That ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free — Dire Straits
The last thrilling installment of your favorite blogge explored the beatdown of a graduate student near the University of Wisconsin campus here in Madison. Four young men, one only 15 years old, set upon the lone student walking home after nightfall. At random. Not to rob their victim, but to inflict pain, to strike fear. For kicks.
It occurred to the old farm boy who runs this news and opinion stand that the four punks could stand some time making hay. This fine day in June is the day for it: temperatures over 90 degrees F. A tour of the countryside Sunday between Baraboo and Waunakee shows that the first crop of alfalfa, timothy, and clover is cut and curing in abundant sunshine. Ready for the baler.
Not today’s big-bale machines but the old baler that spit out rectangles weighing a good 50 pounds each, scratchy deadweights that need to be stacked well above head high on the wagon using the armstrong method, as we called it. Properly herringboned to secure the bales lest the whole load go tumbling at the turn.
Take the full wagon to the hay barn, where more fun awaits. Disassemble the load by hand, bale by bale, for the ride up the flatbed elevator into the hay mow where another crew lays down rows of bales that will nourish the herd come winter. You’re done for the day only when the sun goes down and your cotton tee shirt is soaking wet.
Now THAT is satisfaction!
Instead, the four young thugs will be given “restorative justice,” whatever that is. Re-educated bureaucrats will apologize for systemic oppression. An ankle bracelet will be fitted if prosecution is not deferred altogether. Rinse & Repeat.
More Free Stuff!
Instead of making hay, the City of Madison is midwifing another giveaway program. Five Benjamins a month for 155 lucky — strike that — UN-lucky families. No work, no strings attached, no baling hay. (Read & weep.) Spend it as you like — even a little blow. Who(m) are we to judge? Call it “restorative economics.” The progressive wet dream of a guaranteed income! Because poverty is the fault of the privileged. Not, as a black delegate to the 1988 Republican convention once told this scribbler, because “poor people have poor ways.” So judgmental!
If guilt-ridden progressives truly wanted to help the poor, they’d give them a year’s subscription to the Wall Street Journal. In today’s edition, U.S. Rick Scott (R-FL) promotes legislation that would require recipients of federally subsidized housing to get a job. The senator writes:
The American dream is rooted in a simple principle: If you’re willing to work hard, anything is possible. … For our country to thrive, we can’t let their toxic plan of increased handouts and getting something for nothing continue. We need to value showing up and going to work. … A job brings income, independence, and security.
The Werkes adds two more benefits: a job brings self-respect and consideration for others.
Thank the sweet baby Jesus there’s no tax money involved — up front, anyways. But taxpayers will pay the price on the back end for more policing. Who are these guilty philanthropists, intent on entitling more societal dysfunction? Deepening dependence on the hand out? With employers crying for workers!
Blaska’s Bottom Line: You can bet the four cowards who beat the hard-working grad student had not put in a day on the hay wagon.
I didn’t grow up on a farm, but helped some others who did bale and load hay a few times and remember how strenuous it was, and I wasn’t a scrawny kid. Got my first job in junior high delivering papers by bike, rain, snow, or shine. Quit junior high sports when I realized how much money I was making. Took several other jobs, some physical and some not, before graduating in a STEM field years later. What I do now isn’t physical work, but still involves stress and hours that everything prior taught me to manage well.
The idea that you can’t get rich through hard work is ludicrous. I’ve got a ways to retirement, but am well on my way to having well into seven figures when I get there through disciplined saving and investment, living within my means (with an occasional splurge), and taking advantage of what the system gives me (which I can’t blame anyone for doing). Many friends of mine in the professional realm are the same way. I work with enough blue collar folks to know that they can do it too doing the same things—many have and they’ve told me so.
No, you’ve proved my point in your post. Without your investments I doubt you’d be what I considered rich (I put the bar at $5 million, but I can be flexible with that). Investments are literally the act of profiting from other peoples’ labor (there’s commodities speculating too, and other stuff that there’s not time for here). But basically it isn’t *your* work that’s getting you rich. Your work gave you the seed money to profit off other peoples’ work in the pyramid scheme we call our economy.
