A Florida teacher was terminated (allegedly) because she refused to follow a mandatory school policy that required her to give half-credit to students who did not submit their assignments.
Apparently, the school handbook included a “no-zero” policy that prohibited teachers from giving any student a grade lower than a 50 percent. When Diane Tirado gave several students zeros because they didn’t submit their work, she was fired. While the school did not provide an official reason for Tirado’s termination, she believes that it was due to her failure to follow the “no-zero” policy. The school obviously denied this. Putting aside the legalities of Tirado’s termination, the specific school policy at issue here should raise eyebrows because of what it seems to represent on a larger scale, which is the fact that socialism disincentivizes and hurts people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.
Specifically, while Tirado expected students to earn their grades, the policy at issue here seems to reward students with partial credit for doing absolutely nothing.
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According to an article in Fatherly, Tirado said, “I’m so upset because we have a nation of kids that are expecting to get paid and live their life just for showing up and it’s not real.” Tirado raises a legitimate concern. It is not fair, nor it is just, to reward people who don’t work hard and who merely seek free handouts.
In doing so, we disincentivize those who sincerely put in the effort and work had to excel and succeed. By way of example, waiters oftentimes make most of their money on tips. However, some restaurants have a policy where tips are “pooled,” meaning that everyone gets their “fair share,” no matter how hard someone works or how much they “contributed” to the entire pool. Therefore, if Jon worked very hard and contributed $100 to the pool and Bill slacked off and contributed $25 to the pool, Bill would still benefit from Jon’s hard work. What incentive, then, would Jon have to work hard?
When one works, one expects remuneration that is equal to their effort and skill level. That’s what capitalism does; it incentivizes people to work harder because they know their efforts will be rewarded monetarily or otherwise.
Socialism, on the other hand, disincentivizes people because their work isn’t valued individually; it’s valued as a collective. When someone knows that the value of their individual work will be lumped together with every other employee, rather than evaluated separately, they tend to work less and produce less. They work less because they know that at the end of the day, everyone will get the same paycheck regardless of the value they add to the company.
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Tirado’s case and the case involving Jon and Bill are but two simple examples of how socialism disincentivizes people from working hard and/or rewards people for doing very little (or nothing at all). With socialism, people generally do not work as hard to succeed because they do not personally prosper/benefit from their hard work. In Tirado’s case, she was penalized (allegedly) for refusing to give “free credit” to those students who did not submit any work and for trying to do her job well. In Jon’s case, he was penalized simply because he worked hard and made more money than Bill.
A final example is instructive. Suppose Jim and Mary are married and they have one child together. Both parents work very hard and the family lives a modest lifestyle. One day, Mary gets very ill and eventually becomes disabled. Given that Mary can no longer work, Jim has to take care of his wife and their one child.
However, suppose Jim decides that he does not want to take care of them and that it is better if the government did so? In theory, that sounds great! However, the problem with Jim’s approach is that other people might not want to work as hard to care for Mary than they would to care for their own family. If Jim knows that others will take care of him and his family, why would he want to work? He could simply sit back and enjoy the fruit of everyone’s labor. However, if everyone begins to think like Jim, nobody is going to work and/or strive to succeed. The problems with this approach become self-evident.
Socialism does not work. Our country revolves around individualism and hard-work (among other things), not policies that serve to disincentivize people by penalizing them for doing their job well and/or achieving financial success. Tirado’s case, Jon’s case and Jim’s case, while fairly simple, further depict the risks, blatant unfairness and inequity associated with a socialistic system. Such a system must be rejected in its entirety!
Elad Hakim is a writer, commentator, and attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker and other online publications.
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