Those who “chase after all the usual brass rings” display “a poverty of ambition

@dboman (457)
United States
June 3, 2010 2:03pm CST
http://article.nationalreview.com/435331/happy-now/arthur-c-brooks This article got me thinking. President Obama made the statements in the title above at an Arizona State University commencement speech. "He told them they could do better than 'this "who's who" list or that top 100 list.'" Obama has been very supportive of the redistribution of wealth and implying an inherent unfairness in the capitalist system. Here are some videos of Obama making statements supporting RoW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgP2LcSwjQk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoqI5PSRcXM&feature=related The story goes on citing a study done by Harvard University's School of Public Health: "a group of students and faculty were asked to choose between earning $50,000 per year while everyone else earned $25,000 -- or earning $100,000 per year while others made $200,000. The researchers stipulated that prices of goods and services would be the same in both cases, so a higher salary really mean being able to own a nicer home, buy a nicer car, or do whatever else they wanted with the extra money. However, the results showed that those materialistic perquisites mattered little to most people: 56% chose the first option, hypothetically forgoing $50,000 per year simply to maintain a position of relative affluence." Another excerpt: "One problem with the redistributionists' approach is that it's based on a flawed premise -- that greater income equality will bring us greater flourishing and happiness." It cites another study done by the General Social Survey: "500 American adults the following question: 'How successful do you feel in your work life?' Some 45 percent answered 'completely successful' or 'very successful.' The rest said that they were 'somewhat successful' or less so. Among the first group, 39 percent said they were very happy in their lives. In the second group, just 20 percent said they were very happy." I am a firm believer that money alone does not create happiness, but the act of earning it does. By this thinking, things like the lottery and welfare are actually detrimental to the happiness of the people who win/receive them. President Obama believes that the money itself is what makes people happy...not the success. This is the basis behind his, and many other's "redistribution of wealth" ideals and efforts. What do you guys think? Is it the money or the success that leads to happiness? Can anyone be truly happy when they don't have to work hard to gain their income?
1 person likes this
5 responses
@laglen (19782)
• United States
4 Jun 10
I feel a job well done is far better than a pocket full of food stamps. This is old fashioned. Who does this anymore? I have no desire to be rich. I simply want to make sure that my bills are paid, there is a decent roof over our heads and food in our bellies. There are far more important things in life. I volunteer alot through out each week. I could stop doing that and work more, make more money, die sooner, well you see my point. I want to make an honest living and have honest relationships. Obama is of a mind that no matter your desire or drive, we should all be equal.
@dboman (457)
• United States
4 Jun 10
Agreed. As a conservative, I've faced the charge that we only care about money. To me, it seems that the Left thinks the only way to solve a problem is with money. Thanks for volunteering, I know that when I volunteer I feel better about myself than after a day at work. I haven't done the research, but I have a friend who says that on average Republicans give far more to charity than Democrats. It makes sense, because it falls in line with the ideological thinking behind the two (D want government to give to poor, R want VOLUNTARY giving to poor). I think you're right about Obama, and that's a dang shame.
1 person likes this
@laglen (19782)
• United States
4 Jun 10
your friend is right, as do Christians. here is a link http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1759256/posts I tried to find more but everything just led to - who would pay more for earth friendly products. I volunteer and donate a ton and would NOT pay more for such products so I disregard that!
@dboman (457)
• United States
4 Jun 10
Thanks for the link, great stuff.
1 person likes this
@TTCCWW (579)
• United States
4 Jun 10
There are several new books out about this subject. The happiest country's are also some of the ones that pay upwards of 50% of their income in taxes, but they don't have to worry about having jobs and health care. Obama has talked about the redistrbution of wealth or that he thinks it is the governments job to fix that. He has many times pointed out that our current trend cannot continue. Over the last 20 years we have had 80% of the wealth going to 2% of the population and when this happens in a country you end up with a third world country. Recent studies show those numbers at 92% of the wealth going to 1.6% of the population. Money is not the answer to all problems but I think the people need to believe that they live where the system is not rigged against them or that they cannot get ahead. The collage age kids that I know do not have it as easy as we did, even though we thought it was hard at the time. And we do not have it as easy as our parents had it financially so we are losing ground somewhere. I did not have to rack up years of debt to get a degree. I know very few folks that have a single income family anymore and many that cannot do it on two incomes. They may be surviving but they are not having any fun along the way. Our country was completely out of balance at the turn of the 20th century and TR changed that and looking back I believe he was absolutely right to do so. Our entire country benefitted in the long run. Look at this chart and make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom if you think there is any balance in our economy.\ http://www.busmanagement.com/news/the-worlds-leading-companies/
@dboman (457)
• United States
4 Jun 10
TTCCWW, do you have a link for the books you speak of? Are they opinion books, or studies done by reputable sources? I would also like to point out that the government entitlements of these countries (which I'm sure Europe is the reference) are unsustainable and are collapsing as we speak. I would like to refute some of your statements if you don't mind. While you make a good point about the large discrepancy of income: a. I have a link to a study that refutes the statistics you mentioned. http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html b. These type of statistics have been present in America for centuries. They are part of the reason you and I live in the luxury we live in today (internet, television, A/C, food on the table, cars, etc.). Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, Benjamin Franklin. All these men made our lives better, how? Not from government subsidies or welfare, but from innovation...the backbone of improving lives and America itself. Why is it that people think they live where the system is not rigged against them? The system is set up to give everyone opportunity, but when success is not given to them too often they blame "the system". In reference to those you know that "are not having fun" I think you may be confusing "want" with "need". Why is it the government's job to insure that people are "having fun" in life? "Life, Liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness" You must work hard and make smart decisions to have a better life...it's not the government's job. It's very possible to support yourself on a small income, but it's not possible to have a 50" TV, new car, 700 satellite channels and superboost internet. These are luxuries, not basic necessities. You're speaking to someone who just graduated from college, so I know a thing or two about living poor...and I'm leaving college with a positive assets to liabilities ratio. Here's a link to the Tax Policy Center's report on the percentage of Americans paying federal income tax: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/1001289_who_pays.pdf "47 percent of tax units will owe no income tax in 2009." thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed into law by President Obama. It's been that way for two years. How has that done for our economy? Your link is about the leading companies in the world...I was talking about personal income in the US. Thanks for commenting and sharing your point of view.
