Ronald Reagan said those words should be the 10 most feared the English language.
I’d like to take that one step further. I’d like to take this to the point that we should be wary of not just any politician that offers help, but any person, group or entity that comes uninvited to you, your family or your business under the same guise.
Every day we’re bombarded by do-gooders who tell us how to act, what to think, what to buy, what to do, how much we should make, what we should drive, how much energy we should use, yadda, yadda, yadda. It seems like someone always knows better than you all of the answers as to how you should be living.
Have you ever noticed that the folks who spout the thought process that the rich should pay their fair share of taxes to the poor huddled masses, tend to be rich themselves? These are the same folks who think government knows best how to spend your money. Yet, they hide their money from the government in trusts, tax loopholes (of course loopholes are for the evil rich, not them) and never seem to pay the government more than what they think is their “fair share.” Here’s my thought to our president and his buddies who support this type of thinking: give the government — or better yet, those less fortunate — all of your assets because, after all, the government can do smarter things with that money than you could ever come up with on your own. Plus, at some point you’ve made enough money, right?
How about all the folks running for political office today who promise they’ll create jobs if you elect them? Have they not read the unquestionable evidence that the government cannot create a job, only confiscate taxpayer money from one part of the economy and transfer it to another? Government intervention and politician promises about jobs have done more to stifle job creation than any recession has done in the history of this country. In our Republican governor primary here in Colorado, Scott McGinnis’ campaign signs with “A Colorado Jobs Governor” on them did just as much to turn me off to his seeking the position as did his plagiarism. Now with John Hickenlooper on the other hand, I don’t like what I see, but I know what I’ll get. Why couldn’t McGinnis run on a slogan something like:”Getting the government out of your way and out of your life?” Then he could have told the people of Colorado that businesspeople know more about creating jobs than the government. Instead, his campaign posters just made him sound like another politician.
Locally, we now have our “world class education” mission from the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce and School District 51. What could be wrong with that goal? Well, plenty, I think. Who gets to decide what a world-class education is?
One could say that they brought in a bunch of folks who “typically aren’t in the room” into the discussion and that does indeed sound like a better-rounded plan. But is it?
Who selected those extra folks and, just as important, what were the criteria used in selecting these individuals? And why did the school just jump in feet first to adopt this far-reaching goal? This program begs to be asked: Just what was the school district’s lofty goal before they were handed this new idea? I know the program sounds like a fresh idea, but let’s face it, business owners and leaders helping and tutoring in our schools is not new. Right now, I volunteer with my 8-year-old for tutoring and mentoring every day with her homework.
Personally, I think it would do more good if all school district employees were required to volunteer at businesses during some of their time off. That way, they could get some hands-on experience as to how things are done in the private sector.
All of these examples sound like great ideas on the surface. Who can argue with the good intentions these things all proclaim to have?
And if the high-minded goals are met, we’ll have a better world to live in. We all want jobs, better educated children and everyone to pay their fair share in life, yes?
Guess what? So do I.
My problem with all of these programs is that they’re the results of someone else’s thinking and motivation. Usually the response I get with that thought is one of: “Well (insert the name you are thinking of calling me here), just what is your solution to this problem?” My solution is to do what my wife and I think is best for my family and it’s none of your business as long as we don’t infringe on your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yes, we’re going to go with our own selfish interests based on our faith, upbringing and experiences.
The biggest concern with accepting someone else’s ideas is that they come with someone else’s expectations. Strings and controls are always attached. Perhaps if the select few weren’t always trying to solve the perceived problems of their defined, oppressed many, we’d have fewer problems.
I have six even greater words for all of us to live by: God helps those who help themselves.
Craig Hall is owner and publisher of the Business Times. Reach him at 424-5133 or firstname.lastname@example.org.