Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sam & TP

I have a friend that is a well meaning guy with an abominable record of handling money. He has this knack for blaming others for his problems with money, lamenting that he never has enough. Recently, he tried to rectify this problem with his boss, the owner of the company for which he works.

To protect his identity, we’ll call him “Sam”.

Sam went to his employer the other day and laid his cards on the table. With puppy dog eyes, a few tears, Sam made his case to his boss, who goes by the name “TP”.

“TP,” he said with a quiver in his voice, “its time for you to start being fair with me. I can’t pay my bills and its time you gave me more.”

“So,” TP replied. “You can’t make ends meet? But you have a high school education and I give you a generous salary of $100K/year. You should be able to make ends meet just fine. Truthfully, the way the market is now, I don’t have any way to justify a pay increase.”

Naturally, this was not the answer that Sam wanted.

“You just bought a brand new car,” Sam cried. “How can you say to me that you can’t afford a pay increase? You have the money! With all due respect, TP, you’re being selfish.”

“Look, Sam,” came the answer, “I went into business to support my family. I put in 80 hours a week and have developed a peptic ulcer trying to run a successful business. My name is on all the bank loans, if this business fails my ass starts circling the drain. I didn’t go into business to hand money for you. I went into business to turn a profit for myself. In my efforts to do so, you benefit with revenue because of your association with me. And, as I said, you’re getting a LOT of money from me – maybe an excessive amount already. I can’t afford any more.”

Sam stated to come unhinged.

“I can’t believe how selfish you are, TP,” he persisted. Sam pulled out a photo of his son and continued his rant. “I am $150,000 in debt, all my credit cards are maxed out, I promised Sammy Jr. that I’d buy him that new Mercedes coupe that he’s been wanting for years… look at those eyes on that boy, can you look into those eyes and say ‘no’ to little Sammy Jr?”

TP was starting to get equally frustrated.

“I don’t want anything bad to happen to little Sammy. But the Mercedes Coupe? Is that necessary?”

“Yes,” Sam replied. “Are you going to be heartless enough to force him to do with less?”

“Look,” TP shot back, “if you want to lavish Sammy with all these things, then why not re-do your budget? Why not get Sammy to be content with something less than the Mercedes Coupe? Those trips you and your wife take every weekend to Vegas, spending a thousand dollars or more each trip; how about cutting back on those? I hear you are spending money every year on re furnishing your living room. Is that true? If so, stop that, get at least five or six years out of that couch before spending your already generous salary on new stuff all the time. Those parties you host twice a month, all the food and booze you guys spend on those – how about having one a year instead of twice a month? I’m going to be frank with you, Sam, you’re already generously paid, more so than many would think you deserve. You are not underfunded, Sam. You over extend yourself because you are not responsible with the very sizable amount of money you already receive from me.”

Sam continued, unwavering. He wasn’t buying it, and the argument still continues to this day. Sam is convinced that he is entitled to more of TP’s money, and that Sam’s debt and little Sammy’s driving a used Ford Explorer is suffering that results from TP’s lack of benevolence.

TP, rightfully, thinks that the money from the business is his. Sam’s money troubles are not because he doesn’t get enough from TP, but because he pisses away what generous amount he already gets.

Sam is Uncle Sam, the Federal Government.

TP is the Tax Payer, you and many others like you.

You get the point.