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June 15, 2019

“Money You Earn is Harder To Spend Than Money You Get Free.” (EP.138)

“Money You Earn is Harder To Spend Than Money You Get Free.” (EP.138)


Quoting my 18-year-old son, Joshua, after his third day of digging ditches, burying conduit and wires for a CenturyLink contractor this summer prior to attending college in the fall. He was recapping part of his day with me saying, “Dad, I spent $11 at McDonald’s for food. I had to break a $20. I hated it. It was always okay when you or Mom got me food there. Tomorrow, I am taking a lunch. Money you earn is harder to spend than money you get free, you know?”

Yes, son, I know. But not everyone does. That’s the subject of today’s 10-minute podcast.


Joshua was passing along a few important lessons–lessons that our politicians and many others need to learn:

  1. Attaching work to the money you have adds both value to the cash earned, and dignity to the person who earned it.
  2. Attaching the payer, in this case an 18-year-old, to the product or service being purchased, causes the consumer of the product or service to carefully consider the value received for the money spent.
  3. Add points 1 and 2 together, and you have a person who knows the value of money, and spends it only when receiving real value.

Back to point 1. Attaching work to the money you have. Unearned money does not confer dignity. There is an increasing amount of conversation–and action–around the subject of providing everything from free housing, free higher education and healthcare to a universal income (free money) so that the recipients can “live in dignity.” Is having money a source of dignity? Henry VIII had vast wealth, and was by no measure dignified. Louis XIV, the wealthiest man on earth at the time, was an arrogant, out-of-touch, absolute dictator. Gandhi was, quite literally, dirt poor, yet projected a quiet and powerful dignity. As did Mother Teresa. And who would make the argument that Mark Cuban is more dignified than Luther Harris?

Now to point 2, having the consumer of the product or service have some skin in the game when it comes to paying. How many people do you know who would make as careful a decision spending someone else’s money as they might when spending their own? When people go to the grocery store, most are paying with their own money, and shop carefully. For example, when I buy meat, most of the time it is hamburger; if beef was free, I’d go home with nothing but filets and porterhouses. Others would add in t-bones and ribeyes. Very few would choose chuck roasts and burger if all meat was free. But when you butcher a cow, you get many lesser cuts of meat than filets, t-bones, ribeyes and porterhouses. With the consumer not self-regulating, not rationing their expenditures, the grocery store will have to do the rationing for them. Perhaps a WWII-type ration book; you get only so many t-bones for every lb of hamburger. And you would likely get only so much meat in the first place. Or the store could grind up the whole cow and make all of it into burger so that everyone gets the same thing.

If that sounds like something that will never happen, let’s look at free healthcare. Not that long ago, no one thought that free healthcare would ever be in the national conversation, but here we are. And like the free meat example, if consumers, the users of the service, do not self-regulate because they have some connection to what medical services cost, some sort of skin in the game, the government will have to ration healthcare for them. Either consumers self-regulate in a market-based system, or the government regulates and rations. Those are the only two options.

Today’s Key Point. We live in a world of finite resources and infinite wants. Either the market, the consumer, rations goods and services by seeking value and limiting spending, or the government will do it for them. Pick one. Either we ration and regulate ourselves, or the government will ration and regulate for us. There are a lot of people angrily yelling “fascist” or “dictator” when they see things or people they don’t like today. Things like capitalism and capitalists. What are they going to yell and who are they going to yell at when vital goods and services, very likely of declining quality, are being rationed and regulated by the very Bernie-like people they have put into office?

Be like Joshua. Don’t be like Bernie.

Segueing from the specifics of today’s topic to overall principles, the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.

If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.

The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.

Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean by “acting.”

  • Read the blogs and/or listen to the podcasts.
  • Comment in the blogs. Let others know what you are thinking.
  • Subscribe and recommend that others subscribe as well.
  • Attach links from blogs into your social media feeds. Share your thoughts about the link.
  • From time-to-time, attach links to blogs in emails that mention related subjects. Or just send the links to family and friends.

Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and go forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.

Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.

And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.

Links and References

Source of Human Dignity: Money? Praise? (EP. 127)



As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.