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It turns out that the economy grew at 3.3% last quarter, even though 90% of Democrats think we're in a recession. I don't really understand that, but let's leave that for a minute.

One thing that disturbs me, whenever elections come around, is how politicians talk about "the poor".

In Canada there will likely be an election call tomorrow, so we'll be going through an election at the same time as you Americans will be, though we'll likely be done earlier.

But don't you find that everytime a politician speaks, and especially a politician on the left, they talk about "I met a grandmother with only one leg who had no health insurance whose house burned down and she lost her cat"? It's always one tragedy after another. And the blame? It goes to the government. The government did not do enough. This woman can in no way be blamed for what happened to her, because it was the government's responsibility to care for her.

I once wrote a column based on William Galston's research that says that if you want to not be poor, you only have to do five things: graduate from high school; take a job, any job; stay out of jail; don't have children before you're married; and get married and stay married. If you do those five things, it is very unlikely you will be poor in the long term. You certainly may be for a few years, but in the long term you won't be.

And I think there's a lot of truth to that.

That doesn't mean it will always be easy to make ends meet. But we make ends meet by deciding responsibly how to spend our money. If you buy a huge house on dubious credit, it shouldn't surprise you if you lose your house. If you live in a small apartment, even when your babies are born, so you can save for a downpayment, then you'll likely be okay.

If you forego the cable and get videos out of the library, you'll save a lot of money. If you don't get a car, or survive on only one, you'll do even better.

But we have this idea that anybody who doesn't have two cars and a three-bedroom house with a yard and a large screen TV is poor.

Most of our grandparents grew up in houses that were less than 1000 square feet, and they had four or five kids! We don't understand how good we have it.

Instead of blaming government for all our problems, maybe we should start just being more responsible ourselves.

I am so sick of hearing how all these poor people need the government's help. That makes it sound like you will never get out of debt, never succeed in life, never get a decent job unless the government helps you. You can't do it on your own. You can't look after yourselves.

No wonder we live in a world where parents don't look after their children; where schools won't discipline; where people don't live up to their responsbilities. So many political parties are framing it to say that these things are impossible! That people can't live up to their commitments, can't raise kids (remember It Takes a Village?), can't save for their retirement.

Life is not always easy. It takes sacrifice. It takes hard work. But whether or not you succeed is primarily up to you, not the government. And the more we blame government, and elect governments to fix all our problems, the more we give up moral responsiblity for own lives. And that is not taking our society on a good road.

I would much rather hear the message from a politician that, "Life may get tough soon. The economy is proving remarkably resilient, but we're in a transition time. There are going to be layoffs. There is going to be uncertainty with war, with gas prices, with food prices. But we can get through this, because we have proven ourselves as a nation to be go-getters. We are survivors. In the worst of situations, we have not only triumphed, we have helped others.

So don't despair. Plan for the future. Get yourself a good education and some retraining. Stay close to your family. But keep dreaming those dreams. Keep risking things! That's what has made our country great, and it will continue to be great, as long as we give our best. The government is here to help you by getting out of your way; by letting those dreams you dream fly!"

Wouldn't that be better than an endless litany of all the little people who are desperate without the government's help?

By the way, if you want to see real poverty, visit a Third World slum. There they have no hope. They have nothing with which to make their lives better. Us complaining because we don't have enough stuff really grates on me after working in overseas orphanages. That's where the truly poor live.

To Love, Honor and Vacuum

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At 10:03 AM , OpenID rightfootforward said…

Oh, I like you even MORE now!!

I often find myself feeling jaded because we work so hard to do things right and see people all around us taking advantage of situations, going into debt, and being irresponsible...and then they get all the stuff (like a house) that we can only DREAM about right now. It is entirely frustrating...

But, then I realize that the payoff for doing life the right way, according to God's instruction, is so much bigger, and so much more valuable than any house could ever be. Plus, we have everything we need (and even some things we want!). We are totally provided for and know that it is not my husband's paycheck that is giving us that provision, but God! That is an amazing feeling!

If only the world knew that it doesn't matter how much they try to depend on the government, or themselves, or their family members, or whatever...THEY WILL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH until they learn to depend on God.

You have such a great blog!

Renee @ rightfootforward


At 10:33 AM , Blogger Terry, Ornament of His Grace said…

I linked to this today. You're awesome, Sheila!


At 3:31 PM , Blogger TRS said…

I'm linking too!
All nicely said.

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About Me

Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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