Safety Nets – ctd.

I tried to say this a few weeks ago, but David Brooks did it better today:

Middle-class parents don’t deprive their children of benefits so they can learn to struggle on their own. They shower benefits on their children to give them more opportunities — so they can play travel sports, go on foreign trips and develop more skills.

People are motivated when they feel competent. They are motivated when they have more opportunities. Ambition is fired by possibility, not by deprivation, as a tour through the world’s poorest regions makes clear.

Many of us had the safety net of our families. We lucked into them from birth. They didn’t give us everything, but they provided us with the solid floor from which to jump. We want to be careful not to remove the desire for others to jump higher, but not everyone gets the same experiences we do.

The American dream is one of an equality of opportunity. If you remove the chance for people to succeed, that’s when despondency and dependence will set in.


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