• United States
3 Jun 10
Hi dboman. I think you are talking about two different things when it comes to winning the lottery and getting a welfare check every month. When you win a lottery your life usually changes a lot because you're suddenly very rich, but you can't keep your job anymore so if you were good at it and liked it, you've lost that. If you have to depend on welfare, or even disability, it's because you need it to survive. That doesn't mean that you aren't or can't work towards becoming a success.
@dboman (457)
• United States
3 Jun 10
Yes, you do make a very good point. There is a difference, but there is a common theme: the money you gain is not earned. You're definitely right that being on disability or welfare doesn't mean you aren't or can't work towards becoming a success. This is more about the question of whether money given to you contributes to your happiness. President Obama seems to think so. As for having to depend on welfare or disability, this is kind of another issue than what we're talking about. You have to take the "redistribution of wealth" aspect of this in context. For those instances of necessity, they can be successful in other ways...but the money given to them from the government is not what makes them happy. When dealing with the "redistribution of wealth" we're talking about the government taxing those who are successful, in order to supplement those who are not putting the effort in to be successful. So, I guess the question might be formed better: For those people who are unsuccessful that the government gives money to...do you think the fact that they're getting this money despite being unsuccessful will make them happy? Is it the money, or the success?
@dboman (457)
• United States
3 Jun 10
Hello, and thanks for commenting by the way. :)
@nzinky (822)
• United States
3 Jun 10
He says "He wants to spread the wealth around"........But one of the frist things he did was to stop the Social Security from giving us a raise......The twice he said we were going too get $250.00 but we only got it once we are still waiting on the other one........ Looks like to me that he wants to cut every thing that the Seniors worked all of their life for yet he doesn't cut congress's wages or for that matter he made $5 million dollars this year.......He also wants to cut Medicare beneifits....Looks like to me, He hates Seniors and It looks like he just wants us to die.......Now this is my personal veiw.....But I sure would like to tell him this face to face.... This problem must have cause him to hate old people because what his Grandmother said to him when he was young and she had been beat up by a black man.....But why is he taking it out on us old people....Could it be he hates old people.....
@dboman (457)
• United States
3 Jun 10
He's made a lot of promises he hasn't kept. Unfortunately, I think we're going to have to do some cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to get our debt crisis under control. My proposal for the ones for retired is to do so for those who aren't retired yet, possibly 45 and younger or so...I know it probably won't be a popular idea but it's probably necessary because our mandatory spending is getting out of hand. I don't know that he hates old people, but I would say that he has at least shown a complete disinterest for many American people...including older people.
@wiggles18 (2523)
• Canada
4 Jun 10
I don't think either the money or the act of earning it makes people happy. People are happy when they know they have more than someone else. That is why most would choose the 50K over the 100K, because they would have the most of all people in that situation. We have all got the idea in our head that more is better, that we should be better than everyone else by having more stuff than them. It is not the money that people are chasing, it is the idea. It symbolizes that you have more, and so that is why people want it so much. Alas, people will never truly be happy when they are living like this, as they will just keep wanting more and more, and they will never fill that never ending void in themselves, and be truly happy. Hypothetically, if you had all of the resources in the world, all of the money, to yourself, and everyone were your slaves, what then? You would most likely want more by obtaining more control.You would probably start to manipulate what people did, to have more control and even as a means of entertainment. Sound familiar? Well, it should, it is what the leaders of this world have done and are doing. The world is run by a small group of wealthy individuals who have so much, that they want control of us, and we are their entertainment. They create wars over lies, and then watch us kill each other. But, more and more people are finding out this everyday, you just have to wake up and see what is really going on the world.