The Old Geezer
All this talk about raising the minimum wage sounds pretty confusing. The only thing missing from most arguments is the fact that, ultimately, the person who is going to pay the way is the user or customer. The price we pay for anything we buy is what the seller felt they could possibly get.
A recent headline prompted me to write my thoughts on the matter. A TAX ON BUSINESS MAY BE A TAX ON YOU! I don’t know the reason, nor even claim that I understand all the ramifications or the background for that statement, but it brought to mind an event that happened many years ago.
I was attending a breakfast meeting of a citywide organization and there was a speaker who was attempting to justify a new gasoline tax that was being proposed. Part of his argument was that while all of us would be paying more they were really going to get much more from the truckers and other business gasoline users. I think his punch line was that while we were going to be inconvenienced, the other big users would really get smacked. That prompted me to ask him just who he thought the truckers were getting their money from?
All of this makes me wonder if people realize that every dime that exists in our economic system comes from some kind of user of whatever commodity or service you can name. Even the giant corporations and owners of the highrise buildings and our government have to have some kind of money that comes from the very bottom of the pile. We all have a small piece of that action but we are still in the game.
It seems that the main purpose of most politicians for as long as I can remember has been looking for revenue sources. The most popular are always the ones where somebody else is doing the paying.
I hear people talking about “The Government “ and am always prompted to correct them and remind them it is “Our Government”. For many, the feeling seems to be that there is this huge pile of money that we should all be attempting to use in a way that will serve us well. Over the years, there have been endless attempts to form committees and boards and agencies to manage and spend those dollars. Some services are wide spread and others may only serve a few people. I often wonder just how long it has been since anyone has taken a long hard look at all of those places and see if they are still useful.
Before I retired, our business was in the throes of conversion to the then still budding world of the computer. The early ones took up vast areas and their capabilities were limited, but we had to make the change while the product was still being produced. I remember when it became apparent that orders from one department to another were not being received in a condition that would allow them to be installed without some human intervention. Those orders were called “Rejects”, and would have to be reworked to allow them to be used. The clerks who did the processing became called “Reject Clerks” and we kept growing the numbers of them needed. In fact, there was a whole room full of them, and they started a search to see where we could install even more. Finally, I asked if anyone had thought of going to the department where those orders were being created and find out if they could be improved. You guessed it! A small correction at the source did away with that entire work group.
I am sure that parts of the business world have about one tenth of the work force we had in the old days. The computer world has made a huge change, and I wonder if those kinds of changes have been happening in our government. There has to have been some big changes in the needs for both office space and personnel that would reduce the costs of many operations.
I wonder if any of our young people could imagine what the world of work looked like before the computer took over. The desktops were all covered with items of paper and the typewriter was mounted on the side. The mail was placed in the In and Out tray on the corner of the desk, and large offices had runners who picked up and delivered orders all over the building. Today, the original order is written and then shared with every part of the operation. With cameras and scanners, most things can be duplicated in a second and shared around the world with a tap of a button. I wonder if anyone has attempted to figure out just how much money is saved each and every day with all these modern innovations.
Meanwhile, I hope our government agencies spend more time looking at how we are doing and stop that constant search for new revenue sources. Spend what you need and see if you can put something away for the future. Installing something with money at hand is much more satisfying than leaving our kids with even larger debts than what we are experiencing.