Sep 17

If Only the Poor Could Hold Themselves Back

blimpie use this one

If Only the Poor Could Hold Themselves Back

By Olivia Petrol

The United States is the land of opportunity. Throughout its history, great men and women who started out with nothing have achieved great things: including, Andrew Carnegie, Ralph Lauren, Oprah Winfrey, Ursula Burns, and John Rockefeller to name a few. These people left their humble beginnings behind to attain great things, but not every person in poverty will move up the economic ladder. What differentiates people who remain poor from those who rise up?

One of the main ways a person becomes or remains poor is by purchasing things they cannot afford. If you are living in a trailer, do you really need an 80 inch television? How much bling can a person wear? Why are you buying a bra from Victoria’s Secret when they are significantly cheaper at other stores? Poor decisions lead to poor results.

If a person in the lower economic class wishes to move on up to the middle class, they need to stop spending like they are in the upper class. What differentiates the middle class from the other classes is what they do with their money. Instead of wasting all of their income on purchases of the latest Jay Z or Avenge Sevenfold album, they save more of their money. This does not require a person to take a vow of poverty and live like a hermit on a hill eating wild flowers, but it is a significant shift from how the other classes spend money. The middle class shops smarter; they use coupons, make purchases during sales, and wait until happy hour on Tuesdays to purchase discounted beer and wings at BW3s.

In a broader sense, the middle class has succeeded by delaying gratification. Like individuals in the lower class, people in the middle class do not have all the skills and resources right now to attain what they want, but unlike the lower class, those in the middle are willing to work now to attain their desires at a later date. A great example of the middle class work ethic at work is a student who forsakes going out at night in order to study for their classes. By forsaking the fun of frolicking with friends for the study of scholastic stuff, they eventually excel exceptionally when they complete their exams. The key is to be able to forsake immediate pleasure for a later reward. Psychological research has shown this by demonstrating that children at a young age who were able to forsake eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes in exchange for additional marshmallows were more successful later in life (i.e. higher SAT scores). Individuals who can make sacrifices today can attain great things tomorrow.

The best way to remain poor is to have the belief that others must make sacrifices to benefit them. When people seize money from the rich and redistribute it to the poor, the poor do not become rich; they remain poor, because they have not changed their spending behavior. They are still partying like a rock star, instead of saving like the middle class. Fifty years of the War on Poverty have proven this. Providing the poor with money will not help them.

The shortcomings of providing the poor with money can best be illustrated through the Popeye character Wimpy the Moocher’s approach to life. His catchphrase, “I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” sums up why he stays poor. He expects others to sacrifice in order that he might benefit. Even when people are foolish enough to take him up on his offer, nothing changes. Tomorrow he will continue to be hungry, lack money, beg for money, and fail to pay people back.
If people really want to help the poor, they should stop allowing them to mooch and encourage them to delay gratification. Those in the lower class need to learn how to sacrifice today in order to attain tomorrow. They will only be able to make this change when we provide them with the opportunity of scarcity. We need to stop providing them with a hamburger today in order for them to have steak tomorrow.



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