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How behavior affects economy

November 11, 2011
By BILL FINNIGAN - Community Columnist (editorial@tribtoday.com) , Tribune Chronicle | TribToday.com

The GOP presidential debates have been replete with issues on health care, national debt and immigration. Of all the candidates, Rick Santorum has focused on the desperate need for strong family life in America.

He has announced his Faith, Family, and Freedom tour in Iowa, insisting that social issues are an integral part of his campaign. Not that the other candidates would disagree with Santorum's agenda, but he is the only one insisting that you can't consider the economy apart from the behavior of the individuals who make up the economy.

His point is vital and fundamental, but seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Who wants to hear about moral issues, when the primary need is for more jobs?

We have placed great emphasis on college degrees as a sure means of financial success. Yet how many young people have breezed through four years of higher education with no greater purpose than to receive a bachelor's degree? For instance, what does one do with a degree in humanities? Could it be that the craze of majoring in psychology is motivated by a desire to find out how I tick?

Successful jobs are not guaranteed simply because I've spent time and money in college. After all, the real issue is not how to make a living, but learning how to live. In fact, if I learn how to live, I should have no problem making a living - with or without college. This concept supersedes political, academic and economic theory.

I've watched the Occupy Wall Street crowd from a distance, and wonder what makes them tick. They seem unified in their rebellion and frustration against the capitalistic society that gives them the freedom to demonstrate. Someone has fed them a line that the government and corporations owe them a living. I saw one sign that said, ''Corporations are not People.'' Well, what are they, then?

This country has prospered by those who launched out on entrepreneurial endeavors to create work for themselves and others. How many wealthy people are there today because of one ingenious innovator called Bill Gates? Microsoft's success would have never happened under a Marxist regime.

Sure there's greed and corruption in every facet of corporate America, but that's because of the corrupt nature of individuals, not the system itself. The seeds of fraud and crookedness are resident in any organization, whether government, business or religion. To declare ''war'' on Wall Street is to defeat the very purpose of finding jobs. Government cannot create jobs, because it is totally subsidized by the private sector, i.e. taxpayers.

Interestingly, some group of wealthy entrepreneurs must be paying the bill for these demonstrators. Yes, they are being led like aimless sheep to protest capitalism, while they revere American-made millionaires like Jesse Jackson and Michael Moore. What hypocrisy and confusion.

I believe Santorum's promotion of ''Faith, Family and Freedom,'' as mentioned above, demands careful consideration. These three elements have undoubtedly served as bulwarks of our national history. Our fathers stressed the necessity of personal, Biblical faith, along with the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. Mutual love and respect between parents and children laid a solid foundation upon which a nation could be built.

Honesty, ingenuity, integrity and hard work were instilled in children. These qualities permeated their education, careers and future families. Moreover, this scenario produced a freedom - a liberty and motivation to excel within one's ability; the moral fiber to do right and the God-given privilege of enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Oh, to witness a resurgence of such today.

Finnigan is a Howland resident.

 
 

 

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