Saturday, December 01, 2012


40 years ago today, the day I turned 15, I started my first job earning an actual paycheck at KFC on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith. I thought I was going to make $1.20 an hour, but quickly learned I only netted $1.00 an hour after payroll and income taxes. I didn’t mind though; I felt good earning spending money and being able to contribute to my government.

I’ve never minded paying taxes. I want to contribute to my country as well as my family, my church, and other important causes. Good government, essential to an ethical society, has real costs. However, I don’t know how an ethical society can survive with more people taking from government than contributing to government. It seems to me that everyone who can work and contribute, should work and contribute, including those on Social Security, government pensions, and some even on disability.

My pledge, as I start the second half of my sixth decade, is to put off retirement and social security as long as possible, work as long as someone will pay me for my time or service, and encourage others, especially peek baby boomers like myself, to continue to contribute as long as they can. I don’t want boomers to be the generation that ruined the American experiment.


Kevin said...

I vacillate between fighting to hold off ruin and morbidly considering that negative consequences may be the only way people will see the causal relationships and learn.

In any case, I hope you enjoy your work and I wish you a wonderful life and a belated Happy Birthday, David!

I'm glad you're still around with your virtue in tact. :)

David M. Smith said...

Thanks Kevin. I probably should have finished Atlas Shrugged before posting my comment. I don't plan on stopping complaining about those people living on government checks who should be working, but I also need to lead by example. It' still hard to be optimistic. I wish you well as well.

Kevin said...

Optimism is tough, but I'm attracted to it, too. It is great that you're leading by example.

I'm probably among the few libertarians who don't generally care for Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged, so don't finish it on my account. :)

David M. Smith said...

Hi Kevin, did you read Atlas Shrugged. I really liked the book until John Galt's big speech. His speech has made the book hard to finish because he has such an infant's understanding of faith. I need to finish though, just to say I have read the book.

Kevin said...

No, I haven't read it all. In fact, I don't think I made it very far into the book. I probably should read it for the same reason as you.

It's been a long time since I last tried, but my lingering sense is that Rand is a good writer and she provides some insights and fun parts, but she frames annoying caricatures of people and events, making it hard for me to like them or take her seriously -- even when I agree with her in principle!

With somewhat higher hopes, I watched the first installment of the recent movie version, but it only served to reinforce my opinion. I'll probably watch the second part, too, and with my expectations in the gutter, hopefully I'll enjoy it more. :)

Yoonhee Park said...

It's great to hear that a babyboomers like yourself are enthusiastic about contributing and serving the society as long as you are able. As a young professional in my 20's, one of the most helpful contribution we can ask from the babyboomers is growing/training younger leaders with based on your experiences and insight, and open the door of opportunity for us to contribute fresh, innovative ideas.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Yoonhee,
Thanks for your comment. In an ideal world, age and wisdom would go together. In our real world, baby boomers are not very wise. Most people my age expect the workers your age to pay for our retirement. This is completely unfair to you and those your age. People your age may need to start saying “No” to the people my age. I would apologize to you for my contemporaries, but so far, your contemporaries seem to be just as foolish. I hope and pray that you and others will lead us out of this financial mess created by selfish voters.

Anonymous said...

Hey, David:

It's been awhile. I saved your blog to my "Favorites" in hopes I'd read more of your thoughts, and have been rewarded.

As you well remember, I have always had a strong melancholy side to me, and this topic emphasizes this trait. Retirement? What retirement? Economically, we're plumb broke, with our "masters" in DC printing up more and more currency to "quantitatively ease" us out of the mess we - and especially, as you note, us Baby Boomers - have made of things. At some point, the government will default on Social Security, MediCare/MedicAid, government retirements (including military), etc.

In so many ways we as a society have been at war with Reality for far too long - and we've gotten away with it . . . up till now. The trouble is, Reality will reassert itself, and a huge reset is fixin' to happen, I'm afraid. Limits are a part of life, but we Boomers and too many in subsequent generations don't seem to get it.

American Exceptionalism, indeed!

On another but related note, I've discovered over the last several years that I can no longer label myself "conservative" without being put in the same category as the neocons, etc., much to my annoyance at having a perfectly good word abused by the likes of the McCains, Bushes, Grahams, Boehners, et al. Now, to be more accurate, I have to use the awkward "paleo-conservative" label. While I have definite leanings toward the Libertarians (I voted for Dr. Paul for President last November), I find them ultimately too enthusiastic regarding the individual at the expense of the traditional community (i.e. the organic "community" in terms of Calhoun's "concurrent majorities" and not the ACORN "community organizing" understanding of it).

Okay, that was a bit lengthy, but, then it has been awhile!

(William) David Smith
(Soon to be former Army Chaplain and now residing in Tennessee)

David M. Smith said...

Hi Dave, I sent you an e-mail to the last e-mail address I had for you. If you don't get it, can you e-mail me? Do you have my address?

Anonymous said...

Try I don't monitor the account any longer.