Independence Day Reflection
The purpose of the 7 Daily Nuggets is to teach us what we need to know to live a prosperous life; the things that we may not have learned or are not currently learning in church, school, home or at work. Let’s apply what we learn here and share these nuggets with others. We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. Be a giver in a world of takers.
How independent and free are we?
Independence is the quality or state of being independent.
Here is something I just read in themainwire.com that troubled me and I hope it troubles you too. I quickly got over my troubled thinking as I realized that it is in our troubles that we find our opportunities.
The opportunity is education is massive.
According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Dependence on Government, 63.7 million Americans, or about one in five, is receiving direct government support from Social Security, welfare, or Pell Grants—and that is at its highest level ever.
These individuals are very likely to be receiving additional benefits from other government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid, food stamps, etc., and the total share of Americans receiving benefits is likely to be even higher when considering benefits available on everything from housing to school lunches. The Wall Street Journal found that in 2011, 49 percent of Americans lived in a household where at least one member of the family received a government benefit.
The nation can’t afford to continue increasing spending on these programs, as President Obama has proposed in each of his budgets. Federal spending is exploding—and it is already an eye-popping reality that 70.5 percent of federal spending goes to dependency-creating programs. We are spending more on dependency-creating programs while an ever-shrinking number of taxpayers are paying for them.
Most importantly, it’s bad for Americans. The American Dream is about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, through independence—not dependence on government. Government dependency erodes human dignity and civil society.
These programs were originally designed to help those who fall on hard times and need a safety net. Public policy should head back in that direction. The welfare reform of 1996 helped lift recipients out of poverty and back into jobs by requiring, among other things, that they work. President Obama has undone that requirement. And there are dozens more anti-poverty programs that should be revamped to help those who are able toward self-sufficiency.
At the same time, we must address the looming entitlements crisis: 78 million baby boomers are heading into retirement, and many of them will be entirely dependent on Social Security and Medicare for their income and health care. This dependency is a huge driver of future budget deficits.
We cannot continue on a course of unlimited government spending when fewer and fewer taxpayers are paying for that spending. That is the financial fact. But we also cannot sustain the American Dream on this course—and that is a fact that is intensely personal for every American.
Poverty in American has become a big industry and it is exploited by many, including the chief propagator, our own government.
If we want to end poverty, let’s make education our chief industry.
Entitlement is the worst form of slavery!
You may call it coincidence; I call it providence, the story of a great man from a town called Independence in the State of Missouri. Here is an example of someone who self-educated himself and went a long way from his hometown.
Harry Truman, 33rd President of the United States of America had a lifelong love of reading. Mama Truman taught Harry to read before he started school. She gave ten-year-old Harry a four volume set of essays entitled, Great Men and Famous Women, which Harry read with great enthusiasm.
Although a lack of money kept Mr. Truman from going to college, he continued to read and educate himself. Margaret remembered her father always having a book in his hand when he sat down for a quiet moment. Even in Mr. Truman's last years, he alternated between several books. You probably have heard the tale of Mr. Truman having read all books from the library of Independence, Missouri, the town where he was born and lived. He was a good president during the time when the world was in crisis. A self-educated farm boy that reached the Presidency is attributed for the following two quotes:
"I'm going to fight hard. I'm going to give them hell." “The buck stops here.”
How can we find ourselves and rise again instead of going down in history as another failed society?
Here are things we can all do something about:
1. Fight for your freedom and spread freedom. Be a freedom fighter instead of security seeker. Do we want our kids and grandkids inherit a lot less freedoms than we did?
2. Spread entrepreneurship. Think and act as an entrepreneur and leader, not just as a passive employee waiting for the retirement day. The industrial age where safe and secure jobs were abundant is long gone.
3. Learn and live the entrepreneurial values. The values of initiative, imagination, ingenuity, innovation, tenacity, and self-mastery. It is time to think long term and delay gratification so we can leverage the power of compounding.
4. Be a voracious reader of the great books. Start by reading the books A Thomas Jefferson Education, FreedomShift, 1913, and LeaderShift. Then start reading history, the classics, and so on. Fall in love with reading. Imagine if Americans would just substitute just 30 minutes of their four hours of TV watching with reading every day?
5. Take full responsibility for your life, your future, and your family. Master the fundamentals of life. Money, time, relationships, physical, mental, spiritual health. Live this two letter word motto - “If it is up to be it is up to me.”
6. Tap into self-education and leverage its power. A self-directed education is the only true education. We are all in the education business. Think of it like the oxygen mask; put yours first then you can help those around you.
7. Be a rascal. Chase your dreams with gusto. I believe the best days for America are ahead of us if only 1% of us chased independence and freedom instead of dependence and perceived security.
Wake up America!
Be blessed and be a blessing to others
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)