Democrat presidential candidate Howard Dean was quoted today in Rolling Stone Magazine as saying, "...Republicans believe that, if you are rich, you deserve it, and, if you are poor, you deserve it..."
I am doing my best to be objective about his statement and not quote him out of context. However, the quote I saw on Fox News was rather lengthy and began with the Dean opinion, "Republicans are meaner than Democrats..." In the interest of preserving the man's intellectual dignity, this is all that I will quote here. If that 'meaner' quote is indicative of his opinions of the readers of Rolling Stone, I pity them, because he must think they're all five year-olds, with no more ability to reason than a pea.
I should also state my biases here. I am not a card-carrying Republican, but I have since 1992 voted Republican in the presidential elections. My voting record otherwise is all over the map.
So--Do we deserve our wealth or poverty?
I believe, in general--yes, we do.
HOWEVER, I also believe that chance plays a large part in our fortunes. It is possible to inherit one's millions or to win them in the lottery, just as it is also possible to get laid off from one's job and be unable to find another before one's savings run out. I know plenty of people who were formerly well-employed, who are now living off of unemployment compensation.
Sometimes, the luck comes in the form of sheer intelligence. Some of us are more able to become wealthy than others.
But I believe that, when it comes to making ourselves poor or wealthy, we have some degree of control over that. We decide to apply ourselves in high school, to go or not go to college, to be responsible about our personal finances, to experiment with drugs or not, and so forth. We decide whether or not to become entrepreneurs, and, depending upon our talents and drive, we either succeed or fail at business. We make the networking contacts, or we don't. We choose to read the books and study business and management techniques, or we don't. Though chance plays a large part in whether we become wealthy or poor, much of it is up to us.
It is a truth that some people I think would rather not face and/or don't want to accept, and it is a truth that can be twisted to suit political purposes by enflaming people into feeling disenfranchised, but I believe it is still the truth.
Rich or poor--for the most part, it's no one's fault but our own, people. We reap what we sow. We earn what we deserve.