Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mr. Cellophane's Trampoline

Haven't been on here for a bit because of Isaac and other duties.  I must correct this immediately because I know y'all are just dying to hear what I say.

So to begin:

My philosophy isn't simple, but at first glance it may seem so.  I believe a person is responsible for his or her well-being.  He must use the Trampoline.

Some people are born poor and some people are born rich.  Some people are born with a full, happy family and some people are born as orphans.  Some people are born disabled and some people are born fully fit.  It doesn't matter in the long run if you take advantage of the chances you have.  It also doesn't matter because you might not take all the chances society gives you.

Some people are born fully fit like me.  Some people have terrible accidents and fall like me.  If that person wants to rise again he can.  He just needs to realize that he still has chances and he doesn't need to stay where he's fallen.  He can jump again.

This doesn't mean that everyone can be a billionaire.  It does mean that everyone can be something.  Maybe you're like Eminem and have a terrible situation growing up but have a knack for rhythm (I am NOT saying I approve of his music).  Maybe you have a knack for writing and so can enter journalism even if you don't have any use of your legs (Charles Krauthammer).  Maybe your from the gutter but decide to join the military service.  Everyone has the chance to jump higher on the Trampoline.

If this is to happen, however, everyone must have a chance to fall.  A kid in the gutter might have a chance to join the military (factory, so on and slowly rise) but decide to dwell on drugs instead.  A rich kid might decide to spend all his money because he likes to gamble, have drugs, or just buy random stuff and not invest it.  We all have chances.  They are not the same chances but they're all chances.  We can rise or fall on the Trampoline.

Now, in allowing these chances to rise and fall, we must have some government regulations.  To allow for as many chances as possible, we must try to prevent people from discriminating against employees if the employee can do the job required well.  This allows as many chances for as many people as possible to show their merit.  We must also try to prevent monopolies.  Monopolies prevent other companies from showing their merit, and so consumers cannot choose what to buy based on that principle.  Job seekers cannot apply to potentially better employers because of monopolies.  Monopolies, therefore, lessen the chances people have to rise.  We must make some regulation about how companies operate so that the job will be less likely to physically harm an employee (fire regulations, for example).  Some government regulation, therefore, is good.

Too much regulation, however, limits how a company can operate and so limits the chances of an employee to rise and fall.  The Deepwater Horizon spill was a bad spill.  The moratorium was overkill along with President Obama's refusal to sign permits for most new potential deep-water Gulf oil rigs and his delay on the Keystone Pipeline.  This raises the price on our oil, gives the Middle East a trigger to pull on us if necessary, and also limits the potential chances that are available for the lower class in our horrible economy.  Another example that isn't touted enough is how the government always raises the minimum wage.  People who want to gain a foothold to rise in this economy are excluded because employers are forced to decide whether to pay the minimum wage to every employee in their company or to limit their jobs to help the company break even or to perhaps keep a small profit.  For small business owners, this is a BIG question.  Perhaps there should be a minimum wage.  I doubt it should be as high as it is, however.  

To go back to our chances: these chances that people may have that government has helped and hurt can only happen if we look for them.  If we wait around and wait for them to come we won't go anywhere.  We'll just sit here feeling sorry for ourselves.  We all feel self pity sometimes.  A good cry is a good thing.  If we dwell in self-pity, however, we go nowhere.

For this reason, I mostly despise all so-called activists (although, through this blog, I believe I am one).   If Jesse Jackson screams racist, he might sometimes be right.  If you're whole self-identity is based on the fact that you're a minority (whether you are black or Latino or a woman or a disabled person, etc.), however, you will lose sight of the people who aren't prejudiced who will give you a chance.  You might even lose sight of the people who ARE prejudiced but are willing to let you have a go anyway.

Consequently, let's not dwell on our minority or non-minority status and try to climb the social ladder.  If we fall, we can start again.  I do not believe the United States should have a safety net.  I certainly do not believe in the welfare state we have, in which folks dwell in poverty off welfare checks.  The Democratic Party speaks of poverty and how we need to help those who live off food stamps.  I agree.  The Republican Party argues that we need to limit welfare and create a "safety net" that catches people until they find jobs.  I think they're right too.

What we actually need (and I believe the Republican Party comes closer here, but only barely) is a TRAMPOLINE.  People fall and then on the bottom they gather themselves and then rise up again.

The problem with this idea, of course, is that it won't work for everybody.  Some people are (unconsciously or consciously) determined to be the poor and oppressed people.  It's one of the few circular arguments that actually work.  Because they are poor and are sure that they ARE poor, they stay poor.  Because they believe they are oppressed, they oppress themselves and in the end we stop listening to their argument.  We've heard it a thousand times before and after a while we become bored.  In that way, I suppose, we oppress them.  They need some form of support.  We give it to them with welfare checks.  We also need to give them a boost.  Part of that must be not giving them as much slack and encouraging them to try the trampoline.  Part of it is helping them in their dire places so that they can ascend to the trampoline.  For the rest of people who are at the bottom, it's expanding their chances of employment and their means of finding out about employment.

Many people have come from the bottom rung of society.  Some have risen to the top while others have risen to a comfortable middle class lifestyle.  The more famous people are people such as Thomas Sowell, a world-class economist and philosopher who grew up a poor black kid in the segregated South or our present President, Barack Obama.  There are plenty of other people around, though.

My conclusion, therefore, is quite simple.  Do not dwell on your shortcomings.  Everyone has plenty of problems.  Keep the concept of the trampoline firmly in mind as you ascend or descend.  If you fall, get up and look for another chance to rise.  Sooner or later, it's going to come.