About a week ago we went and saw the newest remake of Cinderella, the fairytale where a girl who has lost her parents and is forced to live as a servant for her cruel stepmother and her conniving daughters is able to go to the royal ball and run away with the prince. Along the way she has help from her fairy godmother who turns a pumpkin into a coach, animals into coachmen, and her dress from rags to a dazzling gown that wows everyone in the ball.
It seems that some people wait for fairy godmothers – other people to come in and make their dreams come true. Some people play the lottery, thinking that they’ll hit it big and everything will get better. Others look to the President to create some new program that will lift them from poverty to the middle class. Still others wait for some business owner to discover them and offer to give them the job of their dreams.
Perhaps no one has bought into this idea more in America than urban blacks. In the seventies and eighties, right at the time they had a chance to lift themselves up since the Jim Crow laws and other government-imposed restrictions had been removed, the factories started closing and leaving the inner cities because work rules were making US factories too expensive to compete. Some moved away to where they could find work, but too many stayed and waited for the government to improve their lives. And there they have stayed for forty years, watching their streets decay, their schools turn violent, and their men go through an endless cycle of being raised by a single mother, squandering their school time, getting involved with gangs and drugs, then ending up dead or in prison just as their own children are born.
The most damaging racism left in America isn’t the idiot spouting off in the barbershop – it is the low expectation for blacks that many of them accept and then fail to do the things that would lift them from poverty. A phantom racist force is claimed to deny young blacks a chance, yet in actuality those who hold the keys to a better life such as human resource managers and college admissions officers give preference to people of color. It is the personal acceptance of helplessness, being torn down by others in the black community, and the expectation that someone else will come in and hand them a chance if they just wait long enough that causes generational poverty when the tools to escape are within their reach.
The very nature of the welfare system keeps people of all races down. People correctly calculate that they would make only a little more through working, or even a bit less, than they do on welfare. People therefore choose to stay on welfare, thinking they are getting something for nothing. What they fail to realize is that working gives them experience needed to get better jobs with higher pay that will eventually make their lives far better. That many people take low or no pay jobs to get the chance to get a better one in the future. They also don’t realize the feelings of satisfaction and self-worth that come from putting in a days work.
Capitalism rewards those who contribute, and rewards those the most who contribute the most. It is a uniquely good system because it encourages people to do things for others. People are self-motivated to get out of bed early in the morning to go and make people food, get people the products they need, provide a clean and safe environment for others, educate children, protect others from fire and theft, and build shelter for others. Feed another, and you’ll have food to eat. Feed thousands, and you’ll be wealthy.
Regardless of your background, the opportunity is there for you. No one in the government will create a program that will lift you up. No-one is going to drive up in a limo while you’re standing on the corner and offer you a fantastic job. No one will be waiting outside of the graduation hall to offer you a six figure income. Anything you get will come from your own two hands, and it will come from thinking about the needs of others and doing all that you can to provide for those needs. There are no fairy godmothers, and it is better that way.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to give financial planning or tax advice. It gives general information on investment strategy, picking stocks, and generally managing money to build wealth. It is not a solicitation to buy or sell stocks or any security. Financial planning advice should be sought from a certified financial planner, which the author is not. Tax advice should be sought from a CPA. All investments involve risk and the reader as urged to consider risks carefully and seek the advice of experts if needed before investing.