# Teaching my son

## 12 posts in this topic

This is my most recent blog post... I'd appreciate some input...

http://oharaell.blogspot.com/2012/11/teaching-economic-freedom-to-my.html

I have never explained anything political to my 1st grade son. However, I've recently noticed recently that he is quick to exclaim "Dad! There's Obama" anytime he shows up on the news. At dinner last night I heard a child that looked to be my sons age (1st grade) at the next table loudly proclaim, "Oh, I voted for Barack Obama!" It's very apparent that my son is learning something about this subject at school, the problem is, I'm not sure it's a lesson I approve of.

He's like his Daddy, and pretty quick with the math, so I guess it's time for a lesson on economics. So here's my plan.

He has a list of tasks to do, and he gets a "bonus" for his report card. His payment isn't flat, he actually gets paid for individual activities, so if he accomplishes more, he gets a larger "paycheck". I want him to learn the value of not just "hard work", but more importantly the value of accomplishing something.

"The Obama Plan"

For his next paycheck, I'm planning on implementing a progressive tax system. I haven't figured out all the details yet, but I want to make it so, with a decent amount of effort, he can and exceed the highest tax bracket in a pay period. I'll make the tax reflect a simple version of the system set to take effect in Jan so that he'll pay 39.6% tax in the highest tax bracket. I will keep things simple, and label this the "Obama Plan". I want him to put consequences on the face he sees. I want him to understand that the picture they'll showing at his school and clapping about does things to HIM personally.

To keep the numbers simple, and not need to change his current pay scale I'm going to make the brackets like so.

\$0-\$3 - no taxes

\$3-\$7 - 10%

\$7-\$10 - 30%

\$10 an up - 40%

This means that if he makes \$7 (a pretty normal week), he'll "take home" \$4.90. If he makes \$10 (he worked extra hard), he'll take home \$6, an impressive \$1.90 for the extra 5 or 6 tasks he had to do to "earn" the additional \$3. He's a pretty bright kid mathematically, and I'd be willing to bet that he'll quickly learn that working for that extra \$3 doesn't have the return that working for the original \$3 does.

Every payday, before he gets his money, I'll tax his taxes, and I will explain how the politicians decide to do this. I'll also run through the same gross pay under the other plan I discuss below.

"The Other Plan"

After a few pay periods of the progressive tax system, I'll implement Hermain Cains 9/9/9 plan with him. This is quite a bit simpler, since he's not running a business. I'll tax him 9% at payday, and 9% when he spends it. This means that he'll get \$8.20 of buying power for that \$10 he earns on a good week. I'm not yet sure what to label this plan since the Republican party never embraced this plan, only a lower version of the current progressive tax plan, so I'm open to suggestions.

After he's gotten both tax plans, I'm going to ask him which one he prefers.

This is gunna kill me, because I'm so proud of the way he runs upstairs to do "chores" and looks forward to "payday". But being a good parent is more than hugs and kisses, it's about teaching life lessons. It'll be a cold day in hell when I let the public school system teach my son their perverted version of morality.

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I like how I said I'm good with math, then screwed up the numbers. You folks get the idea though, I'm sure!

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I would get him to read Heinlein's "youth" books.

Also, I would incorporate compounding interest in his cash allotment. See this for more detail (Econtalk is generally a good podcast IMHO):

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/05/owen_on_parenti.html

Maybe there's a way to incorporate taxation too.

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Love the compound interest idea. He abhors saving right now, in fact, I usually have to make him. He's always happy that he did, when he gets to buy a bigger lego set, but to him, the wait isn't worth the reword.

A decently aggressive compound interest scheme might help change that.

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Yes, that's what that guy (in the podcast) did - 5% a month I think as long as the allowances were small enough, then he dialed it down when the kids got older and more expensive.

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Your plan seems rather complex for a first-grader. I would only bring up political and economic issues when they are directly relevant to his own experience and values without manufacturing artificial situations. I might just say something like, "I don't like what Obama is doing because he is taking money I work hard for and want to spend on you and Mommy and giving it to lazy people who don't like us." If your son is interested further he will ask. If not, he'll file it away for future reference.

Also something may come up in his life that impacts his values where you can make a connection that will stick. My son Matt was about your son's age when that happened to us. We were at the beach and Matt had brought his boogie board. He saw that they had a stand where they were renting out boogie boards for \$10 an hour and Matt told the lady running the concession that he was willing to rent his board out for \$5.

The lady told him that he would have to have a license to do that and, if he didn't, he could go to jail. Matt was outraged and declared, "That's WRONG!"

His Dad and I and a few Objectivist friends of ours who were present commiserated with Matt and elaborated on why it was wrong.

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Another thought: You could show him YOUR paycheck and how much is taken out in taxes. Then translate that into things he values such as, "Two months of taxes is a trip to Disney World we won't be able to take."

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Thanks Betsy.

I think my main concern is that without manufacturing situations, politics do not affect my 7 year old son. They ARE however being discussed in his school. He doesn't say much about it, but it's clear that the current president is idolized by the way his reaction is when he sees him. Like it's Santa Clause or something. It turns my stomach, and I don't want to just tell him "Obama is evil" without having him trust what Daddy says on faith.

As far as the complexity goes, He's pretty good with math. In fact he trains Jiu Jitsu with me and we have fun calculating the score. One day he went to school and tried to convince his teacher that they should do Jiu Jitsu since it was math. Quite funny actually. While I don't think he'll "have fun" figuring out how much money he earns but doesn't get to keep, I do think it'll prompt very valuable discussion. I want to put concrete actions on the face that they're showing in his class. So that when he sees it, he understands the truth. Not the dribble that's being fed to him. That's the most important thing to me.

My wife and I are discussing pulling him out of school, and possibly home schooling him. We have some Objectivist friends who do that, and I was home schooled from 6th grade. That wouldn't happen until he's done with this school year though.

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Yeah, so we just got done training Jiu Jitsu together, and doing his homework.

Wow... Betsy, I may back down. Not because I agree that it's too complicated. I'm actually pretty sure he'll understand.

I may back down because I don't have the strength to show what a horribly depraved society we've become. He is so innocent, so proud, full of life, not a bit altruist, yet totally benevolent.

I will find the strength to do this, because this IS the world we live in, and if we're still free enough to fight when he's old enough, he'll fight by my side. I'll be damned if some looting "public servent" makes my son into one of them.

-- I swear by my life and my love of it, that I will never BLEEPING EVER live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine

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My wife and I are discussing pulling him out of school, and possibly home schooling him. We have some Objectivist friends who do that, and I was home schooled from 6th grade. That wouldn't happen until he's done with this school year though.

You should be glad that you have this option. It's illegal where I live. I know I'd do it myself if I had children. And I'd move abroad to be able to do it.

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Another method that I've found particularly effective* is talking to him about his grades. If he works hard and gets an "A," does he think that someone who doesn't work as hard should get an "A" also? Some people are naturally gifted, and don't have to work as hard to get an "A." But they still deserve it.

This makes more sense to me than your complicated scheme. Unless you plan on giving that money to his friends who don't earn as good grades as he does.

The other method that is extremely effective, particularly for intelligent children, is to ask him why he thinks something. Next time he says "Dad, there's Obama!" ask him what he thinks about Obama, and then ask him to back up his argument with specific examples. If you do this correctly, he'll be forced to confront the holes in his thinking and re-evaluate it. And he'll learn a good lesson in being challenge to provide evidence for an opinion.

Just my \$0.02.

*I don't have kids, but I found it very effective on my classmates when I was younger.