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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Labor Day and the Entitlement Generation

   Americans celebrated Labor Day this week. The last blast of summer, with barbecues, swimming, and the kids bemoaning, if they haven't already, their return to school. The meaning of this day is to pause and reflect on the true backbone of this country, the American worker.
  Hard work is what built America. Plain and simple. When the first settlers arrived in their new land, they knew it would take everything they had in them to survive. And survive they did. Generation after generation of hard working immigrant has arrived in this country
, knowing that the sweat of his brow was his key to success, and a better life for his children. We have all seen grainy old film footage of early 20th century construction workers, sitting on steel beams, hundreds of feet up in the air, eating lunch from a tin lunch pail. One of the most iconic American portraits is of "Rosie the Riveter". As American men went overseas to defeat Hitler and the Nazis, American women took over in the factories, doing what needed to be done to help the war effort. How many times have we seen that picture of Rosie, the look of determination on her face, flashing a fairly impressive muscle. The words above her say it all, "We can do it". An empowering image for women still today.
  But something is happening. Something is changing. America's work ethic, like so many other institutions, is being twisted. In the age of Obama, suddenly, it is not work! That's right! Sit at home and get paid! And the truly frightening part, more and more people are hopping on the government gravy train, and expecting hard working Americans to keep on pulling that train.
  In a recent study by the Cato Institute, in nearly every state in the Union, welfare pays better than work. In some states, a lot better. In Hawaii, live in paradise, play your EBT cards right, and you can make the equivalent in benefits of $29 dollars an hour. Pretty decent gig.
  Is America, traditionally the poster child for hard work, producing an entire generation of welfare brats who think they are entitled to what hard working people earn because it is "fair"? It is what happens when elementary schools begin to teach the merits of social justice and wealth redistribution. It is what happens when everyone gets a trophy, so that no one's self esteem is damaged. It is what happens when the idea of competition is deemed to be bad. And it begs the question, will a lazy nation be willing to put forth the effort to do things like, work to pull itself out of economic stagnation? Or, worst case scenario, defend itself against foreign invaders? Or will we just wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting?
  Author of the Cato Institute study, Michael Tanner, said he thought that major changes to the educational system were needed so that young people would be able to better prepare themselves for the workforce.
  Perhaps a major overhaul in the American work ethic would be better.

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