By Mike Cronin
Have you ever noticed that the people who complain the loudest about wealth inequality, or global warming, or racism, or (insert social malady here) always only ever have one solution? To take something away from you. They say you’ve won life’s lottery, so they need you to “give back.” By that, they mean they are going to take your money through taxes. They are usually also trying to take away some of your comfort by banning or restricting something: low-flow shower nozzles, incandescent light bulbs, plastic shopping bags, etc.
They never seem to admit to even the possibility that the single greatest contributing factor to one’s “station” isn’t “luck,” it’s the life choices one makes. They never seem to admit to the possibility that one can improve one’s standard of living over time.
Superstitious people often cite “seven” as a lucky number. Well, I have a seven-ingredient formula to have a “lucky” life. It doesn’t require anything from anybody to accomplish, only that you are made aware of its existence. The formula is simple to understand, but hard to follow. It’s almost never taught in school:
- As early as possible, adopt the attitude that you are responsible for everything you do or fail to do, because once you turn eighteen, that is the way the law sees it, and that’s the way your employer sees it. The people who will allow you to not see things that way, i.e. the people who would encourage you to always play the victim and blame others, are merely trying to get you hooked on a cycle of dependency: your vote for their “assistance” against your purported “victimizers.” It’s a recipe for a life of perpetual resentment.
- Graduate from high school. A diploma is better than a GED, which is better than “dropped out.”
- Don’t become a single parent. If you cannot or will not abstain, then Males: wrap that rascal. Ladies: pick a birth control method, AND make him wrap his rascal.
- “Live on less than you make.” (h/t to Dave Ramsey.) You don’t need to live like you are rich. Fun fact: many, many rich people became rich by not living like they were rich! You don’t need designer clothes, blinged-out or brand-new cars, the latest model cell phone, flat screen, and Blue-Ray, etc. The people who matter don’t give a crap whether you have those things.
- Corollary 1: If you think you can afford something because you can “afford” the monthly loan or credit card payments – you can’t afford the thing! (One exception usually applies: a home mortgage). If you are making interest payments on car loans, credit cards, etc., you couldn’t afford those things.
- Improve yourself. Never stop learning. Increase your opportunities to advance by increasing your value to the market place – continuously improve your knowledge, skills, and abilities, and/or continuously add new ones to your repertoire. Note that going $100,000 into debt to pay for a degree from a big-name university is not required. Heck, a college degree is not required (though it is highly advisable!). There are ways to get a degree on a budget and stay out of debt. Bottom line: the more you follow item 5, the higher your income will go, and the easier it becomes to follow item 4.
- Invest in yourself. “Spend” money on an emergency fund, a retirement plan, and health insurance. Save up to pay cash for big-ticket items. Again: The more you follow items 4 & 5, the easier following item 6 will be.
- Don’t become an addict or a criminal. Just don’t.
Not one of the things on the list requires that one have “white privilege,” or that you start out in the 1%, or that you belong (or not belong) to a certain race, or gender, or religion, or that you grow up in a given neighborhood. None of them require a college degree (although that is often helpful!), professional-caliber athletic ability, cover-model good looks, or keen intellect. Most of them do require understanding the concept of delayed gratification: if you practice some discipline now, the reward will be greater later on!
Following the formula is not a guarantee you will have a successful life, nor are you guaranteed to have a crummy life if you don’t follow it…but I estimate that 80% of the people who follow this formula will be better off than 80% or more of the people who don’t.
Some of the things on the list are hard. I know I only avoided violating number 3 by random chance. Complying with number 4 was touch-and-go for nearly a decade after high school. But all of the things on the list can be done, and they don’t require anything from anyone besides you (see item number 1).
You might make the mistake of thinking this denigrates the military… you’d be wrong.”
“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”
If healthcare and education are “important to the defense of the nation,” then why on earth would you want the US government involved? The purpose of the US government, as codified in the founding documents, is to protect our rights. That implies the use of force, if necessary, a la the military or the police and the courts…and not a whole lot else.
The thing that distinguishes government from other entities is its authority (derived from us) to use force to do its proper job…but since force is its only real tool, applying that tool to problems that don’t involve violating our rights is…dysfunctional at best, usually absurd, and frequently wasteful and/or harmful, and occasionally result in the direct violation of the very rights that are supposed to be protected!
Here’s an interesting thought experiment to help make my point. Try replacing the words “by the government” with the words “by force” in the following sentences:
Healthcare should be run by the government
Education should be run by the government
Social Security should be run by the government
Fiscal and monetary policy should be run by the government
National Parks should be run by the government
Radio and television broadcast frequencies should be controlled by the government
The internet should be controlled by the government
See what I mean?
