NOTE: I found this experiment in some research that I was doing for another article but it sure resonated with me. I don’t know who is responsible for it so it goes to ‘Unknown.’ I will put his/her words into bold italics and my words will remain in regular font.
The image above is not as far away as you would think. We are now using the services of food banks at a higher rate than ever before. We fund ‘breakfast programs’ at some area schools now so kids can have a decent start to the day instead of a diet that is full of sugar and meaningless calories. Junk food has become a staple and not a treat. My hope is that we, as a society, will recognize the importance of continuing to put our efforts and energy toward creating a system that is more fair and equitable. Right now it is no secret that those who are well off are gathering more of the wealth that is generated and those who are not–are not. The middle class is definitely losing ground. The next 5 questions or points are among the most important for us to consider as many of us struggle each day with how the quality of our lives is being affected by an inequitable distribution of wealth.
These are possibly the 5 best sentences you’ll ever read and all applicable to this experiment:
1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!
5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.
An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before, but had recently failed an entire class. That class had insisted that socialism worked well since no one would be poor and no one would be rich, thus providing a great equalizer.
The professor then said, “OK, we will have an experiment in this class on the Socialist plan”…. All grades will be averaged and everyone will receive the same grade so no one will fail and no one will receive an A…. (substituting grades for dollars – something closer to home and more readily understood by all).
After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they likewise studied little.
The second test average was a D! No one was happy.
When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F.
As the tests proceeded, the scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one was motivated to study for the benefit of anyone else.
To their great surprise, ALL FAILED and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because “when the reward (and risk) is great, the effort to succeed is great, but when government takes all the reward away, no one will work really hard to succeed.”–Unknown.
In a democracy such as ours the notion that we are all in this together is slipping away. As a system we need to re-evaluate how we are distributing our wealth so that the entrepreneurs, innovators and risk takers are still rewarded for what they do well. But the middle class needs to be rewarded for their hard work and dedication to their jobs so that they can provide a better life for their families. The folks who are struggling need to be rewarded and not penalized for choosing work over the underground economy and that is tough to do when they get hammered for earning some money ‘on the side’. Instead of having money taken off their benefits because they ‘earned too much’ they need to be rewarded for getting out there and trying to improve the quality of their lives and that of their families. Those who have little to lose are most motivated to work outside the system thereby hurting us all. They should be allowed to generate an income along with assistance to a point where they are now living a life that is above the poverty line. They need to be assured that if they are willing to work at part time jobs or menial jobs that many of the benefits that the ‘middle class’ recognizes would be available to them as well. Will they do the work available to them? That’s their choice. In the end I think they will be more motivated to go to work because they believe they can have more of what the ‘other guy has’. No father or parent is OK with seeing their kids not have what others kids have. It goes to the very heart of being a man and therefore a provider.
We need to get past the idea that folks on welfare somehow deserve to be where they are. They are not lazy but they are hopeless.
Anyways, that’s how I see it–JIm
Comments are welcomed so are ideas and solutions. Send yours along if you like to: firstname.lastname@example.org OR jimcloughley.com and please pass this along to your friends.