“You Can’t Be Taxed Before 18” and Other Lies My Child Believes

 

The other night while driving to see Thor: Ragnarok, my daughter and I ended up having a conversation about money. It’s open enrollment at work and since my daughter is 14, we discuss my income and costs much more openly. She wondered how much I make and where all of the money goes. Since I’m pretty open about this, I asked her why she was asking and reminded her that it is rude to ask people how much they make.

Given that her question was in good faith, I told her that I would answer it and we could talk about it on the 30-minute drive to her father’s town.

We talked about income. We talked about how much I have to work in order to make enough money to cover the mortgage. I discussed how surprised I was when working my first summer job to see my first paycheck. I have a feeling that most conservatives, if not all, have that moment when working their first job. We excitedly calculate our wages, we keep a record of what we should be paid, we anticipate that first check … and then we do a double-take when we realize that The Man has taken our hard-earned money! My family jokes about this as the first real exposure to the real world.

My mom tells the story of her students, many of whom are juvenile miscreants, coming back to her to help them calculate their first paycheck. “What is this SSDI? I didn’t say they could take that!”  She kindly explains how taxes work and how they are now helping support their fellow students’ babies and how their fellow students probably really appreciate it.

For conservatives, I think this shock makes a permanent mark. The indignant knee-jerk response is impressed upon our gray matter and hidden somewhere in there. We remember the hard work and the value of our money.

Circling back to my daughter, we talked about whether or not I would allow her to have a job before 18. I told her the ongoing mantra of my family: your job right now is to be a student, if you can handle that, we’ll see about doing more. The most important thing you can do right now is to be a good student, to learn, and to prepare yourself for college. We moved on from there to talking about taxes and if it would be worth it for her to spend hours that she could be doing martial arts, mentoring other kids, readying, studying, or socializing to receive a paycheck that would be half the size after taxes. “What?! I thought you didn’t pay taxes until you were 18!” she exclaimed over the radio. I laughed so hard, I started crying.

“Where did you get that idea?” I asked, in between gasps of laughter.

“Well, 18 is when you’re an adult, that’s when you can vote so … that’s when you pay taxes? I dunno!”

My response was an echo of what my parents said to me with that first paycheck. “Oh honey … no.”

Somehow, somewhere, my daughter got this silly idea that life is fair. We spent the rest of the ride discussing what would happen if she inherited money, property taxes, how we are taxed on the money we make when we make it, then when we use it, then when we give it to someone else, and again when we die. She was positively shocked that these things happened. “But that’s not fair!  It was already taxed! What are they spending that money on, anyway?!”

After a period of silence, she looked at me gravely.

“…so that’s why Grandma is always so mad at the news?”

I think a light went on. Let’s just hope that it stays on.

There are 56 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Underground Conservative Coolidge
    Underground Conservative
    @UndergroundConservative

    So far, so good!

    • #1
  2. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Good talk with your daughter. It’s not only about taxes, though. While economic freedom may be the most important freedom, there are others that are also important and largely independent. Much of the Bill of Rights is under assault now.

    As your daughter matures and goes on to college, I hope she will also see that these other issues matter too. Coincidentally, in today’s Klavan podcast Michael Knowles tells the anecdote about going back to Yale and finding that many non-Republicans have joined his old conservative group at Yale because the Left has gotten so nutty. In the same vein, Dave Rubin (of Rubin Report) speaks of how he considered himself a leftist until the Regressive Left (a term he uses) moved so far over that he now feels more at home with classical liberals, libertarians, and the Right.

    • #2
  3. PHCheese Member
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    You say ” goes to college ” as her only choice. I am beginning to wonder if it’s worth it.

    • #3
  4. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    Good talk with your daughter. It’s not only about taxes, though. While economic freedom may be the most important freedom, there are others that are also important and largely independent. Much of the Bill of Rights is under assault now.

    Living in SoCal, we have many opportunities to talk about the Bill of Rights.  We talk about freedom of speech quite often, about respect, and about the 2nd Amendment.  Heck, she’s better with a revolver than I am.  I think we need to be very concerned for the young people because they are very sheltered.  They do not know the value of their money and they do not seem to respect where it comes from, either through simple ignorance or willful ignorance.

    I think this is part of why they tend toward liberal.  They have an idea that the world should be better and that some amorphous “they” is keeping them from doing so.  If only “they” paid their “fair share”.  When the kids learn that they *are* “They”, it’s suddenly very different.

    • #4
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Love it. Thanks for sharing the story, TRN.

    • #5
  6. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    PHCheese (View Comment):
    You say ” goes to college ” as her only choice. I am beginning to wonder if it’s worth it.

    In her case, it would be.  She is less of a hands-on type.  I fully support trades and think that one of the worst things the educators did was say that everyone should go to college.  Some people shouldn’t.  College really isn’t for everyone.  Some people need to work with their hands and that’s not just okay, but should be encouraged.

    I say college, but it might be something more like art school.  She’s pretty fond of graphic design.

