Merry Krissmachannaramasolstikwanzawinterfestiveenimas! I was vexed about soemthing last night when I thought about posting, but not so much now. It wasn't a "war on Christmas" thing, I remember that much. I'm actually kind of happy not to wake up completely incapacitated by this cold today.
Jack woke up about his usual time (0430) for a bottle and to cuddle in bed with Mommy and Daddy. But my cough is pretty bad and I didn't want to wake him or keep Red awake on our family day off - therefore, I blog.
Red's family tradition has always been to open Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve and then stockings on Christmas Day. Since my family tradition involves driving all over the Twin Cities for two days to four different Christmasses, and she gets very pouty about not doing Christmas her way, we do Christmas her way. (Of course, living in Jacksonville makes it difficult to visit my grandmothers over Christmas).
So we opened gifts. Not a lot of money to spend on each other this year, but I wen't ahead and used the credit card for a Dyson vacuum cleaner
that she had told me she wanted. With the way that Red and the two cats shed, Jack picks up a lot of hair when he crawls around on the floor - this vacuum is supposed to be really good at taking care of that problem.
Red was whelmed at the gift. It was a pop fly to center field, definitely nowhere close to a home run. Especially since, right after we opened gifts, we saw a TV commercial mocking Stereotypical Chubby Stupid White Male for buying his wife a vacuum cleaner for Christmas. Dr. Helen
would be a better one to delve into that than I am.
It was difficult this year to find something to give her, and she found it difficult to find something to give me as well. I've been gone for six months and we pretty much have everything we want. Isn't that nice? We've got a nice little house, the cutest kid on Earth, and all we really want to do is work on those two things.
My Dad asked me for a Christmas list for us and I couldn't think of anything at all, except for I want to build a stone patio in the back of the house, put a nice grill back there, fix the bathtub faucet and finish moving the rest of my things out of the garage and into the house/down to the curb for the trash collectors (as applicable).
This reminds me of one of the heady conversations
and I had in Scotland while walking around. We ended up talking about taxation and redistribution of wealth. In a sense, I suppose I could be considered wealthy. For immediate purposes (for the time being) my family doesn't need
anything. Every paycheck Red and I get, we are able to pay our bills and buy groceries and put gas in the cars. We could cut back in some areas and have more money left over if we chose to do so, but we haven't budgeted it out at this point.
Federal taxes take 12% of my income before I even see it. That's crap, if you ask me, because it's my money, and I earned it. I'd like to decide where it goes. It's also ridiculous that I'm a government employee and the government bothers taxing me at all. Why not just pay me less to begin with and keep the bloody money?
Child support takes 25% of my income, no sliding scale, nothing. Minnsota state law supports that regardless of how ridiculous an amount that is. It is currently just about equal to my mortgage payment. What vexes me most about it is what a stupid kid I was. My reasoning went like this: I've got orders to Japan, and I'm never going to see my daughter. I've got to make sure she's provided for. I know! I'll call the county and have them garnish my wages!
I know, I know. I haven't always been the ferociously independent libertarianistic objectivist you see before you today. At one time, I actually thought the government was here to help. It seemed like a good idea at the time, when I was 21 and had no idea how any of these things worked and failed to see the 18-year impact of what I was doing. I think this is how most of these goofy socialist ideas get into people's heads and once they start to suffer the negative consequences of placing their faith in the state to do everything for them, most people come around to thinking more or less like I do.
The net result is that my ex has three kids, including mine, and is able to do a lot of things that she wouldn't ordinarily be able to do, like get through tough times when her husband gets laid off or is going to school since they are a three-income family. Red and I get by day-to-day, but don't really make any headway on paying bills.
Is it fair? Some would say yes, of course it's fair. The state has imposed fairness upon you because you are forces to provide for your daughter as though she lived with you. Since you have more money and are worse off and she has less money and is better off, all is right in the world.
The state doesn't care whether I see her or not, or fulfill my obligations as a father, only that the wealth is redistributed accordingly. I hope that it's being put to good use, because if I had that money, I could put it in a college fund or something for her. I could also use that money to fly up to Minnesota and see her more than once a year, or fly her down to Florida.
Additionally, had I thought to try to reconcile with my ex ten years ago and be friendly toward each other, we could've worked together to decide how much she needed and I may have ended up having a more amiable relationship and I may have ended up communicating better with her and my daughter and maybe, just maybe, things wouldn't be as screwed up as they are now. (Mind you, I am not going into full details here, Internet.)
Of course, I don't ultimately blame the state for my problems - that, again, is giving them too much power. My problems are entirely of my own making. What I'm getting at here, is why do we trust in the almighty government to decide who is too wealthy and who is too poor? What incentive does my ex have to improve her quality of life before my daughter turns 18 and the child support stops coming in? None. She's living, at least partially, a life of dependency. Come June 2015, she will have to quit cold turkey.
From my own point of view, the child support obligation is review every two years and generally increases significantly each time, right around this time of year. Suddenly, this delicate balance that Red and I have with getting our bills paid is upset and we have to figure out how to meet all our obligations with $400 less per month.
Is any of that fair? No law is going make people less poor, nothing will make poor people any richer except for poor people doing it themselves. I think state-imposed fairness does more harm than good. All I really care about is my daughter, and I personally think that she is the one who gets the short end of the stick no matter how you look at it.
On a side note, I found this great article on socialized medicine
which makes a similar point. Some of you know I have similar feelings on charity, i.e. that charity keeps people destitute because of their dependence upon it.
Labels: charity, egon, libertarianism, objectivism