I didn’t listen to Senator Joni Ernst’s SOTU rebuttal, but I have read about it here and here. With respect to the second piece, it’s funny how libs and progressives are all about the poor…until they are not, at which point snide ridicule seems to become oh so funny. (And they wonder why they can’t win in middle America? Tell me again, who’s the smart party?)
The Senator made a point that I want to re-emphasize: we are so MUCH WEALTHIER now than we were 40 and 50 years ago. I’m not going to trot out graphs and statistics and reports, but instead will lean on empiric recall and ask that you apply the same.
When my parents, both of whom were school teachers, were in their mid to late 30’s and I was in my early years of grade school, we lived in a cinder block, one story home with a flat roof and terrazzo floors. The garage was not enclosed; the house had no air conditioning (my parents ultimately got a window unit for their bedroom), no dishwasher, no clothes dryer, and no carpet, although I remember one giant braid rug. We had 1 phone, a black and white TV and 1 car, which had no air conditioning. Once a week on Friday’s my dad would pick up a 4-pack of something called champale, a kind wine-beer malt liquor, and he and mom would split it. Going out to eat was a trip to KFC; the fast food places were relatively new, and this was a big treat for all. Everybody in that neighborhood lived essentially the same way.
My 28-year-old nephew and his wife have just had their first child. My nephew is a fireman and his wife a nurse. They live in a house more than double the square footage of my parent’s former place; they have 2 cars, one of which is $40,000 truck. The house is equipped with central air, enclosed 2-car garage, washer-dryer, dishwasher, a bathroom large enough to hold a small crowd, countless closets, land lines and cell phones, a home entertainment unit with a 60″ flatscreen…you get the point. And in no way is this an attack or criticism of my nephew. Most of the things I listed would make a vast majority of young people — even poor young people — go, “So? What’s your point?” Moreover, my nephew and his wife have played everything right; yes, he has a car note, but they often double up on the mortgage payment, and they owe no other money. My point is, these two very young people acquired all this without leveraging the future. My parents could not have imagined such abundance at a similar age.
We are infinitely wealthier. Even our poor live with more toys (cell phones, flat screens, jacuzzis) than does Europe’s middle class. I suppose it’s human nature to always expect more, but sometimes a bit of remembrance and reflection from those of us who are old enough might be worthwhile.
As for the young, my God, they’ve been taught to expect everything NOW. As a result, many of them know the “price of everything and the value of nothing.” Came across this today. Ignorance is good enough so long as everything goes along swimmingly. However, when difficult obstacles present themselves, a bit of wisdom and character, earned through patience, diligence and work, may provide the only foundation on which to fall back.