I got my first job when I was 16. I remember my first paycheck–it was $50. I was so excited because my monthly allowance had been $50 and here I had made the same amount in a part-time work week as a grocery store cashier.
I also remember going shopping soon after, thinking about how much my $50 would buy. It didn’t buy much, obviously–I looked at a few shirts before it hit me: to buy this shirt, I’d have to work X number of hours; to buy that shirt, I’d have to work Y number of hours; and if I wanted shoes or jeans or a purse on top of that, those were more hours I’d have to work.
Suddenly, my paycheck took on a whole new light. It wasn’t just cash in my teenage pocket–it was the monetary worth of my time.
I learned the value of “stuff” pretty quickly, and the value of hard work even quicker. I took pride in the fact that I no longer had to ask my dad for money to buy things that I wanted. I gained a new respect for the things he provided our family with from his paychecks.
I’m well out of college now and have been paying more and more attention to the fact that a large population of American citizens have no concept of the value of hard work, money, or what “stuff” costs.
And you–our political leaders–do very little to help them learn. Instead, you provide handouts. Handouts that send the message, “It’s okay, you don’t have to learn any important life lessons, you just have to ask and we’ll take care of you.” The recipients of such handouts rarely stop to think about who is actually paying for their benefits, and if they do realize who’s paying, they probably don’t care because hey, it’s not THEM.
And you have perpetuated the same attitude of entitlement across the broader population with the recent bailouts and programs like “Cash for Clunkers” (the CARS program). You’re printing up money that doesn’t exist to hand out to Americans to do what? Seems to me you’re trying to create a false sense of confidence in a failing economy. And you don’t seem to care who’s going to pay for it.
What good does the CARS program actually do for the environment? From the studies I’ve read, little to none. There’s nothing “green” about manufacturing new cars or destroying the “clunkers” just to save a few MPG per vehicle. Someone who trades in a Hummer (that has years and years of use ahead of it) can “upgrade” to another SUV that gets slightly better gas mileage, but the Hummer gets destroyed.
The CARS program has run out of money. That’s fine; I say END THE PROGRAM. It served its purpose of handing out cash to the people who jumped on the offer; there’s no reason to throw more money into it. Especially when that money is being printed out of thin air.
End the program, save my children the burden of paying for my neighbor’s new car.