Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The American Dream is alive!

Do you know a person who is perpetually negative and feeds on being that way? They suck the life out of a happy situation and the good fortune of others.

Take for example a neighbor of mine. A startup company I worked for 10 years ago was purchased by a large Japanese company. Knowing this was happening months ahead I started selling my wife on the idea that for me to fulfill my dream of owning a Porsche should be my reward for 5 yrs of 60-80 weeks. The calculated effort on my part paid off and when the payout check cleared job one was to pick up the brand new 1996 Porsche 911. The day I picked it up from the dealer my family was gathered at Mrs. Tiny's sisters house (who lives around the corner from us). So like a proud poppa I pulled my shiny Iris blue ride up to Tiny-sis-inlaw's curb. All the family came out to admire my prize, I was all smiles. Then nextdoor neighbor curmudgeon walked up and says "why would anybody spend that much on a car?". Nice..I went from smiles and feeling good to pissed...all I said to him was "shut the F up". What was the point of his statement? Did it serve any useful purpose? Was it a valid statement? Was this an example of excess? NO, NO, was just senseless negativity! Some negative people get their own personal life force by sucking it out of the rest of us. They feed off the result of their negativity....shoot them on sight I say.

While I risk the label of braggart using my acquisition of a fine German sports car as a setup for this be it....this is leading to something!

Most days I hunt the web for something to get fired up about and one of my favorite blood pressure rockets are societal studies. They're easy marks since nearly all of them are done by academics (ah, no bias there) and lets face it...most studies have a pre-study theory. Those doing the study probably believe they are executing in a neutral way, but they almost never do and will conclude the study proves what they already believed.

I know I found a good one just from the title "Rags-to-riches dream an illusion: study". Of course this the MSM is filled with those who bizarrely hate America, especially our ability to create wealth, and so are happy to print a story calling the American dream as an illusion. Firstly, rags-to-riches isn't a concept that I believe is part of the American lexicon....the more appropriate label would be the "American dream". It's not about being rich, it's about that white picket fence home, a family and being comfortable....maybe it's also about doing a bit better than the previous generation.

Now I don't have the study data, don't have their protocols, but the conclusion or message appears to be simply: hey America you're not so great, your rich stay rich, your poor stay poor and other countries do better! What a crock. The fact of the matter is that a gap between the richest and the poorest in a society growing is not a bad thing all by itself! If there wasn't anything in the middle, and a nice distribution, then you might have a problem. But that's not the case.

This study should have asked the question did each subject desire the American dream? Did they actually attempt to improve their economic situation? And was there any family influences to encourage it? If these factors were considered you would confirm what is common sense and so no study is needed. Most who are rich (and we'll leave that undefined) know how to get rich and instill that in their children. Sorry, very few of the rich inherit their wealth. Even for those that do, you still need a certain desire to make the money work for you and that too you pass to your children.

My parents were not rich, just your regular middle class family with a stay at home mom and an IBM manager type dad. While we didn't walk around in worn out shoes we were far from being spoiled. There was constant reinforcement that money wasn't an entitlement and that if you wanted something you work for it. So I did. As a kid I did chores around the house, and in the yard, for loose change and for a small allowance. Before my teens I had a paper route, I picked apricots, I worked at the local swim club, I fixed up and sold bicycles. There was a lesson in all that! You didn't have to be reliant on your parents or anyone else! I believed you could create your own economic success and took risks to achieve non linear economic success having worked at start-ups for the last 24 yrs. The spirit my parents instilled in me employs 50 high paid professionals today and could grow to thousands. And, yes, allowed me to buy a car that cost nearly 2 times what I paid for my first house. If I was part of a study like this and you didn't know this history what would you conclude? You couldn't determine a valid cause and effect.

If a child doesn't believe that they could do anything as a career or start their own business chances are they won't as an adult. Ok, sure that does happen but it happens more if that spirit, or a direct example of it, is set by the parents. It's no surprise that on average a child who is raised poor (again undefined) stays poor. If you teach and inspire a child they might cure cancer, or they might employ a city, or both. That teaching and spirit doesn't require you to be rich but it does require an environment that can allow it to happen and there is no better place than America.

I see no useful message in this study other than to piss on the American dream.

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