessary to facilitate life and those ends, whereas I argue this is not it at all, That If this were the case, our forefathers would have never left their ancestral homelands and their own kith and kin to come to America. No it was precisely to get away from those very men, in centuries past they were kings, who thought they were so wise as to dictate to our forefathers what was best for them. The American Dream is about self determinism, making decisions for oneself without the unwelcome meddling of third parties. To be free from unwanted interference, so that one might work for the best life for himself that he can attain. In short the American Dream is whatever one wants it to be, the key is that it is up to the individual to decide for himself, and that it can not be dictated by someone else.

Alas, upon further consideration, we find that, in regards to certain individuals with a resolute will, the tax on overtime wages might in contrast to the intent of those who would seek to see people work less, cause these individuals to work even more. Let us return to our first subject Peter, now supposing he is a resolute fellow and the goals he intends to reach in life require him net $45,000 a year, he will end up working more hours as a result of his overtime earnings being taxed than if they were left to him. One should be reminded that men are not elements, or chemical compounds that can be manipulated and molded by the legislature or the king the way that the scientist does his in his lab.

As a corollary, I would also add that not everyone is able to work overtime, some are in the position of holding both a full time job (40 hours) and a part time job, working 15-30 hours a week in addition. To be logically consistent, we should also argue that this individual should only be taxed on 40 hours of his labor a week, though it would be difficult how to determine which 40 hours it should be. Suppose that the 40 hour job pays 15 and the part time job pays 10, should the average be taken of the two and the money earned after 40 hours total be tax free? Or should it only apply to the part time job? My suggestion would be that the government take its taxes from the lowest paying job first, as much as it can up to 40 hours if the full time job pays less, and only if there is a remainder of hours remaining should taxes be taken from the higher paying job. But any concession whatsoever would be well received from those who in their quest for the American Dream exert themselves and go the extra mile for the sake of their families and for the sake of a better life here in the New World.

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