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Section A: General News


Editorial: Lessons from my father: a story of struggle and opportunity




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About politics and other things
August 13, 2014 | 2,991 views | 1 comment

Some of the things that my daddy taught his children are priceless. He taught us that people deserve an opportunity, but sometimes you have to make your own opportunities. The good thing is that you can do that in America!

My daddy worked long hours at minimum-wage jobs to support his nine children. But he did it, and we survived without food stamps or Medicaid.

In addition to his outside jobs, Daddy also worked his tiny farm, milking cows and selling milk and cream, and raising chickens to sell eggs. My mother not only cooked and cleaned for the family, but also helped in the field, as we each did when we got old enough.

I know, some don’t appreciate stories about people’s struggles because they think people deserve better. It’s part of the entitlement mentality. Forget responsibility and actually earning something.

Unfortunately, many people, both in Congress and in the public, no longer appreciate opportunity. They would rather make demands than to accept the responsibility of struggling to achieve opportunities, which is crucial to a free society.

Recent stories about some congressmen experiencing what it’s like to live on minimum wage left me chuckling. Heaven forbid that any U.S. congressman would be seen eating sardines and crackers or ordering off the dollar menu at a fast-food restaurant.

But that is what three Democratic politicians did last month when they accepted the “Live the Wage” challenge. They were hoping to bring light to the difficulties facing minimum-wage workers.

The congressmen, interviewed by a reporter from www.abcnews.go.com, concluded that a minimum-wage budget did not allow for luxuries! Well, ... duh!!! That should not be a surprise to anyone -- except the guys in Congress. From their ivory towers, they are surprised about a lot of things in the real world.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky said that shopping with a limited budget took away all “spontaneity.” It was an eye opener, she said, because she “rarely thinks about” how much things cost.

Certainly, as a member of the privileged class, congressmen do not have to worry about costs. They expect us working stiffs to pay for their little luxuries and “spontaneous” shopping sprees.

But looking more closely at their experiment, perhaps Congress should consider the practical economic impact of federal minimum-wage laws, rather than participating in a “how-does-it-feel” experiment.

One blogger describes her experience living on minimum wage at a “less-than-desirable job” while trying to find something better. “It ain’t pretty,” she wrote.

That sounds to me like a pity party. I know first-hand that there are no luxuries on a minimum-wage salary, but to say that that means no spontaneity is not true.

My daddy taught us the difference between being impoverished (without strength and hope) and being poor (having little in the way of material goods). We were poor, but we had joy, hope, and contentment, along with expectations about creating opportunities.

As Dave Ramsey says, you take on another job if you have to, in order to pay your bills. You do whatever you have to do, and you “live like no one else so that one day you can live like no one else.”

The three congressmen concluded, however, that people “deserve” more pay. The new entitlement mentality says that no one should be lowered to eating sardines from a can.

Whatever happened to earning better pay instead of making demands for what you think you ought to be entitled to?

Daddy taught us that whether you are poor or a person of means, you have to live within your means. This is a lesson Congress should learn.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
The Marcelina Muse  
Dry Tank, TX  
August 14, 2014 11:22am
 
Whatever happened to "we do it the old way - we earn it"? No personal responsibility any more.

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