Our culture changed. Our politicians set a trap and ensnared a new generation into poverty. It isn’t slavery, but it might as well be. We created a character trap. Let me show you the path into the trap.
Reach back to the 1940s, and you could find rich and poor of good character. A poor man might feed his family from a small plot and work several part time jobs to meet his family’s needs. Poverty and employment were not a matter of race. Blacks had a lower rate of unemployment than whites during the height of the great depression. That isn’t true today.
America remains a land of opportunity, even with our Obama created economic down turn. We see poor people become neurosurgeons, and rich play-girls get the frequent visitor discount at rehab centers. Today you can find a job if you’re willing to live in a travel trailer and chase the oil boom in North Dakota or Texas. Many can’t, but some won’t. We have a record number of people who are not working.
At least two things changed. Opportunity changed as did our character. Nothing will deliver you to poverty faster than poor character. In fact, let me make you a bet. Today, more than ever, you can amass enough wealth to retire by following a few simple rules:
Graduate from high school.
Hold a job, and get another one if you lose this one.
Get married before you have children.
Avoid addiction and incarceration.
As simple as it sounds, those rules eliminate the vast majority of poverty. I will admit they are not as easy or as simple to practice as they sound at first. You might have to take a few steps back down the career ladder each time the economy tanks and your job disappears. You might have to move to find work. Staying on welfare will doom you.
With all our social aid, why are so many of us permanently poor? We offered comfort to the poor. They took free things rather than freedom and free enterprise. You can’t find a job if you’re busy amusing yourself with candy crush and following a celebrity’s Twitter account. You can’t learn your whole life long if you distract yourself with the latest shiny amusement. I don’t care how clever your latest Tweet was if it has been years since you read your last book. Yes, you. If you don’t have the time to read then you can listen to podcasts.
This has real costs as people dumb themselves down. Here is a recent intelligence test that shows the depth of our modern stupidity:
Some people believe the IRS lost the e-mails of a handful of senior managers, but only the particular e-mails requested by Congress. The IRS didn’t lose earlier e-mails or later ones. They didn’t loose all their e-mail, but only the ones incriminating senior Obama Administration political appointees.
At least 12 percent of American adults believe that.
Not convinced of the self-imposed stupidity yet? Here is another dose of dumb:
You can keep your doctor if you like your doctor, and we can find a magic genie to pay for all the healthcare you want. True, we don’t have enough money to pay for medicine, doctors and hospitals, but by magic we can pay for medicine, doctors, hospitals.. and government bureaucrats.
Now that is common core math at its finest, and a full 51 percent of registered voters believed it. (Hat tip to Thomas Sowell.)
Do you believe me now about self-inflicted stupidity? The only way you could believe those lies is if you have a weak character and have deliberately dulled your mind.
We hardly have the excuse of poor education to fall back on. We swim in a sea of information today. Ignorance is now a choice, not an unavoidable condition.
Get rid of the TV if you want to wise up. Unless you had a traumatic brain injury, you can easily read from several sources to form your own opinion about the issues of the day. You can learn almost anything online for free if you want to know more than current events. But every minute watching TV, or porn, or playing video games is lost forever.
Excuses reign supreme. We are all supremely susceptible to the lies we tell ourselves. That is true for the rich and poor alike. The difference is that the poor find it harder to pay the price of their lies. We also sell the lies to the poor better than we ever have.