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By Taylor Kovar

Hi Taylor - I’m trying to convince my two boys - 14 and 16 years old - that time is money. Whenever I say that, we get into frustrating, teenage arguments over semantics and they go back to playing video games. How do I fix this problem while they’re still young? - Deanne

Hey Deanne - Getting teenage boys to care about money is one of life’s great challenges (sorry, Mom and Dad!). It’s going to be an uphill battle, but you should think of ways to show them instead of telling them. One of the ways to do this is to actually make their time more valuable, through an allowance or another sort of rewards system.

    No one is going to believe that their time has monetary value until you prove that to be true. This is a little easier with adults, as an hourly wage is proof that an eight-hour workday equals X number of dollars. With a teenager who might not be working yet, or who just works seasonal jobs and doesn’t have to stay motivated year round, you have to draw the line between time and money for them.

    If you already offer an allowance, make sure your boys are earning it. Instead of paying for chores that are poorly done, pay for a task that’s accomplished well. They’ll want to finish the job as quickly as possible, so you have to set the standard for good work. As they find ways to get chores done right and fast, they’ll start to discover the importance of efficiency, which is at the core of valuing one’s time.

    Beyond bribing, makie them care about long-term goals. Any time they talk about wanting a fancy car or a new gaming console, break down how many hours it would take to earn the money needed to buy that item. Give examples of how the money could be earned, through a regular job or by collecting and recylcing cans and bottles. When they connect the dots between working, earning and buying cool stuff, they’ll start to see how using time wisely can result in getting what they want.

    The biggest hurdle is often teaching responsibility. When we’re teenagers, we don’t want to take responsibility for much. Once we start to see that taking ownership of our time can produce good results, our habits change. Without becoming too much of an authoritarian, find ways to show your kids that taking smart action will produce the best outcome.

    I’m not surprised the boys push back on a figurative statement like “time is money.” If you can find a way to show how quality use of time leads to increased earnings, you’ll probably start to make a little more headway. Good luck, Deanne!
--
Taylor J Kovar, CEO

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by John Stossel

    "Libertarians believe that you should be as conservative or as liberal as you want to be as long as you don't want to force yourself on others," says Larry Sharpe, Libertarian candidate for governor of New York.
    Sharpe is an unusual Libertarian candidate because he's doing well in some polls.
    One found Sharpe getting 13 percent, and after people heard his campaign pitch, 25 percent. That would put him in second place, ahead of the Republican.
    So of course the establishment shuts him out -- he and other third-party candidates weren't allowed in the one gubernatorial debate.
    Sharpe wins fans by arguing that it would be good if individuals make their own decisions without government spending constantly getting in the way.
    "What we understand as libertarians is at the end of every single law is a guy or gal with a gun who's going to put you in a cage; if you don't want to go in that cage, they're going to shoot you. What that means is you should only use the law when there is loss of life, health, limb, property, or liberty... Not because I don't like what you're doing."
    That's refreshing to hear from a politician.
    No new government programs under a Sharpe administration, then?
    "No, no, no, no, no, no," he assures me.
    At least one candidate doesn't want to make government bigger.
    New York faces a $4.4 billion deficit. Current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed raising taxes.
    Sharpe has other ideas.
    "Lease naming rights on our infrastructure," he says in my latest internet video. "The Triborough Bridge could be called the Staples Bridge, or the Apple Bridge."
    My staff asked some New Yorkers what they thought about leasing naming rights to bridges and tunnels. "Bad idea!" said one woman. "It's commercializing!" Most people were opposed.
    I said that to Sharpe.
    "You know what she should do?" he responded. "Start a nonprofit, raise $30 million, she can name it whatever she wants."
    One man said he didn't "want to rename something after some sort of corporation!"
    "Shake your fist and say, 'This doesn't sound good,'" replied Sharpe. "You're going to wind up in a place where the tax burden is insanely high."
    Under our current system, many bridges and other public structures advertise anyway -- but they promote politicians. Gov. Cuomo just named a bridge after his father.
    "An imperial bridge named after our royal family!" said Sharpe with a laugh. "I'm embarrassed."
    We libertarians don't think politicians deserve monuments just because they got elected.
    "Tell you what I'll do," said Sharpe. "(Governor Cuomo's) got $30 million a year? He can keep his name on that bridge and take care of the maintenance."
    Sharpe applies similar thinking to New York's decrepit subway system.
    "We have lines on the MTA right now not being used at night. Home Depot or Google or Amazon or whomever -- they can use these lines... move their freight... They'll pay. Win-win."
    Sharpe's campaign is attracting new people. His rallies draw bigger crowds than minor party candidates normally get.
    "If you're unhappy with the system, you've got to change it," he said on Joe Rogan's podcast.
    For a libertarian, Sharpe surprised me by saying he wouldn't dream of proposing cuts to existing welfare programs. "Pull the rug out from somebody, somebody's going to be afraid," he explains. If voters fear you, they don't vote for you.
    I assume he'd shrink those programs eventually, maybe after other parts of government were reduced and the economy improves as a result.
    He also sounds friendlier to labor unions than most libertarians. "Collective bargaining is fine. My issue with the unions has always been: Are you forcing me? ... I have a problem with (union shop laws). But you're voluntarily doing it? I don't have a problem at all."
    Listening to Sharpe is very different from hearing most Republicans and Democrats.
    "Because no one has any new ideas," he says. "No ideas how to fix anything or do anything right. ... I'm a third party. I have to have ideas or no one will listen to me."
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

