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About a week ago, I saw a cartoon video starring Barack Obama as President and Ronald Reagan as a “teacher”. Obama obviously liked socialism while Reagan “taught” him that socialism was a bad thing. Cartoon Reagan tells a story that humorously involved a bunch of past Presidents and politicians. They were all in a class together in school, and a young Obama suggests that everything should be redistributed so that there will be no poor or rich people – everyone will have the same amount. So the teacher (played by cartoon Reagan) does an experiment. He says that for the next test, all the grades will be put together and averaged, and everyone will received the same grade. Well, that average turned out to be a “B”. The students that worked hard were upset and those that didn’t work hard were happy. So, during the next test, those that worked hard the first time didn’t work as hard. The average for the next test was a “D”. Everyone was mad. The next test, no one worked hard, and the average was an “F”. In the end, the cartoon Reagan claims that with socialism, the redistribution of wealth doesn’t build up, but instead it tears everyone down. It appears as if he tore Obama’s idea completely apart.
But did he?
Let’s look at this from a different perspective. In this over-simplified video, cartoon Reagan is trying to show that in socialism, those that “work hard” make the best grades (make the most money) are the ones that are contributing the most to society. Let me assure you that is not true. My father was extremely fiscally conservative; therefore, I had to pay most of my college expenses on my own. I worked at Wendy’s for four summers and all holidays for minimum wage ($3.25 per hour at that time). Wendy’s was the most physically demanding job that I have had in my entire life, and I am 53 years old. Since college, I worked in several medical laboratories for a total of 20 years (making from $17,00 per year at the beginning of my career to over $60,000 per year when I had to stop working due to back issues). This job was the most mentally demanding job of my life. As you can see, each job was demanding but in different ways. After working at Wendy’s, I was so physically exhausted that I would fall immediately asleep when I hit my bed. The same occurred after my lab job, and I would dream all the time about things I saw through the microscope. Notice the difference in salaries.
People who work in blue-collar jobs are not lazy at all. They work equally as hard and many times harder and in much more difficult environments. Just think about all of the construction workers that have to work in extreme weather (excess heat and cold).
My point is that just because someone doesn’t make as much money as you does not in any way mean that he/she isn’t working as hard or even harder than you. So this Obama/Reagan cartoon video is extremely over-simplified and very misleading.
Now, I have heard many people say that these blue-collar workers could have had better jobs if they just went to school and worked for it. This is not necessarily true. There are many factors that may prevent someone from achieving a college degree or getting a high-paying job. First, some people are not cut out to become doctors or lawyers. Second, many people don’t have the money to attend college. Third, some people are disabled and may not be able to achieve the things that others without disabilities can achieve. Some might be war veterans suffering from PTSD.
And there are many other factors as to why one person cannot achieve the same level of financial success as someone else.
Let me give you this to think about: If every single person went to college and graduate school and became doctors and lawyers and/or got into a career where you make a ton of money just like some suggest, then who exactly would be picking up the garbage? Who would be constructing houses? Who would be mowing lawns and/or landscaping your yards? Who would be cleaning toilets and emptying trash?
If everyone went to graduate school and received advanced degrees and/or followed other career paths that led them to make a truckload of money, then I guess YOU would have to take your own trash to the dump. YOU would have to repair your own roof when it leaks. YOU would have to build your own house. YOU would have to landscape your own huge lawns. YOU would have to clean your own giant houses. YOU would have to unplug clogged toilets after someone vomits all night. YOU would have to fix your own electrical or plumbing problems. YOU would have to install new appliances, carpeting, tile, bathroom fixtures, etc. YOU would have to exterminate your own house. YOU would have to build your own deck. YOU would have to fertilize and aerate your own lawn.
Don’t you see how good you have it?
Be careful what you wish for.