A 50 Dollar Lesson in Personal Responsibility
I’d like to share this joke I found on tumblr.
I recently asked my friend’s little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents are liberal Democrats who support Bernie Sanders. They were standing there beside her.
So then I asked the little girl, ‘If you were President, what would be the first thing you would do?’
She replied, ‘I’d give food and houses to all the homeless people.’
Her parents beamed with pride.
‘Wow…what a worthy goal.’ I told her. ‘But you don’t have to wait until you’re President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I’ll pay you $50. Then I’ll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.’
She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, ‘Why doesn’t the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50 directly?’
I said, ‘Welcome to the Republican Party.’ 😛
Her parents still aren’t speaking to me.
The point of this allegory is clear; There’s an untapped market of homeless people who could be doing yard work & making $$$ 🙂
It also addresses the hapless reality of economic inequality even in developed countries. If we want the poor to succeed we need to give them the opportunity to pursue their own dreams instead of enabling them to continue living in poverty. Government run redistribution programs are part of the problem. Giving money to the homeless without any strings attached robs them of their dignity, economic potential, and the chance to develop the internal motivation to succeed. Besides, the government doesn’t have money in the first place so when it gives money to the poor it has to take that money from somewhere else.
Some children think that their parents are all no-ing. Even so, we understand it’s wrong and destructive for parents to do their children’s homework. It undermines their children’s intelligence, sets them up for failure in life, and is not fair to other students. We also understand it’s wrong to feed fauna at the local park.
It’s hard to say no to a begging squirrel, but we resist the urge to feed it because we don’t want it to be dependent on our generosity. We don’t want to rob these hungry creatures of their ability to be self reliant. So I think we should help the homeless through education rather than simply giving them free money with no obligations.
The ultimate freedom in life comes from being able to internalize personal goals that give us meaning and purpose. 😀
If we are kind enough to offer these gifts of self-discovery, personal accomplishment, and self worth to children and animals, then I think we ought to extend this same offer to financially unfortunate people as well. 🙂
Random Useless Fact: