Actually the government/IRS doesn't say that ones life is worth nothing; they say that an individual's life/time is worth $6400/year -this is the total amount one can make while not having to pay taxes.
The taxes a person pays is due to the fact that the government/IRS decided that nobody is worth more than $6400/year, and also that the government will decide what an individual's time is worth. Technically it is not an individual's time which is valued at $6400/year, because whether a person earned that $6400 in one second, one day, or 365 days is of no importance.
Plus, there is a distinction between the business and the individual. Your example of $20-$20=$0 is from the business's perspective. The individual will have to claim what they earned working for their own business, and once that amount is greater than $6400/year, the individual must pay taxes.
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