Thursday, December 13, 2012

Success in the U.S.

My friend and pastor, Dave, was talking some time ago about his experiences with marriage counseling. By and large, he says, most people who come in for counseling are really just looking for a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on, and they're really not interested in fixing the problems in their marriage. He'll listen to their problems and give them good, solid, scripture-based advice on what they need to do next, but probably only about 10% of them actually do what he's told them needs to be done.

I'm noticing the same sort of thing on a number of personal finance blogs I peruse. There are those lurkers in the comments who read all the advice posted, then make a point of posting comments about why it doesn't and could never apply to them, and that they're just victims of a system rigged to keep the poor folks down.

Now, one can only really judge what's possible or impossible, in most cases, from personal experience, or perhaps anecdotal experience of friends, but I'm just stunned at times by this attitude. First, though you wouldn't perhaps think it to look at us now, M and I have been poor. We've started out at minimum wage jobs a number of times in our lives. The key thing is that we never believed that was all there was, and we never stayed there (either at minimum or at that job, depending on circumstances) for very long.

I've observed over the last several years, a number of refugee families affiliated with our church, that have come to this country with basically the shirts on their backs, who have worked their way out of poverty and into solid middle class citizenry. So, you can't tell me it isn't possible to start with nothing in this country, even today, and end up successful, no matter your background. By the way, these folks are seriously BLACK, from Africa, and their English is not the best, if you think that racial prejudice - in Idaho no less - is holding people down.

Goes back to the old adage: Say you can't or say you can; either way you're right.

One of the most "surprising" conlusions of recent surveys in this country: it's easier to become wealthy if you start out with rich parents. No Kidding?

Doesn't mean the poor can't become wealthy, it's just a bit tougher. Was it McArthur who said, "the difficult we do right away, the impossible takes a bit longer"?


ProudHillbilly said...

I have a neighbor who is basically a good guy. But he doesn't have the strongest work ethic - he's not going to roll out of bed at 5 am and work until midnight to get a business going. He often spends all weekend doing nothing more than watching TV. And he is SO pro the administration's wealth redistribution attitudes.

Jon said...

I worry that the redistributionist policies which have resulted in failed states around the globe are now approved by more than half of our voting public.