Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Needs vs Luxuries in the 21st Century

There are reasons that affluent societies eventually fall. The people become accustomed to ease, forget the lessons of the past, lose the stomach for controversy, and believe they are entitled to luxuries. Hopefully, the America that we know and love will hit the reset button and revert to some extent to the values that created the greatest nation on earth.

There seems to be a belief among Progressives, Liberals, and apologists that every American, US legal resident or even illegal residents should be entitled to what those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s  considered  luxuries.

Those of us who fall within the Baby Boomer Generation grew up at a time that was considered an affluent post WWII America. However, the affluence that everyday American’s enjoyed during those times would be considered abject poverty by today’s standards.

My husband, my friends and I came of age during a time where the average home had one telephone ( a black Bakelite rotary dial phone that was connected by a cord to the wall and then to the telephone lines outside). Long distance calls cost extra. We didn’t make long distance calls except on special occasions such as a birthday, Christmas, or a death in the family.

My family owned two cars. My parents paid cash. They saved their money to buy a new car every few years. If they couldn’t pay cash, they didn’t buy a new car. 

My family did not have junk food. We did not drink soda except on special occasions such as my Aunt’s wedding or when we visited Grandpa Copeland, or when we split one 7 Up on Saturday afternoons when Dad popped popcorn for lunch. We drank milk, water, or Kool-aid.

We did not have potato chips, candy, steak, fresh fish, Cheetos, Fritos, pizza, fast food, or desserts regularly. Mom cooked daily and stretched the meat by using rice, macaroni, or spaghetti with hamburger. After school my siblings and I were allowed 3 cookies each. 

Our house had one television with the basic channels — far less than 13. We played cards or board games or read books or visited with friends. There were no computers or video games. We played outside until it was dark. Our exposure to TV was limited. We couldn’t afford to go to the movies very often and snuck our own home made popcorn into  the cinema.

My siblings and I wore hand-me-downs and were grateful to have them when somebody with a “cool wardrobe” shared. A new outfit was a treat. We only bought shoes on sale. Yet we never felt deprived. And the fact that our parents were thrifty allowed us to go to college and travel.

Too many people living in the USA today believe they are entitled to luxuries paid for by the taxes of those of us who have worked hard, paid our dues, studied, worked crap jobs for less than minimum wage, fought to break barriers for women and people of color, endured hardship, overcame abuse or bad marriages and survived the vagaries of life. We deserve to keep what we have EARNED! If we have achieved a certain level of income through sheer determination, it is unjust to take our earnings to redistribute to those who are able bodied but unwilling to put in the same effort. Our parents were children of the Depression and knew deprivation. They were thrifty in adulthood and passed their experiences on to us. They washed and recycled plastic bags and tin foil. 

Most of those on public assistance today live far better than many of us who came of age during the age of Camelot. That is why I have no tolerance for 21st Century “Entitlements”. It just isn’t just!

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