It’s not haves and have-nots, but dos and do-nots

December 19, 2010

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I CONTINUE to read about the tax cut, and about the sniping on the part of those who feel as though those who’ve accumulated wealth should hand it over or be labeled greedy. This is not an argument about the haves vs. the have-nots. It’s an argument about the dos vs. the do-nots.

Look long and hard at those who have worked to build enough wealth to retire. What is their educational background, how have they saved, what have they done without to amass their wealth? Most important, what are their habits? When given the option, they’ve taken a more difficult path. When there is extra work to be done, they volunteer for it. They’re the “in the office first, last to leave’’ crowd. They decided that university is not all about beer pong and spring breaks, but rather a training ground for a productive life.

In last Sunday’s Ideas section, an item in the Uncommon Knowledge feature described a study showing that winning the lottery does not stave off bankruptcy. The winners blew right through their winnings instead of investing wisely, and after a couple of years, were down on their luck again.

Until the do-nots begin to emulate the habits of the dos, expect this inequality to be an ever-increasing problem in our society.

Fred Bement