By Louis Avallone
Thomas Jefferson once said, “I’m a greater believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” And he should know about hard work. Jefferson was America’s first secretary of state, our second vice president, and our nation’s third president. He drafted our Declaration of Independence, and successfully negotiated the Louisiana Purchase, which nearly doubled our young country’s size.
Indeed, then, if hard work is the cornerstone to acquiring “luck”, our country’s luck may be running out, especially if the folks in Washington continue to ignore that each one of us is responsible for our own individual prosperity and happiness. It’s called “the American dream”, and no one who has climbed that ladder – or pulled themselves back up when they have fallen – credits government spending and cradle-to-grave entitlements for their achievements.
This doesn’t keep liberals from peddling this prospect, though, and they seem to be making their case very well. A recent Pew Research poll indicates that almost a majority of Americans believe “the rich” are rich mainly because they know the right people or are born into wealth, rather than because of their own hard work, ambition, or education.
In fact, an economics professor, from Cornell University, wrote in the New York Times recently “talent and hard work are neither necessary nor sufficient for economic success.” Really?
And around the world, this sentiment appears to be growing. In eight of 21 countries, recently surveyed, fewer than half of the citizens believe hard work is a guarantee of success for most people.
You understand what we’re up against here, right? The virtue of hard work is in decline, and that’s not good. Of the 2.7 million people who dropped out of the labor force altogether last year, did you know that about 2.2 million of them say they’re not interested in finding a job anyway?
And why not? Some of them are retiring. After all, baby boomers are retiring now at the rate of 10,000 per day. Other folks may be going back to school, instead of work. And then there’s growing numbers of people sitting around doing nothing.
What liberals don’t understand is that most people don’t want just a handout – because a job is more than just income. More than just what we do to pay the bills. A loss of a job is the loss of control for folks to earn a living and take care of their families.
Hard work is not just the physical effort alone, but it represents who we are as a country, and it is how we have defined ourselves to the world.
Handouts don’t reduce poverty or put a nation back to work. In fact, they provide only the illusion of economic benefit, considering that even after billions of dollars spent in Great Society programs since 1964, the poverty rate is actually higher today, than it was then.
Too many folks in Washington either don’t get it, or they care more about their next election than the next generation.
Nonetheless, it’s hard work that will put our nation back on the path it started upon, a path that was forged by thrift, integrity, and self-reliance. A path filled with those who believe “a penny saved is a penny earned”, and understand that “opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.
Now, this may all be too old-fashioned thinking, for our modern day leaders in Washington to grasp. Old-fashioned or not, history repeats itself, and in the words of Winston Churchill, “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
And so here’s what I see, in any direction I look: Each one of us is responsible for our own individual prosperity and happiness – not government. Period. It starts there, and ends there.
Yes, you and I can see plainly where we need to lead the nation. The liberals in Washington only see where they need to lead their next re-election campaign. But that’s okay. We’ve got something on our side that they don’t: hard work. And a little “luck”.