Meet Terry Savage:
Last week, I was in a car with my brother and his fiancee, driving through their upscale neighborhood on a hot summer day. At the corner, we all noticed three little girls sitting at a homemade lemonade stand.Awwww.
The three young girls -- under the watchful eye of a nanny, sitting on the grass with them -- explained that they had regular lemonade, raspberry lemonade, and small chocolate candy bars.AWWWWWWWWWWW, how nice. They're sharing their candy with strangers, sweetly inverting the idiom. Surely Ms. Savage is about to tell us how these girls have amazing parents and a great nanny.
Then my brother asked how much each item cost.
"Oh, no," they replied in unison, "they're all free!"
I sat in the back seat in shock. Free? My brother questioned them again: "But you have to charge something? What should I pay for a lemonade? I'm really thirsty!"... Ok, but she still is going to be nice to the little girls, right?
His fiancee smiled and commented, "Isn't that cute. They have the spirit of giving."
That really set me off, as my regular readers can imagine.
"No!" I exclaimed from the back seat. "That's not the spirit of giving. You can only really give when you give something you own. They're giving away their parents' things -- the lemonade, cups, candy. It's not theirs to give." *
I pushed the button to roll down the window and stuck my head out to set them straight.That's right, she publicly berated little girls for not being more greedy. Despite it sounding like they have parents who are quite capable of giving them quite a bit, these girls should be grabbing desperately at every penny like good patriotic American capitalists. In fact, little girls being nice to strangers is what's wrong with this country.
"You must charge something for the lemonade," I explained. "That's the whole point of a lemonade stand. You figure out your costs -- how much the lemonade costs, and the cups -- and then you charge a little more than what it costs you, so you can make money. Then you can buy more stuff, and make more lemonade, and sell it and make more money."
No wonder America is getting it all wrong when it comes to government, and taxes, and policy. We all act as if the "lemonade" or benefits we're "giving away" is free.Really, she's not kidding.
And so the voters demand more -- more subsidies for mortgages, more bailouts, more loan modification and longer periods of unemployment benefits.
The government only gets the money to pay these benefits by raising taxes, meaning taxpayers pay for the "free lemonade." Or by printing money -- which is essentially a tax on savings, since printing more money devalues the wealth we hold in dollars.It's quite clear; being taught to care about other people is the same as being taught to hate America, land of the free (corporation). And how dare Congress be so ignorant as to try to direct unemployment funds to those people who have been paying into the system for years and now need help when there are rich people who aren't sufficiently pleased with the amount of free money they receive?
If we can't teach our kids the basics of running a lemonade stand, how can we ever teach Congress the basics of economics?
She's not done yet, either.
Or maybe it's the other way around: The kids are learning from the society around them. No one has ever taught them there's no free lunch -- and all they see is "free," not the result of hard work, and saving, and scrimping.Yes, look around the US today and the clear problem is everything is being given away for free. The kindness of a few young girls shows that what's wrong with the country is the kids might possibly be being taught to expect everything for free by policies designed to try to help the suffering not slip into abject poverty via paltry sums. The woman actually titled a column about being offered free lemonade "There Is No Free Lemonade". Her do logic good.
If that's what America's children think -- that there's a free lunch waiting -- then our country has larger problems ahead. The Declaration of Independence promised "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." It didn't promise anything free. Something to think about this July 4th holiday weekend.
I know what you're thinking, this didn't actually happen, no one could be so ideologically compromised as to yell at little girls for offering her free lemonade on a hot day, this is just another wingnut cabdriver apocryphal story. Maybe, but she's committed to the lie.
This column is a true story -- every word of it. And I think it very appropriate to consider around the Fourth of July, Independence Day spirit.I might visit this thoughtful woman's work again someday.
* - They aren't the girls' things to give, but they are the girls' things to profit from, and if the parents asked for a cut of the profits that would be government intrusion on the free market. This sounds like tortured logic, but it's quite simple. If something was given to you, like the candy to the girls, it's rude to re-gift it. Selling it shows you valued it, like corporations using publicly owned resources.
Edited to correct Terry Savage's gender. Thanx tree.