​Industriousness: The tax we impose on ourselves by our idleness …

By Jeffrey Reeves MA


Editor's note: Jeffrey Reeves' introduction to "The Way to Wealth" provides an overview of this weekly blog series.

“…but idleness taxes many of us much more; sloth, by bringing on diseases, absolutely shortens life. ‘Sloth, like rust, consumes faster than labor wears; while the used key is always bright,’ as Poor Richard says.”
- Benjamin Franklin in the Persona of Father Abraham

One thing hasn’t changed. No matter how much of your money the government takes, you are still responsible for your health and your own financial success or failure. That means you have to rely on your own work to produce enough income to care for yourself and your family, if you have one.

Benjamin Franklin seems to refer to manual labor when he talks about sloth bringing on disease, rust consuming faster than wear and tear, and saying the “used key is always bright.’” Many Americans don’t do manual labor. Finding a way to keep your key always bright is intrinsically your job, too.

A corollary to what Father Abraham teaches is that relying on government for health care or financial support is not a good idea. Thomas Jefferson and many others since have noted that the more a government gives you personally the more it can take away.

Where would you like to vest control of your money, your success and your health?