Money isn’t a cure for poverty; it’s a morphine drip

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

As someone with an extensive background in automotive repair, I can tell you there are two types of technicians: those who use science and logic to diagnose a car, and those who merely throw parts at it in hopes the condition goes away.

The former is efficient and precise while the other costs the car owner a lot of money in bad guesswork—rarely fixing anything other than occasionally by blind luck. This is also true of well-meaning politicians who think that throwing money at the non-rich (average income people like me, and the poor as well) will be the most efficient way to solve all our economic woes. They’ve racked up trillions of debt dollars; yet our economy is far from fixed.

Bad MechanicOne way to win an election is to promise people free money. Convincing the masses that government would be there in their time of need was Obama’s most effective election tactic.

It’s easy to understand why this campaign strategy works, just look at the abundance of people who play the lottery. The idea of something for nothing is alluring, but just as physics dictates you cannot create energy from nothing, free money is an equally ridiculous notion—it came from someone who earned it, not thin air,  and not an endless well of cash in Washington.

Most reasonable people agree corporatism is immoral; good investment or not. But what about subsidies to the average and poor? As heartless as this may seem, throwing money at the non-rich is a horrible investment of our tax dollars; plus, it is also immoral.  Just because I’m smiling as I steal from a “have” and give to a “have-not,” doesn’t magically make it something other than theft.

Many of us believe that if we were awarded a fortune, we would be on easy street forever. Yet, average people who win a substantial sum often end up filing for bankruptcy. Stories on this phenomenon are here, here, and here. This happens because the non-rich, as obvious as it should seem, are just not good at investing, budgeting, and maintaining wealth.

If you won the lottery, who would you want investment advice from? Steve Forbes or your uncle Sam who’s currently down $16 trillion on his E*Trade account but is patiently awaiting for those penny stocks to go crazy? I have news for you, Sam isn’t investing his money, he’s investing yours and mine. Can we please agree he should stop?

Uncle SamMost people who earn a 4 or 5-figure salary are simply not as motivated to be rich commensurate to those who went to college for 8 years and attained a degree they actually use, nor as courageous as those who took the plunge and invested their money into a business idea like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk. They don’t bother reading books on investing, they don’t strive to get promotions at work, they spend more time partying than focusing on their career, and ultimately, they’re content being an average Joe whether they admit it or not.

Sacrificing all of one’s free time to grow a business or get a difficult degree requires a dedication few have. They don’t need to be pitied or pandered to by politicians who act as though making an average income means you’ve failed. Many people who are not rich, love their life as it is. It is disgusting for statist-like politicians to try to convince these people that they are being taken advantage of by the rich in order to solicit votes.

Obama would have you believe that the only difference between people like you and I versus Bill Gates and Warren Buffett is opportunity. As much as I’d like to believe that those business giants are no better than me, they just are. I’ve never had an idea as good as Microsoft Windows, and despite all of the educational trading information available to me, Warren Buffett has had bowel movements with better investment ideas than me.

The fact is, if we gave Warren Buffett one million dollars to start with today, based on his record, he’d likely double it in 5-7 years. If we gave the smelly young panhandler who lives on the streets because his parents “just don’t understand him” a million dollars, he’d likely be back on the street in less than a year with a bottle in a bag and some awesome party stories.

Honest Panhandler
Honest Panhandler

The plethora of self-made entrepreneurs in this country who started with nothing are proof that you can go from meager to millionaire if you do the right things; opportunity abounds here. But, America can’t guarantee happiness; we only guarantee the right to pursue it. No politician should endeavor to do anything more.

If the needy need help, their family, friends, local church, or some other community group will find a way, that’s what we did before social programs, and to some extent do today. If none of those people wish to help that person, then we need to have an honest discussion about why. By and large, good people help other good people. Bad people are properly shunned without assistance; as it should be.

Our forefathers never intended for the people to have a federal safety net. Liberty only exists when we allow people to succeed and to fail at their own hands. Gambling with our money (which is ultimately what investments/subsidies are) is wrong, no matter how well-intentioned. We are free-market capitalists, not statists—at least not yet.

So I love you Uncle Sam, but please understand what our forefathers (men who knew what tyranny was like, and worked so hard to prevent it) understood—you should protect our rights and our shores; then politely get the hell out of our way.

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