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:
I generally agree with the point being made. Some years ago there was a down-and-out chap who frequented our neighbourhood looking for odd jobs. He’d want $20 to mow my lawn which I happily gave him or would volunteer to do odd jobs. However, I think some homeless suffer from mental illness. They are not sick enough to be in an institution but are not healthy enough to hold down a job. I don’t think we can expect too much from them. All we can do is be compassionate.
Good point, Pamela. The occurrence of mental illness among the homeless is proportionately higher than in the general population. Situations can often be more complicated than how it appears on the surface. 🙂
You should flip your post into Flipboard. You will get a a whole lot of good comments on this one from the inclusive liberals that are supposed to be the party of reason and taking the high road on topics…
Great post, your brave.
Thanks Paul. I don’t know how to use Flipboard yet lol. I have another divisive topic I want to write about which argues that the minimum wage should be abolished. There’s a good chance I’ll lose some readers if I post that one haha.
I agree that we do need to employ the people who need good jobs and fair wages directly to alleviate some of the poverty issues. Mixed up in that are the complications of figuring out biases in hiring (the idea that it’s easier to get a job when you HAVE a job is borne out by evidence that hiring managers want to keep on hiring people with jobs, not without!), making opportunities more widely available (how many times is it who you know or what you know, and not what you can do?), and the problem of the best jobs clustering geographically. It’d be awesome for the workforce AND for the employers to widen that net because you can get better talent and a wider range of talent. There is definitely a slice of the population where, as Pamela mentions, and my family has a few examples I’ve lived with and personally tried to work with for most of my life, mental illness is a huge problem. No matter how hands-on we are, we can’t get adequate care for the mentally ill between their inability to understand that they are sick and so they need care, and the lack of… Read more »
Yes it would. 🙂 I don’t have a good solution all these problems but I think the government is a good place to start. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.
I find it interesting that all the Canadian PF bloggers I read are a lot more right-leaning than the US PF bloggers I frequent. Maybe it’s just y’all already have a better social safety net than we do, so Democratic policies seem less appealing? In the US, the vast majority of people who get significant government assistance are either seniors, disabled, veterans, the temporarily unemployed, or have children. Doesn’t seem like a bunch of freeloaders to me. And even then it is H-A-R-D to continue qualifying for government assistance, and it is meted out in meager, barely-keeping-it-together portions. The way you talk about government aid, it makes it sound like your social programs are rife with waste and abuse. I’d urge you to take a look at actual data of government social program spending and see if that is actually the case. Your perspective may change. Like Revanche mentioned, there are many reasons someone “down and out” can’t work. Disablement and profiling is part of it, but there’re also single parents balancing taking a job with the question of “who can take care of my child!?”, those without the skills/bargaining power in the employment marketplace, those whose skills/bargaining power has… Read more »
I have noticed that as well. Maybe the social safety net is so good in Canada many PF bloggers here just ignore the harsh possibility that we can lose our jobs or become disabled because it hasn’t been a part of the political conversation up here. I haven’t heard of any senior groups advocating for more social security benefits or anything like that, probably because it’s already pretty generous? I don’t know to be honest. lol.