By definition, an oxymoron is a phrase in which two words of contradictory meanings are used together for special effect, e.g. "wise fool" or "legal murder". Similarly, a dichotomy is a separation where a division within a statement is contradictory . . . for example, "leading from behind". Sadly, particularly in political speak, we are treated to the use of oxymoronic and dichotomic statements on a daily basis. For example some politicians tell us they can grow the economy and create more jobs by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. They would have us believe that "everyone" should have a living wage and be able to support his or her family, even if performing only the most menial jobs.
Those jobs are often considered "starter jobs", where young people, mostly teenagers, "learn to earn". They learn to get to work on time and be dependable. They learn that the company has rules on how employees are expected to dress and the grooming standards that are expected. They learn that a portion of their wages will go to pay their Social Security and Medicare premiums, and other taxes, and that they will continue to pay those until they reach retirement age. They learn that their job requires that they be respectful to customers and, as needed, to cheerfully assist them. They learn that mom and dad will welcome their movement towards independence and will find that the "allowance" they had always been given had stopped, but their duty to take care of certain household chores had not. They learn that their boss or supervisor in the work place can make job demands and alter work responsibilities and they must cheerfully comply and do those new tasks to the best of their ability. They learn that they, and their co-workers will be evaluated based on their performance. They learn too, that poor performance can mean the loss of the job, and that stellar performance has rewards in increased wages and promotions. They learn that those who learn a number of other job tasks, and perform them well, are often the ones who receive the increased wages and promotions. They also learn to build a little nest egg, putting some of their earnings aside. They learn that it is up to them to make their own charitable contributions and to pay for the gifts to others, and even to start paying for things that they want that mom and dad had always paid for. And, importantly, they learn that their earnings may not always be as big as their wants.
Because the youngster learns that wants can most often only be satisfied by having more income, he or she learns that those earnings can only come from investing the time and effort necessary to learn a skill or receive an education that will give them the opportunity to advance beyond the minimum wage job. Learning to earn means looking ahead, figuring out just what lifestyle you would like to have for yourself and your future family. It means figuring out just what field of endeavor will bring you the most satisfaction. The old adage, "find a job you love to do and you will never have to work a day in your life" has a lot of truth to it. But, after you figure out what field of endeavor gives you the most interest but not the income to satisfy your wants, it is your decision as to whether you cut back on your wants or choose a career that will give you the necessary earnings to satisfy your wants. No one but you is responsible for receiving/earning what you consider to be a "living wage". The value of the job doesn't change because of your wants, you have to adapt by preparing for and finding a job that that has the value needed to support your wants and needs.
The over-riding issue being foisted on people is that the federal government is the solution necessary to satisfy their wants. As MIT Professor Dr. Jonathan Gruber said about "Obamacare", the president, and Democrat leadership, was depending on the people being too stupid to understand the essence of that program, knowing that if the people understood it, they would reject it. Now, we have Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton telling us that every person is entitled to not only a "living wage", but also "free health care", and the government should provide it. Please consider this, Medicare, which is for people over 65 years of age, or permanently disabled, has over $36 trillion in unfunded liabilities. The proposals to essentially expand Medicare to the entire 317 million population, and to make it "free", would not be free, it would put 20 of our country's economy in the hands of the federal government . . . and the government 's already bloated bureaucracy would not only levy taxes, it would "control" the health care you receive . . . or more likely, you don't receive. A current example of government controlled health care is the outrageous lack of quality service being provided to our veterans by the VA. Your "freedom" to choose your health care would be greatly diminished or taken away.
Probably the greatest example of an oxymoronic or dichotomic statement was given to us by President Reagan when he said, the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
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