FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #81: “Gross pay is a myth.” – Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 30th, 2011

The sooner Kids don’t Believe in Santa Clause the sooner they get Clothes as Gifts

When we were young the world had unicorns.  A jolly fat man in a red suit gave out toys once a year.  The Tooth Fairy paid us for our baby teeth.  Thankfully after they had fallen out.  And an Easter Bunny left hardboiled eggs for children on Easter morning.  Because kids love hardboiled eggs.  As well as the occasional piece of chocolate.

But that was once upon a time.  In a far distant land.  Our childhood.  And as we left our childhood we learned some hard truths.  They weren’t real.  Except unicorns, of course.  But Santa Clause?  The Tooth Fairy?  And the Easter Bunny?  Just childhood myths.  Existing only in our childhood.  Until the day our parents killed them.  Just to save a buck. 

Raising kids is expensive.  And these things just added to the cost.  Especially in large families.  The sooner your kids didn’t believe in Santa Clause the sooner you could wrap their clothes as gifts.  And skip the expensive toys.  Because Daddy worked hard enough.  And the money from that second job could buy Mommy some nice things for the house.  Or a new car.  Besides, there are only so many hardboiled eggs Daddy can eat.

Progressivism replaced Rugged Individualism with the Feminization of Men

Speaking of myths, there is another one many of us remember from our childhood.  Daddy’s paycheck.  He may not have earned a lot.  But he kept almost everything he earned.  And he could raise a large family.  Kids grew up with lots of brothers and sisters.  But then something happened.  And Daddy couldn’t do that anymore.

Government began to grow.  You can probably blame this on a war.  But probably not the one you’re thinking about.  Unless you’re thinking about the American Civil War.  For that war killed a generation of fathers.  Leaving a lot of children fatherless.  To be raised by widows.  During the 1870s and 1880s.  Some who would go on to enter politics.  And served in the federal government.  Joining the Progressive Party.  Which began the ending of rugged individualism.  And the feminization of men.

This was the founding of the nanny state in America.  Boys who lost their fathers in the Civil War had no male role models in their lives.  They were surrounded by women.  And went from rugged individuals to refined dandies.  In the Northeast, at least.  Overly sensitive to other people’s feelings.  Overflowing with empathy.  And filled with a mothering instinct.  Learned from their own doting mothers. 

(These Civil War widows went through unspeakable hardships.  Losing husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.  The Civil War killed approximately 2% of the population.  Some 620,000 people.  That same percentage of today’s population would equal some 6,000,000 people.  They lost so much that they doted on their remaining children.  As any parent would.  This is not a condemnation of their parenting.  These widows should be held up in the highest regard.  It’s just a story of numbers.  Such a large generation of fatherless children was destined to change the body politic.)

The Term ‘Gross Pay’ has gone the way of the Unicorn

The fatherless children of the Civil War began the growth of the federal government.  Where the best and brightest would make everything fair.  And better.  Woodward Wilson greatly expanded the federal government.  Then it was FDR‘s turn.  And then LBJ.  Every time government grew so did the cost of government. 

Wilson gave us the first income tax since the Civil War.  And gave us the Federal Reserve System.  FDR gave us the New Deal (including Social Security).  LBJ gave us the Great Society (including Medicare and Medicaid).  All expensive programs.  All requiring heavy taxation.  And where did those taxes come from?  Daddy’s paycheck.

During this period of expanding government a new term entered the American lexicon.  ‘Net’.  As in ‘net pay’.  If you got a pay raise or a bonus, your wife didn’t ask how much your raise or bonus was.  She asked how much will you ‘net’.  After taxes.  That part of the check you actually got.  Because by this time the term ‘gross pay’ went the way of the unicorn.  (Yes, I know unicorns don’t exist.)  Gross pay is a myth.  It may have existed at one time.  But now the term is meaningless.  Because of all the taxes taken out of your paycheck.

High Taxation and Inflation make it difficult for Daddy to Raise a Large Family Today

The gap between ‘gross pay’ and ‘net pay’ is now very large.  It is a very big part of the reason that Daddy can’t raise a large family anymore.  Even with working nights for a little extra money.  Now it takes two full time wage earners to raise a large family.  And a booming child care industry.

But this growth of government took spending to such heights that taxing alone could not pay for it.  So they borrowed a lot of money.  And printed a lot.  In fact, they were printing so much that President Nixon took us off the ‘gold standard’.  Which was the only real restraint on printing money.  And once he did, they printed away.  Giving us permanent inflation.  And a faster growing CPI.  Which shrank our shrinking paychecks even further.

It’s the one-two punch of high taxation and inflation that makes it difficult for Daddy to raise a large family today.  On a single paycheck.  Thanks to an ever rising CPI.  And an ever shrinking net pay.  It’s gotten so bad that kids often get socks and underwear for Christmas.  From Santa Clause.  Even when kids still very much believe in him.

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