How To Become A Nation Of Takers
President Obama’s agenda was a menu of temptations intended to change the nation’s social norms by making Americans comfortable with the degradation of democracy. This degradation consisted of piling up public debt that binds nonconsenting future generations to finance current consumption.
In 2010, government, at all levels, transferred more than $2.2 trillion in money, goods and services to recipients: $7,200 per individual, almost $29,000 per family of four. Before 1960, only in the Depression years of 1931 and 1935, did federal transfer payments exceed other federal expenditures.
Between 1960 and 2010, entitlements exploded from 28 percent to 66 percent of federal spending. By 2010, more than 34 percent of households were receiving means-tested benefits.
As evidence of the moral costs, means-tested entitlement recipience has become celebrated as a basic civil right; hence, the stunning growth of supposed disabilities. The normalization and then celebration of dependency help explain the “unprecedented exit from gainful work by adult men.”
Today, 27 percent of adult men do not consider themselves part of the workforce. A large part of the jobs problem for men today is they simply do not want to work.
Work now is viewed as neither a duty nor a necessity. The work ethic has become the gaming and defrauding of disability entitlements. In 1960, an average of 455,000 workers were receiving disability payments; in 2011, 8.6 million were — more than four times the number receiving basic welfare benefits under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Nearly half of the 8.6 million were “disabled” because of “mood disorders” or ailments of the “musculoskeletal system and the connective tissue.” It is essentially impossible to disprove a person’s claim to be suffering from disconsolate feelings or back pain.
In 1960 approximately 134 Americans were engaged in gainful employment for every officially disabled worker; by December 2010 there were just over 16 working for every one officially (whatever that means) disabled worker. This, in spite of the fact that public health is much better, and automation and the growth of the service/information economy had made work less physically demanding. So what is lacking? Answer: A work ethic.
Work ethic is a set of values based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. An example would be the Protestant work ethic; a work ethic that includes being reliable, having initiative, or pursuing new skills.
Workers exhibiting a good work ethic should be selected for better positions, more responsibility and ultimately promotion. Workers who fail to exhibit a good work ethic may be regarded as failing to provide fair value for the wage the employer is paying them and should not be promoted or placed in positions of greater responsibility.
What was once understood as the work ethic was not only hard work, but effort accompanied by a set of virtues. Conservatives believe that laziness is morally wrong, even reprehensible, because one is not doing their share of the work and living off of the hard work of others.
The decline of work ethic is not uniquely an American problem, but one that is affecting all nations. However, if we examine the American workplace today with a comparable example from the 1930s, 1960’s, or even the 1990’s, it’s easy to see that America has lost sight of the virtues that comprise work ethic; the very things that helped to build the country.
The pursuit of happiness and the American Dream drove progress and innovation, but they came with unintended side effects. In many cases, healthy ambition has morphed into greediness. Urbanization and an emphasis on large-scale businesses means fewer and fewer kids are learning about work in the natural course of family life. Technological advances that make life faster, more fun, more entertaining, and easier to navigate are also consuming our time and energy while eliminating avenues for learning vital concepts about work. Pop psychologists have pushed parents to focus on building self-esteem in their children, creating generations of me-centric workers. Is it any wonder so many employers use terms like entitled, disengaged, unmotivated, and disloyal when describing their current workforce and potential labor pool?
Those entering the workforce today don’t always want to work, and when they do, their work is based on expectations that don’t always line up with those of their employers. All too often, the young worker shows up ten minutes late wearing flip-flops, pajama bottoms, and a T-shirt that says “My inner child is a nasty bastard.” Then she fidgets through her shift until things slow down enough that she can text her friends or update her Facebook page from her smartphone.
All too often, these bright and ambitious recruits see work as something to avoid or as a necessary evil to endure prior to winning the lottery, landing a spot on a reality television show, or getting a cushy, high-paying job with a corner office and an expense account. People need a reality check. If you only have a high school diploma, you are not going to make $75k/yr. to sit in front of a computer. So stop wasting your valuable time playing computer games.
Passion doesn’t fuel work ethic; work ethic fuels passion. Most people want to go about it backwards. They want to let their passions propel their efforts. They want an emotion-driven life, but our emotions don’t always lead us where we need to go or keep us where we need to be.
You can’t produce heat in a fireplace by saying, “Once there’s a fire, I’ll put in some logs.” You put the logs in and build a fire, and then you’ll get some heat. Likewise, the passion you have for a job is directly related to the initiative you put into it. Many highly successful people in all walks of life have discovered that because they put a great amount of effort into their job, their job eventually becomes their passion. They didn’t set out to be the world’s greatest carpet installer, data entry clerk, or fry cook; they just set out to be the best they could be while in their jobs and the next thing they knew they were awesome at it!
Employers are searching for positive, enthusiastic people who show up for work on time, who are dressed and prepared properly, who go out of their way to add value and do more than what’s required of them, who are honest, who will play by the rules, and who will give cheerful, friendly service regardless of the situation. So get to work! Do something! Anything! Grab a bag and walk alongside the road looking for recyclable items. Ask your neighbors if they would like their grass cut or their automobile washed. And every day you should begin by submitting a resume to at least one place of business.
Work ethic? Yes, it can be found in the Scriptures!
Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.(2 Thessalonians 3:8-10)
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; (Colossians 3:23)
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