The constant refrain of those who oppose Social safety net programs is "Everyone could be rich if he just worked hard enough".
What we need is
- Freedom from despair[guaranteed food shelter, medical care]
- Skill training [education]
- Opportunity to achieve
A friend made the following comment:
I don't know William...I'm 67 now and I've worked since I was 12 (actually did odd jobs before I was 12, mowed lawns, picked berries and sold them door to door, trapped with my grandfather and sold captures door to door, raised chickens sold those door to door before I was 12). Now I'm retired and guess what I did it all without any of the above GUARANTEES. I was a 9th grade drop out, eventually served 3 years in the U.S. Army...Honorably discharged...went to work (I was not able to start out as a CEO, though...actually never made CEO anywhere), got my GED in the Army, did some studies thru the Army Education Center and attended Community College while holding a full-time job, and two part time jobs...at the time my wife ask if I couldn't get a paper route or something to take up my spare time ;-0 I guess I have a hard time understanding the "GUARANTEE" mentality...I could be setting on my Ass now, but I'm still actively making money. With no GUARANTEES of anything and the best part is it actually gives me a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction in knowing "I CAN"...The best way to achieve is to get off that ass and do something!
My reply was:
Congratulations - I am sure you are as Rich as King Midas. I too have worked hard all my life. I picked cotton on my Grandfathers farm at eight years of age and continued to work for the rest of my life. I was not a drop-out but served my Nation in the Air Force and used one of those Government programs to go to College. I think it was called the GI Bill. I worked in a factory , Worked as a Fraternal Field Representative and was finally Manager of a Department store. I started two business [both failed and left me broke] and finally retired on Social Security with Medicare[another Government program] . And I am still working[without pay] at the age of 70. I spent my whole life "getting off my ass and doing something".
But none of that is has anything to do with my post. They are just anecdotal stores about two lives. The point is that there are millions of people who work hard all of there lives with out ever experiencing the "good life". Then there is the Trust Fund Baby who never did any work and had unlimited wealth. That too is just an anecdotal story that speaks to a possible path of life.
The point of the post is that neither you nor I nor the Trust Fund Baby have been granted the moral authority to judge the worth of the life of another. WE do not have the right to deny the essentials needs to preserve the life of each of us.
The message I get from you is that you survived and prospered because of hard work. The FACT that I know is that many work hard and die from hunger, homelessness, and illness through no fault of their own. What history has taught me is that Government has the power to destroy the lives of any citizen it chooses and often has done so. It also has the power to preserve the lives of its people if it chooses to do so.
With the advance in innovation, technology, automation, and robotics, that power to preserve life is becoming easier every year without limiting anyone from accumulating wealth with hard work. My purpose is not to prevent reward, but to preserve the right to life at the most basic level. No man should be denied food, shelter or health care, be he Pauper or Prince.