    • #6
  7. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    I know it’s off topic but your essay brings to mind the cash for clunkers fiasco, the automakers bail out, the Solyndra fiasco, and the subsidizing of the rich man’s car (Tesla and the hyperloop train, for those that wish to see an orchard in Fresno).

    Perhaps the Feds could have started buying out Social Security recipients. I started working at 16 and I’d take a buyout of what I put in, key phrase my contribution in a heart beat. Invest it on my own, and eventually relief for younger earners would follow as Social Security is totally phased out.

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    Oh, I almost forgot I loved your daughter’s reaction to the voluntary contribution as the Feds call taxes is not so voluntary after all. If the under 18 rule was no taxation my income wouldn’t be the only thing I adjusted on my tax returns, my birth date would have been as well.

    • #8
  9. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    You might want to reconsider letting her work a little. There’s way more to work then just the paycheck.  I think too many of the Precious Snowflakes in college are lacking that exposure.

    • #9
  10. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    Kozak (View Comment):
    You might want to reconsider letting her work a little. There’s way more to work then just the paycheck. I think too many of the Precious Snowflakes in college are lacking that exposure.

    Summer work is okay.  I just don’t want it messing with her schoolwork.

    • #10
  11. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):
    You might want to reconsider letting her work a little. There’s way more to work then just the paycheck. I think too many of the Precious Snowflakes in college are lacking that exposure.

    Summer work is okay. I just don’t want it messing with her schoolwork.

    It probably wouldn’t.  I was a busboy two nights a week when I was a senior in high school.  I don’t think it hurt my schoolwork.

    • #11
  12. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):
    You might want to reconsider letting her work a little. There’s way more to work then just the paycheck. I think too many of the Precious Snowflakes in college are lacking that exposure.

    Summer work is okay. I just don’t want it messing with her schoolwork.

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):
    You might want to reconsider letting her work a little. There’s way more to work then just the paycheck. I think too many of the Precious Snowflakes in college are lacking that exposure.

    Summer work is okay. I just don’t want it messing with her schoolwork.

    It probably wouldn’t. I was a busboy two nights a week when I was a senior in high school. I don’t think it hurt my schoolwork.

    Me either.

    • #12
  13. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):
    You might want to reconsider letting her work a little. There’s way more to work then just the paycheck. I think too many of the Precious Snowflakes in college are lacking that exposure.

    Summer work is okay. I just don’t want it messing with her schoolwork.

    It probably wouldn’t. I was a busboy two nights a week when I was a senior in high school. I don’t think it hurt my schoolwork.

    Debatable.  I’ve seen some kids fall prey to the idea of making money being better than getting an education.  It very much depends on the kid, the job, and the hours.  I wouldn’t mind her hostessing or waiting tables.

    • #13
  14. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):
    Debatable. I’ve seen some kids fall prey to the idea of making money being better than getting an education. It very much depends on the kid, the job, and the hours. I wouldn’t mind her hostessing or waiting tables.

    Lol.  It was the running around chasing girls that hurt my schoolwork.  Not my job.

    • #14
  15. Jason Rudert Member
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    Where’s my heart react button?!

    • #15
  16. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Great parenting, TRN. A friend of mine said his neighbor’s daughter asked him for $2o so she could give it to a homeless guy. He said, “I won’t give it to you, but you can earn it by mowing my lawn this week.” She thought for a minute and said, “Well why doesn’t the homeless guy just mow your lawn.” He said “Welcome to the Republican Party.”

    • #16
  17. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Lol. It was the running around chasing girls that hurt my schoolwork. Not my job.

    Schoolwork? I never bothered. Of course, I had three jobs in my senior year of high school.

    • #17
  18. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):
    Living in SoCal, we have many opportunities to talk about the Bill of Rights.

    Yeah, tell me about it.

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):
    she’s better with a revolver than I am.

    Looks like you’re raising her right. :)

    • #18
  19. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):
    Living in SoCal, we have many opportunities to talk about the Bill of Rights.

    Yeah, tell me about it.

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):
    she’s better with a revolver than I am.

    Looks like you’re raising her right. :)

    As much as I can, considering!  It’s interesting hearing from her the sort of stuff her teachers say versus what we say and do at home.

    • #19
  20. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):
    You might want to reconsider letting her work a little. There’s way more to work then just the paycheck. I think too many of the Precious Snowflakes in college are lacking that exposure.

    Summer work is okay. I just don’t want it messing with her schoolwork.

    It probably wouldn’t. I was a busboy two nights a week when I was a senior in high school. I don’t think it hurt my schoolwork.

    Debatable. I’ve seen some kids fall prey to the idea of making money being better than getting an education. It very much depends on the kid, the job, and the hours. I wouldn’t mind her hostessing or waiting tables.

    Developing Job skills is at least as relevant to future life as the “schoolwork” in the average public high school.

    • #20
  21. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

     

    TheRightNurse: My mom tells the story of her students, many of whom are juvenile miscreants, coming back to her to help them calculate their first paycheck. “What is this SSDI? I didn’t say they could take that!” She kindly explains how taxes work and how they are now helping support their fellow students’ babies and how their fellow students probably really appreciate it.