“This is just meaningless rhetoric…
“If healthcare and education are “important to the defense of the nation,” then why on earth would you want the US government involved? “
The answer is that its important… I wouldn’t want 50 states fielding military because it doesn’t work as well as having a national military… the main complaint is that some local people want to teach crap to their kids. That can be extreme enough that it is child abuse.
Your answer reveals more about your personal outlook on the world than reality.
Here’s my challenge to you. Take that same list and substitute
“a private company whose mission is to make as much profit as possible with no obligation to the health of society”
Thats either the current reality, the reality being legislated in Congress or a reality that is on the verge.
Thanks for the softball.”
My answer should not have been any great revelation. I am pro free-market capitalism and individual rights. That “bias” informs my answers to many questions on Quora. On the other hand, your reply reveals a few factual errors and/or reasoning flaws.
The 50 states do have militaries: The (fill in the state) National Guard.
A private company cannot “make as much profit as possible” unless it delivers a product or service its customers want to buy. Only government has the power to force you to buy something you don’t want at price that doesn’t generate profit, then tax you to make up the difference, fail at that, then devalue your currency, still fail to make a profit, then borrow money against future revenue, then still not make ends meet. That’s why we have a 20 trillion dollar national debt.
Beside using force, what is the US government good at? I contend it is worse at anything and everything it tries that could be done by private enterprise, because government eliminates competition and profit motive. The very thing you are decrying is the thing that has driven the ever increasing standard of living for the past ~200 years.
“I don’t know why you all think “we’re” not free market people. We are. We don’t pretend that markets remain free if they don’t have rules. If you don’t think that••• then you’re not free market you’re for anarcho capitalism.
Ya, I don’t like anarchy. I don’t like social darwinism and the Russian woman…
You’all also think we’re not experienced business people. I am. You think I don’t understand how finances work. Here’s how it works. The more customers I have the more I sell. I’ve never added a single piece of equipment or bought anything with tax break. Or whatever.
You wanna do me a favor… get me out from under this crazy idea that business should supply insurance. Thats crazy- who the hell thought that up. Lets save some money, help business and make America healthier. Lets have a single payer system.
And I know all about the military. Of course I meant if we had no national military and had 50 state militaries our national security would suffer. I would even go so far as to say… completely ineffective.
So now that we’ve laid to rest the idea that we’re… I… am against private enterprise and the profit motive… why don’t you call Washington and tell them to quit watching Fox and reading Breitbart because its all fiction.”
First up: You stated you “know all about the military.” Have you served?
Second, you might not be against private enterprise or profit, but you have a very different idea about what a free market is. A “free market” where government controls entire industries isn’t free at all. At best, it’s a mixed economy where cronyism takes root; at worst it’s fascism a la Nazi Germany. I am not for anarcho-capitalism OR fascism. Anarchy would never last; it would be supplanted by a dictatorship run by the most powerful bully in short order. But capitalism is another matter.
I am for an economy where the government protects our rights via enforcing laws against force and/or fraud, but keeps its mitts off otherwise. That is capitalism without the anarchy.
I am against “single payer” healthcare because “single payer” is code for “government,” and government just isn’t the right tool to provide goods and services, nor does the Constitution delegate it any authority to do so, save for one case: the post office. The term “single payer” is also disingenuous, because it’s really paid for by us taxpayers. Private enterprise and non-profits can and do provide goods and services much more effectively than government – when the government butts out.
Of course, our government couldn’t butt out of healthcare. In fact, it’s the reason the industry is what it is today. Health insurance has been around a long time in some form or fashion, and “mutual aid societies” existed even before that, but businesses “thought it up” and began offering it in earnest during WWII as a means to attract employees. Why? Because, in a perfect example of violating the very rights it’s supposed to protect, the government froze wages during the war! With a good chunk of the workforce drafted into the military (another rights violation!), companies had to find creative ways to offer competitive compensation. Health insurance was often the answer. It was a popular perk – so popular that it became a routine offering after the war, then expected, and now demanded as a “right.”
To summarize: Government interference into the not-so-free market induced the evolution of the healthcare industry into the monstrosity we know and hate today – and you are advocating for exponentially more government to “solve” it, asserting against all evidence that it will save us all money and make us healthier, while purporting to be pro-free market. That is bad medicine.
“I know the patter. Its unconvincing.”
So what do you think? Did I win, or Mr. Jones?