What’s the difference between prudence and pandering? Prudence is rooted in reason, reality, while the latter typically preys upon the fears, misconceptions and misfortunes of others to produce a desired result: i.e., a vote. As misinformed politicians continue to invoke “income equality” as a rallying cry for a $15 minimum wage, they fail to mention one inconvenient truth: minimum wage was never intended to serve as a living wage. It was merely intended as the baseline hourly rate of compensation for those entry level workers with no discernible skills…such as high school or college students looking to make extra pocket change. If angry and envious activists are successful in recklessly raising the minimum wage by over $5, then they need to take responsibility for three inevitable consequences: small businesses will close in droves damaging an already atrophying private sector, retail chains will resort to widespread layoffs by consolidating their number of stores to remain profitable, and increased costs will trigger hyperinflation across the board. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s not unbridled greed; it’s called economics. No politics required!
There is no shame in needing help time to time, we all do, and the minimum wage should be reasonably raised periodically as the cost of living increases. However, if someone truly wants to improve their financial prospects and job security, they must take the initiative of learning a trade, going to college, or working his or her way up the proverbial ladder to secure a higher wage. There is no magic rainbow unless you realize the timeless adage “no one owes you except yourself” is the only pot of liquidated gold waiting for the accountable and industrious. In the words and wisdom of your grandparents, the problem with all that “Free Stuff” – college education, health care, welfare, and exaggerated menial wages – is that it is never free; except in the speeches and pamphlets of aspiring traveling salesmen. “We the People”, just like those in struggling socialist countries, will eventually pay with our jobs, independence, and by giving 50% or more of our income to the government – those bureaucrats who cannot even balance the budget (19 trillion & counting) while ordinary citizens lose their homes over a few missed mortgage payments – as the scarcity and prices of the products and services you need to survive grow amidst endless regulation and taxation. Accessibility to healthcare and higher education are indeed universal rights; as is the obligation to pay for it without expecting your neighbor, whether more successful or not, to pick up the tab against their will or in violation of their individual rights. You cannot multiple wealth by dividing it and you cannot legislate the poor into equality by legislating the wealthy out of freedom.
No, the American dream isn’t dead because everyone isn’t floating down a sparkling river of opulence and basking beneath the spoils of social media stardom. It’s only dead when adults actually believe handouts, unearned benefits and wages, are more acceptable than hard work and when spoiled children no longer realize the greatest blessings in life do not require WiFi or safe spaces from accountability. Considering the number of welfare recipients and the national debt has nearly doubled since 2008, it is only a matter of time before opportunity becomes synonymous with oppression as America suffocates beneath unsustainable obligations. This is why the best social program is, and always will be, a job; it inherently pays for itself. When the incentive of opening a business or becoming a doctor is siphoned by Big Government in the name of the ‘common good’, competition and innovation are but a distant casualty as you wait in line for communal health care or a loaf of bread that is made by only a select few companies. There is a reason why crime hates competition; both require a willing and ignorant victim. Why again are hard working Americans are jailed for unpaid parking tickets or taxes while elected politicians – those career civil servants who lie ad nauseam, drive us to the precipice of financial ruin, give billions to terrorist nations and use class/race warfare to the virtual extinction of common sense – can act with re-electable impunity? Simple…because we allow it!
If America, that nation which became the most powerful and affluent nation in less than two centuries under the roar of economic liberty and independence, is in need of anything it is in the form of a mirror. By holding everyone to the same standard, honoring both our founding Constitutional values and our personal responsibilities, we’d systematically solve most of our problems while spending a lot less time wiping the noses of whiny millennials crying tears of entitlement for a used car salesmen who became student council president by promising free lunches, guilt free classrooms, and a permanent paid recess from reality. Only one requires you to think for yourself without carpooling to the “Occupy Wall Street” rally to protest those evil, job producing corporations that are most likely fueling your 401k’s portfolio.