Author: Nathaniel Slattery
Posted: Month of Mary, 24th Day, Year of Our Lord 2023
Here is the excerpt which I promised in my previous article:
When I was a child living off of my father’s and mother’s provision, I thought that the day when I could produce my own money would be the day I would receive my freedom. This was because I had been taught the value of a dollar (which is __% of what it was in 1900[U1] and ___ of what it was in 1800[U2] ). That dollar could purchase me two candybars, two of them could purchase me a soda, and one hundred of them could purchase me an XBOX game system, which were my desires and the things I had seen purchased most often by my brothers (I don’t use these examples to be flippant or vulgar, but because they were truly the things on my mind, and God shall judge me for that vanity). I had also seen them purchase a meal for about five of them.
The meal was the trick. I had added up about how many of these I needed a day, which I figured at four or five, which meant twenty or twenty-five dollars. Additionally, I had spent some time in the cold and in the heat, in the woods where I experienced cuts, scratches, and itches, and I had learned that I needed a home and good clothing. For all these things, I needed an income of something like $1000 a month. I had broken down in a graph sheet how I would spend all the money I would be making, and I made sure all of my needs and desires would be met, although I did not at that time understand the cost of a house, which by rent would have doubled my projection of need at that time.
When I started trying to get a job at 16 (I had already worked a couple of small businesses successfully), I was refused everywhere, owing most likely to child labor laws. I nevertheless persisted until I was 18, when I got a part-time job at a grocery store, where I made about $760 a month. This was enough to pay for my meals at least, and I continued to rely on my father for everything else. I then discovered the four-eyed monster: income tax, insurance, interest, and inflation.[U6] This not only made me behind, but made it nearly impossible to calculate the actual money I would take home, and therefore made it very difficult to order my finances.
In addition, I often wanted to eat more than $5 worth of food. This I found difficult to resist, although I often tried to skip meals in order to have more money for other things, and I learned in that year what kinds of fuel the body actually needs. However, the less I ate, the more difficult it was to control my spending. I also had a new expense and difficulty, which was transportation to my new job, as well as clothes that the employer required (all black with slacks). This put me in expense just above what I was taking in.
This was the beginning but not the end of making just short of the money I required to live. Everyone that has gotten an honest start in our society should be able to relate to it, many people at a much easier level, and many people at a much more difficult level, since my father was quite generous with me. I was astounded to discover the level of loyalty and sacrifice my employer required of me in exchange for the meager living they provided, including the sacrifice of my own morality which I often had to sign away in pre-employment documents, and this was the chief impetus as well as blind need which had me seeking job changes and then promotions. I sought promotions because I had first of all heard that it was bad to always be “job-hopping” for the sake of your résumé, and then at a new employer I was told that the pay increase for a promotion was “substantial” although I was not allowed to know the exact amount. It was fifty cents.
Not long after receiving that promotion, I began to look for other ways of making money. This brought me some success and comfort and even freedom, although never to the level even of what I then considered modest expectations that I had when I was about to enter into manhood. I still have not attained quite the freedom I thought I would have as a child in my father’s house. I have pursued the idea of it all the way until now, when I have purchased some land and am trying to grow food to replace at least that need, but I couldn’t have done it without the $10000 for a down payment and the privilege of being in more debt than I have ever made, in order to own a house that is falling apart in its foundations and was built 100 years ago.
You need a paycheck. The ways around this are few, difficult, and quickly passing away. The average income is ___. [U8] The average cost of living is ____. [U9] This requires both parents of a home with children who refuse to use contraception or otherwise frustrate the main end of matrimony [U10] to work. This prevents them from spending time with their children[U11] . The time they do spend is insufficient for their education, and so that is outsourced to the government or to private schools, who are so expensive as to require an even larger paycheck[U12], and then still teach immorality. This in addition to everything else corrupting about a paycheck, which extends from the very nature of the working day [U13] to the inability to avoid blasphemy, vulgarity, and temptations to wanton living.
You need a paycheck. The system is built upon requiring you to have a paycheck. So if we are to keep our current system, and battle over how that paycheck is earned and how far it goes, can we find a solution for traditionalism? There are two major approaches: Capitalism and Communism. Both of these are built upon the grievances which are easy to generate from the story I’ve related above. Both of these I pursued and relied upon in my life. Communism was the system which my father essentially created in my childhood home and also was in effect in some parts of my adult life. Capitalism was what I pursued as I started looking for other ways to make money outside of employment. Which is better for a Catholic father and his paycheck, and by extension his family? Let us look at each in turn.