    “Who’s this guy FICA, and why did he take all my money?”

    • #21
  22. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse: My mom tells the story of her students, many of whom are juvenile miscreants, coming back to her to help them calculate their first paycheck. “What is this SSDI? I didn’t say they could take that!” She kindly explains how taxes work and how they are now helping support their fellow students’ babies and how their fellow students probably really appreciate it.

    “Who’s this guy FICA, and why did he take all my money?”

    Exactly.  Those poor kids never saw it coming.  Who did they think paid for welfare?

    • #22
  23. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):
    You might want to reconsider letting her work a little. There’s way more to work then just the paycheck. I think too many of the Precious Snowflakes in college are lacking that exposure.

    Summer work is okay. I just don’t want it messing with her schoolwork.

    It probably wouldn’t. I was a busboy two nights a week when I was a senior in high school. I don’t think it hurt my schoolwork.

    Debatable. I’ve seen some kids fall prey to the idea of making money being better than getting an education. It very much depends on the kid, the job, and the hours. I wouldn’t mind her hostessing or waiting tables.

    Developing Job skills is at least as relevant to future life as the “schoolwork” in the average public high school.

    That’s a very good point.  It just depends on the ability to juggle that.  Some kids can handle it, some kids can’t.  I think summer jobs are particularly valuable because then they can work the full 40 hour week and get some experience with what happens after graduation.

    • #23
  24. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    This is the talk that liberals are embarrassed to have with their kids. Its not the sex talk, its the tax talk.

    These are the effects of what mommy and daddy believe… You’ll be crushed under unbelievable public debts, pay exorbitant taxes, but dont worry you can feel good knowing it was all worth it, for somebody else somewhere else…

    • #24
  25. Chuck Enfield Member
    Chuck Enfield
    @ChuckEnfield

    TheRightNurse:What?! I thought you didn’t pay taxes until you were 18!” she exclaimed over the radio. I laughed so hard, I started crying.

    “Where did you get that idea?”

    Didn’t we fight a war to stop taxation without representation?

    • #25
  26. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    Chuck Enfield (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse:What?! I thought you didn’t pay taxes until you were 18!” she exclaimed over the radio. I laughed so hard, I started crying.

    “Where did you get that idea?”

    Didn’t we fight a war to stop taxation without representation?

    Yep.  But we’re represented.  It’s just that in CA, our representatives are generally ineffective.  A drop in a sea of crazy liberal taxation.

    • #26
  27. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    OccupantCDN (View Comment):
    You’ll be crushed under unbelievable public debts, pay exorbitant taxes, but dont worry you can feel good knowing it was all worth it, for somebody else somewhere else…

    Not just somewhere else.  In this particular case, my mom’s students were seated side by side with recipients of food stamps and Section 8.  Their friends were getting pregnant (on purpose) at 15 and 16 and sitting in class with their babies.

    My mom reminded them that they were the ones paying the bills so that their friends could go to school.

    Totally different perspective there.  “Someone else, somewhere else…” is very different when that person is seated next to you in class and is texting on a brand new iPhone.

    • #27
  28. Marythefifth Member
    Marythefifth
    @Marythefifth

    A friend in her mid-30s, has responsibly worked her whole adult life, though as a low-wage, unmarried mother of 3. She has yet to pay an income tax, plus receives govt funds for 2 disabled kids. She was shocked at how much income tax I pay each year and my wages support only me without much extra to spare. She also never heard of capital gains or estate taxes or that lottery winnings are taxed and at what percentage. She is like tens of millions of others. It would be grand if public schools required students to take a class in personal finances.

    • #28
  29. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Chuck Enfield (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse:What?! I thought you didn’t pay taxes until you were 18!” she exclaimed over the radio. I laughed so hard, I started crying.

    “Where did you get that idea?”

    Didn’t we fight a war to stop taxation without representation?

    I think the fighters of the American Revolutionary War would be in shock about modern America.There is so much about the modern world that would appall all of our ancestors.

    This is the one thing that I think the writers of “Sleepy Hollow” got really wrong. IF you didnt follow it there was a TV series,(2013-2017) about an American Revolutionary Soldier Ichabob Crane, who gets resurrected into modern America. He’s discovered by a police officer (a black woman, naturally) and ends up being more or less in her care, accompanying her. It was an interesting concept for most of the first season, but the writers stumbled on several plot points – injecting modern political views into the revolutionary war – that kinda upset me. Drat, now I have an urge to re-watch this series.

    • #29
  30. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Marythefifth (View Comment):
    A friend in her mid-30s, has responsibly worked her whole adult life, though as a low-wage, unmarried mother of 3. She has yet to pay an income tax, plus receives govt funds for 2 disabled kids. She was shocked at how much income tax I pay each year and my wages support only me without much extra to spare. She also never heard of capital gains or estate taxes or that lottery winnings are taxed and at what percentage. She is like tens of millions of others. It would be grand if public schools required students to take a class in personal finances.

    This is why we need an alternative minimum tax that requires everyone to pay something – 2% of gross income would be a good start.

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.