Wisdom from the Penny Man

I’m not a political person. I lean toward one party, but vote what I feel is best. I don’t discuss politics with people, because I don’t like to argue. It seems everyone has a slightly different perspective, even when they are from the same party.

I got my hands on a quote from Abraham Lincoln that I found very interesting and apropos to our current economic situation.

“You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.

You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.

You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”

Even though the recession has affected almost everyone, it has righted some wrongs. Personal finance gurus have been telling us for years to save and be thrifty. But because we as a society have gone hog wild, buying everything and anything we desire on credit, we’ve created an economy that wasn’t real. When too many people couldn’t make good, the bottom fell out. Retailers had grown fat on a diet of credit, and now are feeling the pain of people actually spending only money they have, only on things they actually need.

Our unemployment system is broken. Fewer high paying jobs are available, and able-bodied workers are choosing to live off unemployment rather than find work because they are receiving more that way. Now the coffers are empty, so the state wants to make the employers pay more taxes. A small business owner will just hire fewer workers and/or pay them less, furthering the unemployment problem.

I know that today more people need help with day-to-day needs like food and medicine than two years ago. I fully support the organizations that strive to meet these growing needs everyday. However, it would behoove us as a society to continue to offer programs that offer a hand up, and not just a hand out. Training programs like Soup of Success in Elkhart provides women with work experience, interview and resume practice, and the opportunity to further their education, all in a supportive environment. Any program that teaches a man to fish is going to bring up the potential earnings for that person, that family, and that community. It also opens doors for new entrepreneurs and capitalism as it’s meant to be.

I’ll step off my soap box now. I just hope and pray the powers that be on the local and national levels use some common sense in the coming years as they try to “fix” our current economic woes. God help us all.

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