Over the last week I have heard some replays of statements from our sharing is caring President regarding his ideas about “sharing the wealth” and “redistributive justice.” It seems to me that he and his friends have somewhere in their childhood missed this wise old saying, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” I understand that there is a social good we all receive from reducing poverty in our great nation, but we need to do so in a way that is sustainable and does not create a prolonged burden on those that are out “fishing.”
There are a good many people in our country that have wandered down a path of negativity in life and are seen by many as a menace. However, I think that we can find some positive qualities in most that will help us in determining what type of fishing we should teach them. Take a high level drug dealer for instance, talk about a menace to society. Most people would write this person off and not care if they were killed on the street.
What if this person is really just an enterpreneur that never learned to work in the legitimate system or didn’t have financing for capital to start a profitable venture. This person definitely has to understand quality control, sales and marketing, distribution management, vendor relationships, and customer satisfaction. Thinking about the skills they may have acquired illegitimately may help us to find a good fit for them and provide long-term rehabilitation. Do you think a person formerly running their own drug enterprise is going to find long-term fulfillment working on the line at Burger King for peanuts per hour? No wonder they relapse into being their own boss and making real money.
There also seems to be a prevailing attitude that we can just educate people and that the path to good jobs is always through more education. Now that has worked out well for me, but what if we are dealing with an entrepreneurial person that truly will never be happy working for someone else no matter how good the job is? A job and a nifty resume aren’t always the answer to economic woes. Sometimes it’s more about acquiring some useful skills or making some quality connections that give people a foot in the door to the life they really want.
At the end of the day people need to understand how to add value to our legitimate economic system in a way that compensates them well for the skills and connections they have. Stop complaining about not being able to find someone to give you a job or give you some education or give you some of their wealth, but learn how to add value and create your own wealth. We should focus our efforts on helping people understand themselves and how they fit into the picture of value creation as independent contributors, not dependent hand holder outers. Remember, the hand you hold is the hand that holds you down.