    Democrats are hoping the coming election will give them a majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans and much of our nation dread that prospect. My question is: What would a House majority mean for the Democrats? Let's look at it.
    To control the House of Representatives, Democrats must win at least 218 seats, which many predict as being likely. To control the Senate, Democrats must win enough seats to get to 51, which many predict is unlikely. Let's say the Democrats do take the House. If they were to pass a measure that Republicans in both houses didn't like and President Donald Trump didn't like, either, he could use his veto pen. To override Trump's veto, Democrats would need to meet the U.S. Constitution's requirement that they muster a two-thirds vote in the House of Representatives (290 votes) and a two-thirds vote in the Senate (67 votes). Neither would be likely.
    It's quite a challenge to override a presidential veto. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the veto king, with 635 vetoes. Only nine of them were overridden. President Grover Cleveland vetoed 584 congressional measures and was overridden only seven times. If the House Democrats were to do all that they promise to do and if President Trump were to marshal the guts of Presidents Roosevelt and Cleveland -- both Democrats, I might add -- the next two years would be a sight to behold.
    But wait! Democrats are pushing for the elimination of the Electoral College and having presidents chosen by majority rule. Might they call for the same for all political decisions? That way, it would require only a simple majority vote, rather than two-thirds, to override a presidential veto.
    The Founding Fathers had utter contempt for majority rule. They saw it as a form of tyranny. In addition to requiring a supermajority to override a presidential veto, our Constitution has other anti-majority provisions. Proposing an amendment to the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in each house of Congress or two-thirds of state legislatures to vote for it. On top of that, it requires three-fourths of state legislatures for ratification of a constitutional amendment. Election of the president is done not by a majority popular vote, much to the disappointment of the left, but by the Electoral College.
    Having two houses of Congress places another obstacle to majority rule. Fifty-one senators can block the wishes of 435 representatives and 49 senators. As mentioned earlier, our Constitution gives the president veto power to thwart the wishes of a majority in each house of Congress. It takes two-thirds in each house of Congress to override the president's veto.
    The Founders recognized that we need government; however, they also recognized that the essence of government is force and that force is evil. To reduce the potential for evil, they thought government should be as small as possible. They intended for us to have a limited republican form of government wherein human rights precede government and there is rule of law. Ordinary citizens and government officials are accountable to the same laws. Government intervenes in civil society only to protect its citizens against force and fraud; it does not intervene in cases of peaceable, voluntary exchange. By contrast, in a democracy, the majority rules either directly or through its elected representatives. The law is whatever the government deems it to be. Rights may be granted or taken away.
    For those Americans who see majority rule as sacrosanct, ask yourselves how many of your life choices you would like settled by majority rule. Would you want the kind of car you own to be decided through a democratic process? What about decisions as to where you live, what clothes you purchase, what food you eat, what entertainment you enjoy and what wines you drink? I'm sure that if anyone suggested that these decisions should be subject to a democratic process wherein majority rules, we would deem the person tyrannical.
    James Madison wrote, "Democracies ... have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by Walter E. Williams

