I want to start with a question — do you know the difference between an opportunity economy and a dependency economy? The former promotes policies that encourage investment, innovation, and ingenuity to build a thriving atmosphere where citizens can be productive. That’s the reason why some 1000 people per day are moving to Texas, and I’m watching more growth and business development.
However, the proponents of the dependency economy chastise the indomitable entrepreneurial American spirit and say things like, “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” That simple statement from 2012 in Roanoke, Virginia tells us all we need to know about the difference between liberty and tyranny — opportunity economy and the dependency economy. It’s a difference in a philosophy promoting government largesse as a means of subsistence and existence — not productivity but rather passivity and the destruction of the will and desire to achieve.
So this very well written and interesting article written for Forbes.com anecdotally explains this ideological confrontation. As written by Steven Moore, “The great conundrum of the U.S. economy today is that we have record numbers of working age people out of the labor force at the same time we have businesses desperately trying to find workers. As an example, the American Transportation Research Institute estimates there are 30,000 to 35,000 trucker jobs that could be filled tomorrow if workers would take these jobs–a shortage that could rise to 240,000 by 2022.”
“While the jobs market overall remains weak, demand is high for in certain sectors. For skilled and reliable mechanics, welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, computer technicians, and nurses, jobs are plentiful; one can often find a job in 48 hours. As Bob Funk, the president of Express Services, which matches almost one-half million temporary workers with employers each year, “If you have a useful skill, we can find you a job. But too many are graduating from high school and college without any skills at all.”
Moore says, “The lesson, to play off of the famous Waylon Jennings song: Momma don’t let your babies grow up to be philosophy majors.”I believe there’s a very purposeful reason why the liberal progressive left wants our children on college and university campuses — not for education but for indoctrination. They become captives to their laboratories of Marxist/socialist dogma and therefore proliferate the next generation of anti-America doctrinal belief — shall I say UC-Irvine? Every kid doesn’t need to go onto college but every kid does need a marketable skill in order to be a productive member of society. For all the bleating about middle income Americans, the elitists of the left care little for them – remember the abject disrespect from Vermont Governor Vermont Howard Dean towards current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker all because he doesn’t have a college degree. And don’t forget how the left tried to make that an issue — how telling.
Does the liberal progressive left want a thriving productive opportunity economy that empowers the individual to dare great things and build even greater achievements? Or is it more preferable to enslave the desire to create — which I find ironic because liberal progressives deem themselves so “artsy” — based on some perverted definition of “social good.”
I always like to make a comparative analysis of the “pursuit of happiness” as opposed to the government “guarantee of happiness.” And don’t give me the false narrative about raising the minimum wage by way of federal executive order fiat — a minimum wage job is not meant to be a career pursuit.
As Moore writes, “The idea that blue collar jobs aren’t a pathway to the middle class and higher is antiquated and wrong. Factory work today is often highly sophisticated and knowledge-based with workers using intricate scientific equipment. After several years honing their skills, welders, mechanics, carpenters, and technicians can, earn upwards of $50,000 a year–which in most years still places a household with two such income earners in the top 25 percent for income. It’s true these aren’t glitzy or cushy jobs, but they do pay a good salary.”
The issue is that we’re getting to a point where it’s easier for some to sit around waiting for the largesse of government and the pittance offered by politicians rather than realize that as my mom taught me, “self-esteem only comes from doing esteemable things” — and that means a hard day’s work.
I’m no intellectual economist like Steve Moore, but he and I are squarely in agreement on these 5 things we need to change:
1. Government discourages work. Welfare consists of dozens of different and overlapping federal and state income support programs. The spike in families on food stamps, SSI, disability, public housing, and early Social Security remains very high even 5 years into this recovery.
2. Our public school systems often fail to teach kids basic skills. Whatever happened to shop classes? We have schools that now concentrate more on ethnic studies and tolerance training than teaching kids how to use a lathe or a graphic design tool. Charter schools can help remedy this.
3. Negative attitudes toward “blue collar” work. I’ve talked to parents who say they are disappointed if their kids want to become a craftsman–instead of going to college.
4. A cultural bias against young adults working. The labor force participation rate is falling fastest among workers under 30. Anytime a state tries to change laws to make it easier for teenagers to earn money, the left throws a tantrum about repealing child labor laws.
(As a kid growing up in Atlanta, I was thrilled to have my $3.25 minimum wage job, which taught me discipline and fiscal responsibility — now government is advancing the idea of adults having minimum wage jobs as careers).
5. Higher education has become an excuse to delay entry into the workforce. I always cringe when I talk to 22-year-olds who will graduate from college and who tell me their next step is to go to graduate school.
Now in full disclosure my wife Angela has an MBA and a PhD and I have two Masters degrees — but both were earned while we were working. And our oldest daughter Aubrey is graduating college in May with a BS Degree in Pre-Med/Biology and has been accepted to a MS program at Southern Methodist University in Molecular and Cellular Biology enroute to Physician Assistant school — she currently has a paid internship job in South Florida and will continue here in Dallas. So I have no problem with advanced education that enables professional development — and a Masters in Women’s Ethnic Studies ain’t what I am talking about.
Lastly Moore has a great suggestion to “Abolish federal student loans and replace the free government dollars with privately sponsored college work programs. For instance, schools like College of the Ozarks require kids to work 15 hours a week to pay their tuition. It’s hardly a violation of human rights if a 21 year old works to fund for their own education–and they will probably get more out of their classes if they do work.”
It all comes down to the philosophy, principles, values and policies that promote and advance the ideal of the opportunity economy as opposed to that of the dependency economy. The former IS the rising tide that lifts all boats. The latter is the rudderless ship that runs ashore, crashing into the rocks of greater unemployment, debt, high and sustained deficits and the expansion of the welfare nanny-state.
As we go into the 2016 election cycle, just file this away and listen to hear who is talking about greater opportunity for you rather than the incessant honey of “hope and change,” spinning the web of dependency.