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Jewish World Review Dec. 9, 2004/ 26 Kislev, 5765

Larry Elder

Larry Elder
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Hard work wins — still | Democratic pundits still scratch their heads as they try and figure out what the recent presidential election tells them. They believe that voters rejected the messenger, rather than the message. But how many different ways can they come up with to tax, spend, regulate and redistribute the wealth? Democrats think your money belongs to the government. If you have a lot, goes the Democratic ideology, you married it, inherited it, cheated for it, found it or lucked into it. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., once said, "Those who have prospered and profited from life's lottery have a moral obligation to share their good fortune." Life's lottery? In Gephardt's case, someone might tell his family about how they benefited from "life's lottery." According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Richard Andrew Gephardt has come a long way from the lower-middle-class St. Louis neighborhood where he grew up. He has parlayed hard work, a keen sense of what will sell and a self-effacing manner into the fourth-highest elected post in the U.S. House of Representatives. ... A devotee of the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, (his mother) brought home a copy of 'The Power of Positive Thinking' one day when Gephardt was 8 and had him read it. Self-improvement was her cause, and cheerfulness her article of faith. 'She kept those kids busy. If it wasn't the dishes, it was homework. If it wasn't homework, it was music lessons. Or Scouting or working in the garden,' recalls…a cousin.

Looks like young Gephardt applied himself and became somebody. Hard work wins. Wow.

Longtime ABC newsman and commentator Sam Donaldson is, like Gephardt, a liberal, although the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says, "Donaldson labels himself a moderate, 'with some liberal tendencies.'"

According to Investors Business Daily,

Sam Donaldson had an epiphany between his first and second years at the New Mexico Military Institute. His widowed mother sent her rambunctious son to the high school hoping he'd pick up some discipline. But as Donaldson, now 67, told the Academy of Achievement, the only thing he learned that first year was how to pick up demerits and walk around the campus quadrangle with his rifle, punishment for his various infractions. I mean, I really was in sad, sad shape, he said. But something happened that summer. I can't tell you what. I just sort of said to myself: 'I don't like this. This is not fun, being the saddest cadet.' So he turned himself around. He polished his brass and shoes, got to reveille on time and made high grades. By the end of that year, he was one of only half a dozen cadets promoted to sergeant. ...

... Donaldson landed a job at the Dallas CBS affiliate, and then moved on to Washington's WTOP, where he devoted himself, as he put it, single-handedly, single-mindedly to his new job. He believed that to succeed: You have to do it the way Horatio Alger did it. You have to work harder than the next person. You have to take the dirty jobs. You have to work on the weekends, and you have to work nights; you have to get up at 2 o'clock in the morning.

That sounds pretty hard, pretty mean, but my observation has been that you have to give 110 percent, Donaldson said. If you do that, you'll beat the people who are smarter than you. I've left behind a lot of people who were smarter than I am or more handsome because they weren't willing to do that.

Once again, hard work wins.

What about the rich? Surely they benefited from the luck of the draw? By luck, liberals don't mean the rich were born in America, and therefore benefited from unparalleled opportunity. No, they mean the rich possess advantages — better neighborhoods, better schools — so society can legitimately make claims on their income. Forbes, in a recent list of 552 billionaires, called 326 of them "self-made."

According to The Wall Street Journal, "A 2002 study by Capgemini found that more than half of the high-net-worth individuals in the U.S. were 'new money,' or self-made millionaires. Inherited money is declining as a share of wealth in the U.S., according to the study, accounting for less than 20 percent of high-net-worth individuals in 2002."

Telling "the poor," or "minorities," that they fail to benefit from "life's lottery" damages psyche and initiative.

A 1994 Times-Mirror Center survey showed that fewer blacks earning more than $50,000 a year believe "everyone has the power to succeed" in America, than do low-income whites. "Social programs" like AFDC and food stamps — government programs designed to "uplift" the inner city — create dependency, lessen initiative and harm the very people the do-gooders want to help. During a 1977 Senate hearing on the impact of government programs on neighborhoods, liberal Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wisc., told a witness, "You would probably have better neighborhoods today if there had been no federal programs at all!"


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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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