    Thirteen states -- Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia -- have enacted laws to combat what is seen as price gouging in the wake of natural disasters. Price gouging is legally defined as charging 10 to 25 percent more for something than you charged for it during the month before an emergency. Sellers convicted of price gouging face prison terms and fines.
    Price gouging in the wake of natural disasters is often seen as evil exploitation by sellers to rip off desperate customers. Let's hold off on that conclusion until after you give thought to some very important questions. First let's see what we can agree upon.
    When a natural disaster occurs or is anticipated, supply conditions change. There is going to be less of what people want and need. Under such conditions, what actions are consistent with the public good? My answer is that people should voluntarily use less of everything and waste nothing. That would include economizing on water, gasoline, food and anything else necessary for survival. How about an example?
    Take the case of a hurricane like Florence. Let's assume that evacuation 200 miles or so inland would guarantee safety for North Carolinians. Say the Jones family's car has three-quarters of a tank of gas, more than enough to drive to safety. The Smith family's car has less than a quarter-tank of gas, which is not enough to drive away from danger. We can multiply this scenario by tens of thousands of families in the Joneses' condition and thousands of families in the Smiths' predicament.
    Here's my question: Who should forgo purchasing gas in the storm-threatened area? My answer would be all those people who have enough gas to drive to safety -- people such as the Joneses. By not purchasing gas, they'd make more gas available for those who really need the gas in order to drive to safety, such as the Smiths. We might also ask how considerate and caring it would be to their fellow North Carolinians who desperately need gas for people who have enough to evacuate to purchase gas just to top off their tanks.
    If people such as the Joneses won't consider the needs of their fellow man voluntarily, the North Carolina attorney general could station government officials at each gasoline station to determine who should be permitted to purchase gas. You say, "Williams, it would be sheer lunacy for scarce state resources to be used that way, especially in the face of a natural disaster!" I think you're right.
    Another method would be for the governor, mayors and church and community leaders to admonish North Carolinians to purchase gasoline only if they really need it. That way, plenty of gas would be available for those with nearly empty tanks. You might say, "Come on, Williams. Aren't you being a bit naive thinking that would work?" You're probably right again.
    What I think would make gas available to those who really need it are rising prices. Suppose the pre-hurricane price of gas was $2.60 a gallon. As the hurricane approaches, dealers could let the price rise to $4 a gallon. That would give families who have enough gas to evacuate incentive to voluntarily forgo purchasing gasoline. Their voluntary decision would make more gas available for people who desperately need it. By the way, gas available at $4 a gallon seems more preferable than gas stations shut down because they have sold out of gas at $2.60 a gallon.
    You might reluctantly agree that allowing prices to rise during a natural disaster helps allocate resources, but that's not the intention of sellers who raise prices. They are in it for windfall profit. I say: So what? It's what their actions accomplish that's important -- namely, getting people to conserve during a natural disaster. Also, higher prices create incentives for suppliers of all kinds of goods -- such as plywood, bottled water, generators and repair services -- to pitch in to help to restore people's lives.
    Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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by John Stossel

    Will you be able to retire? Maybe not.
    Will your state pay what its politicians promised? Almost certainly not.
    Politicians in Connecticut, New Jersey and Illinois are especially irresponsible when it comes to not funding pension plans, but most every municipality has promised more than it will have.
    "The money hasn't been set aside for years and years," says City Journal editor Daniel DiSalvo in my new internet video. "Nobody was paying attention."
    His colleague Steve Malanga complains that the media rarely report on the coming crisis.
    "To a certain extent, I have sympathy with the media, because the media's looking for what happens next," says Malanga. "This is not something that's going to happen next week."
    But the collapse is coming. Current retirees may find their pension check is cut by 10 percent or 50 percent.
    "We just don't have enough money, and the amount of money that we have to put into this is just mountainous," says Malanga.
    Neither party wants to make the tough choices involved. "Both Democrats and Republicans have incentives to short the pension fund," says DiSalvo. "For Democrats, if we can not put as much in, we can free up more money for greater public spending on public programs that we think are good. If we're Republicans, we probably want to cut taxes."
    "Ten years from now, they're gonna have a problem," says Malanga. "But 10 years from now somebody else is in office!"
    Some pension plans are promises that should never have been made, but few politicians will say that. At most, they talk about making small changes to "keep our promises."
    Small changes won't be enough.
    Detroit and several California cities already ran out of money and declared bankruptcy.
    "At some point, your debts are so great that you can't afford to provide basic services to people," says Malanga.
    "Police force, fire protection -- all will be on the chopping block," added DiSalvo.
    Instead of making cuts now to avoid crisis later, some politicians increase retirement benefits.
    New Jersey passed 13 separate benefit enhancements between 1999 and 2003.
    I assume politicians make these unsustainable promises because powerful municipal unions demand them.
    "Public employee unions regularly lobby and seek to elect politicians who offer them better compensation packages. They've been intimately involved in the whole system from the beginning," says DiSalvo.
    But Steven Kreisberg of AFSCME, the biggest government workers' union, tells me that unions didn't create this problem.
    "There's plenty of money to pay our people."
    What about the $5 trillion in unfunded liabilities?
    That's "a figure that's used by some anti-pension zealots," replied Kreisberg. "It's fake news."
    But it's the number (actually, now $6 trillion) you get if you use accounting standards that the federal government demands from private pension plans.
    Unions fight to keep every penny that politicians promised. But Detroit's bankruptcy changed the rules on that.
    "The federal bankruptcy judge created a precedent that said pensions could actually be cut," says DiSalvo. "That was a shock to the unions. (It) called into question these strong legal protections that public pensions have so long enjoyed. They can't just sit back and say, well, we're going to get paid no matter what."
    Some politicians hoped that a rising stock market would fund their promises. Many assumed their investments would grow by more than 7 percent per year. Do you make that much on your savings? I don't. Seven percent seems like wishful thinking.
    Malanga says it was "more than wishful thinking. It borders on criminality, frankly. If after nine years of a bull market we haven't begun to fix this, when are we gonna fix it?"
    Malanga and DiSalvo argue that the only honest way to fix it is to reduce benefit levels and switch to individual retirement accounts like private sector 401(k)s.
    That way, instead of a promise backed by nothing more than political hot air, there's an actual account with money in it, and people can track how well their retirement investments do.
    The politicians and union bosses, by contrast, would like to ignore the problem -- until one day, no matter what promises they've made, they simply won't be able to keep them.
    John Stossel is author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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