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MAY THE BEST MAN WIN
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Essay by:Betty Jo Herring
Emporia State University
MAY THE BEST MAN WIN
“Survival of the fittest” is a concept most of us are familiar with. In nature, some individuals are better competitors than other individuals. Likewise, some species are better competitors than others. Those individuals and species that adapt to changes in the environment tend to survive, whereas those who are unable to adapt generally die out. Competition in nature is, well, natural. We humans live in the natural world, but many of the things we do go against the natural order of things. I believe that if we were to apply the concept of “fitness” to our economy, the situation would eventually level out.
Right now, the government spends more than it takes in, which causes an unbalanced budget, or deficit. Instead of discussing the existing deficit, I would like to put forth some ideas to keep it from getting worse. First, the government needs to stop bailing out failing corporations. If an American automaker is not able to compete with foreign automakers, then the company must adapt to the current environment if it is to survive. The company should ask, “what makes Toyota or Honda so successful?” “Is it the price of the vehicles, the quality of the vehicles, or some other thing?” Once the answers are found, the company has to change what it needs to change to be the better competitor or die out. It is a horrible idea, in my opinion, to reward a company for failure by bailing it out.
Yes, when American corporations go out of business, many Americans are left without jobs. That is a sad result, but it is not a good enough reason for the government to save a poorly-managed corporation. By allowing the corporation to die, it creates space for a new, more “fit” corporation to take its place—one that could compete with foreign automakers. In the meantime, the government can pay the displaced workers unemployment, which would probably be a lot less expensive than a bailout anyway.
Speaking of unemployment, the second idea I have is not a new one but I believe it is a good and necessary one. We desperately need to rethink and reform unemployment and welfare! Not only are the current policies favoring unfit corporations, but also uncompetitive individuals.
Unemployment is a life-saver for people who genuinely need it, but many people take advantage of it and milk it for as long as they can. The side of me that would love to stay at home and be lazy understands why a person would do this. Even so, it is in the best interests of the economy to make it harder for people to milk it. Instead of letting recipients of unemployment search for jobs at their own pace, I think the unemployment agencies should have coordinators who match people with jobs. Once matched, the unemployed person would have to accept the job or forfeit their unemployment pay. Of course, the coordinator would have to consider several factors such as education and experience as well as previous salary when matching people, but if a job is open and the unemployed person is able to do it, then starting at entry level for a lower wage is still better than nothing.
Likewise, welfare is a good thing when it is used properly. However, most of us have known of one or more people who take advantage of the welfare system. I propose that welfare have a time limit and should only be offered on an extended basis to those who absolutely cannot provide for themselves. Welfare recipients who are physically able should be required to find a job or forfeit welfare altogether. Child medical cards and food assistance should be given, but NO welfare checks issued ever. What does the welfare check do, really? I know this is an unpopular idea, but I feel the welfare check harms its recipient more than it helps. Many people who receive them don’t use them for their intended purpose anyway. I have known several people who went and cashed their check on the first of the month and promptly went to buy licquor, cigarettes, drugs instead of buying groceries and paying rent. Others I have seen buying steaks with food stamps.
I work for a living full-time and go to school full-time and receive no assistance whatsoever except for loans, and I rarely eat steak. Yet the person in line in front of me with the food stamp card is buying steak with tax money from me and people like me. Yes, there is something wrong with that. There is something wrong with punishing the fittest and rewarding the poorer competitor. I say, we cut government spending on bailouts and welfare and see where that takes us. Survival of the fittest doesn’t have to apply only in Biology class.
»A new report finds the main problem in getting the public to deal with our fiscal problems isn't opposition to tax increases or spending cuts -- it's their lack of trust in the government to spend their money wisely.