Monday, February 22, 2016

What is Value?

When I look at the political landscape for November I'm a little terrified. On the one hand we have a power hungry chauvinist who has become a laughing stock among a number of foreign political leaders. Leaders who are our allies, leaders who's favor we need. 

On the other hand we have a liar who will most likely do ANYTHING to be the first women president. 

And if you flip that hand over, you have a socialist.

How did we even reach this point? I love America, but this week I've caught myself wondering what exactly I have in common with most of the people in this country. 

I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon reading through Bernie Sanders website and I was so sad by what I read. I think  that of the three potential candidates, Bernie Sanders is probably the nicest person. I'm willing to bet that he wouldn't kill me if I tried to cross him, or make a chauvinistic joke about my rack...but that doesn't mean he'll get my vote.

Bernie's platform is one of freedom. He supports the freedom to go to college debt free, the freedom to earn a higher wage and the freedom to live life without paying for medical care.

The problem I have with this ideology is that things come a price, and there's a reason for that. When we pay a higher price for a name brand it's generally because that item is a better quality. College comes with a high price tag because it's a valuable commodity that is worth the cost. What will happen when college is free? When scholarships are worthless? When getting into college is something that anyone can do? It will lose it's value. A college degree with decrease in worth and something else will take it's place. We've placed a dollar value on a college degree because it is worth something. When your four years are up and you hold that degree-people know that you worked hard. You sacrificed because it meant something to you.

When we aren't required to put some skin in the game, quality suffers. 

I'm reminded of the housing bubble bursting in 2008. Housing prices were skyrocketing and appreciating faster than they should. At the same time, homeowners were being given 100% financing. That means they could buy a home at no cost to them. They had no skin in the game. So when a year went by and they realized they could no longer make their mortgage payment what happened? They walked away. Certain cities were sitting at a 25% foreclosure rate because the homeowners didn't care. They had no reason to fight, no reason to get a second job, no reason to keep their home. They entered into the contract with nothing and so they walked away with nothing to lose.

When we start allowing people to have things for free, we take away the desire to succeed. If they don't have to work for it (ie healthcare, higher education, a better paying job) then they aren't going to value it. 

Where is the American I thought I knew? It seems like we're split between those who's fear of the unknown has forced them to hate others, and those who don't want to work for something that is worth earning. 



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