I’m not knocking you, such is the rules of our game. You’re just playing. I have investments too. I’m advocating that the rules be changed to make profiting from other peoples’ work less lucrative and work itself more lucrative because I value work and workers. A lot of people really enjoy accruing wealth through other peoples’ work, I understand why they would not like my idea. I myself would be content making less money from investments and more money working.
You do not mention who measures the value of any piece of work. The government presumably but not a free market as we sort of have. So a plumber in Oregon make this much and a diamond cutter in Newark makes that much.
You have GOT to be a teacher/Educrat.
Ha! Someone doesn’t toe party line propaganda and describes reality for what it is and they must be one of those dastardly educators! Yeah, they are the problem aren’t they? Infecting youth with critical thinking 🙂 I’m not an educator but I suppose I’m flattered you thought so?
I don’t know where you’re going with the other stuff…
Effort that I put in to my career early—more than most were willing to give—gave me the wherewithal to make these investments. But without them, I’d just find other avenues to achieve my financial goals, whether that take the form of tightening my belt, making riskier career moves, a second job, or otherwise. I’ve done each of these things at various points in my life already when I wasn’t on track. As of right now, living within my means, saving hard, and moving up the ladder by working harder than 95 percent of my peers is enough to get me where I want to be. My situation isn’t an isolated one—I know dozens of other success stories that are doing at least as well by doing the same things. My parents came from more modest means than I did but got to the same place with the same methods—they’re now comfortably retired with more money than they will ever spend.
Investments are a lot more than just profiting off of others’ labor (which I really don’t see the problem with either, as there are plenty of people who profit from mine and then return the favor by rewarding me with more work that keeps my salary rising). My investments and work have created literally thousands of well-paying jobs, brought some communities back from the brink of death, and kickstarted emerging markets that improve lives. Capitalism isn’t all warts.
I do not understand the hatred of successful people that seems to pervade progressives. In my experience, people who have a broad loathing of the rich are, with rare exception, those who lack the motivation, intelligence, or both to work the system to their advantage. I’ve known scores of people with fewer resources than I have figure it out, and they inspire me. If you don’t like people taking what it allows them to take, then work to change the laws around it. But that generally involves coming up with better ideas on how to run things, and from the looks of it, progressive ideas are being rejected in greater numbers daily.
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I don’t hate what you appear to be labeling as successful people, and I don’t hate the rich. I only hate hate. Saying truthfully how the rich got rich isn’t hating them. The truth need not be painful unless someone is trying to hide it – and I do believe our culture tries very very hard to hide truth like this. That’s a sign that deep down people have guilt that they wish not to reveal.
It starts with “I earned this with my hard work”, then when that is pierced it’s “I created jobs”. Plantation owners created jobs too. But I bet the plantation workers would have liked to enjoy all the profit from their work, not only the bare minimum to survive. “Working the system to their advantage” also relies on the system working at a disadvantage for others because it’s by definition getting a cut from someone else’s productivity. This isn’t a sign of a culture that values hard work. I don’t like this, and I am working to change it, and right now I’m doing it by refuting common lies.
There are better ideas on how to run things, it starts and ends with democracy. Democracy in political and economic relationships.
The current path is unsustainable. Constant exponential growth is not healthy nor possible in the long term for any system. And our currently structured investment pyramid scheme collapses without constant growth.
Rollie, you continue to harp on the belief that profiting from some else’s labor is a necessarily evil thing and that people can only get rich by screwing someone else over. Neither is true. Plenty of people profit from my work but I’ve been rewarded for it and am content with that. Most other professionals I know feel the same, so who are who to say that mode of thinking is wrong? You make it sound like every rich person is a David Koch or Sam Walton clone when most got successful the same way I did—my own fortitude and not on the backs of others.
Progressives use the “rising tide lifts all boats” argument for raising the minimum wage all the time, but for reasons that escape me refuse to admit that profiting from investments follows the same concept. Yes, some take more than their fair share, but they are few and far between.
Equating the jobs I’ve created for as many people as I have to those created by plantation owners is flat-out insulting. Go ask those people if they feel like slaves. More than a few have personally thanked me for giving them a great place to work and a decent salary. Hearing this from these folks is a wonderful feeling, and if you’ve never experienced it, you should endeavor to do so. It might help you realize that growing wealth brings greater satisfaction than redistributing it.