Two brothers were born on a farm in a small town in Indiana to a Polish speaking couple in the early 1930’s. The family eventually moved to Chicago. Joseph, before kindergarten, began reading and listening to the comics over the radio to learn English. Joseph worked hard in his early teens to earn money for himself and the family. The younger brother, Jon, clung to his parents without the same motivation as his older brother.
Joseph started his own transportation company in his early twenties by borrowing $500 after serving in the Army. Jon’s assumption was a job to drive one of the trucks. Jon was oblivious to the financial risk Joseph had undertaken. Joseph saw opportunities. Joseph knew in his mind that he could service businesses needing timely transportation. Joseph was inventive and developed new ways to meet customer expectations, and best practices for utilizing trucks and warehouse space. Joseph’s business flourished, his employees were well paid, and his clients were extremely satisfied with his service. This small business owner eventually “produced” in nine states, growing his workforce to over 120 people. Joseph created numerous jobs for those willing to “voluntarily” exchange their “value,” and all reaped the financial and social benefits. Meanwhile, Jon’s outlook was stale and he became stagnant as time elapsed, which lead him to quit.
We are each born equal, equally in our rights, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness. What we each do as individuals with our “equality” is determined through our own personal choices. Joseph exemplifies that there are no barriers. His “poverty” state at birth and his inability to speak English did not discriminate him from achieving future success. Throughout his life, Joseph increased his productivity to increase his personal wealth, and in doing so, increased the wealth of others. Joseph owned his person, body and soul. Joseph’s life was what he put in his mind and the actions he took.
The government over time has mandated numerous harmful rules and regulations to businesses resulting in the closure of many companies and also terminating thousands of jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic is incomprehensible to many small business owners, especially the government mandate to close all businesses that the government deems “unessential,” a very arbitrary term. The livelihoods of both owners and their employees are in jeopardy, or they may already be eliminated due to extreme and unprecedented government interference. As businesses are “granted permission” to open, for some on a very gradual basis, their permanent existence is still volatile.
One of the keys to re-opening a small business is the ability of the owner to bring back their employees, especially if the company is taking advantage of the Payroll Protection Program where 75% of the funds must be used on payroll expenses. Unfortunately, millions are unemployed through no fault of their own or their employer’s. To alleviate the stress of laid off or furloughed employees the federal government added into CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) a caveat, unemployed persons and gig workers will receive an additional $600 per week through the end of July in unemployment compensation. This has never happened in the history of world economics.
This act begs the question, why would an employee go back to work knowing that they will be “earning” more by staying home? In reality, it is a rational decision to stay home based on the financial well-being of the employee and his/her family. This is not to insinuate that the employee is lazy. However, it is perverse to think that an unemployed person will receive benefits equal to the median weekly earnings of a full-time worker and potentially more than s/he previously earned. Employment is discouraged. The Wall Street Journal and The Denver Post, besides other media outlets, have reported that employers have called back employees only to be told that the employee will not be seeking employment in the near future. (A word of caution: If you are offered a job while receiving unemployment benefits and you decline you can lose those benefits.)
Let me answer the question: “Why work?” America is the land of opportunity with the freedom to use your hands and mind to be productive. Be like “Joseph” and you can achieve your dreams. As an employee you may enrich yourself by learning new skills and knowledge that sets you free, maybe one day owning your own business. If you are like “Jon,” you will forever be chained to the whims and desires of a controlled system filled with PBIs, Politicians, Bureaucrats and Special Interests. Self-production is self-respect. What the government gives to you can easily be taken away. Living up to one’s full potential brings forth unforeseen risks and it also allows one the freedom of mobility, the freedom of thought, and the freedom to rise above governmental destructive edicts.
(Note: The account of Joseph and Jon is true; the names have been changed.)