Last weekend my son got invited to a party with some of his 2nd grade classmates and something interesting happened that I had not expected – I observed a social experiment that demonstrated the failures of Liberal policy.
There were 7 boys at the party and the plan was for the kids to spend 2 hours at a very large Fun Park that is loaded with all sorts of fun link video games, go-karts, a large indoor playground, putt-putt, bowling, lazer tag, etc. The father who threw the party gave every kid a $25 card to be used at the park and this was very generous considering the games usually required just $0.25 for each play. These 2nd graders could do anything they wanted to do as long as their gift cards still had money on them.
And that is where the social experiment happened! Since this is a fairly safe place, I had toyed with the idea of buying my own card and riding go-karts for an hour or so and then tag along and watch the kids for the rest of the time. Hey sue me; I’m still a kid at heart!
But knowing my son and knowing how difficult it is for 2nd graders to make their money last, I decided to just hang out and observe how these kids handled this new found wealth. I knew it would take much less than 2 hours before the money ran out!
Immediately after receiving the gift cards and the ‘rules’ of the party, my son and one of his friends went to the most expensive ride there (one of those roller coaster simulators where you sit in an enclosed booth that moves) and they dropped $4.00 on one ride that lasted about 5 minutes. Sigh, that’s my boy!
The 7 kids split up into different groups and occasionally reconnected but they were doing what many 2nd grade boys do in a fun park with a fully loaded gift card – spending money like drunken sailors on leave. And sure enough, after about 45 minutes the harsh reality set in with most of them that their cards were getting close to empty.
All of them but a couple – Two of the boys had been frugal about what games they played and it appeared they had plenty of money left on their cards when the majority of the kids’ cards were empty.
What do you think happened next? Did the 5 kids watch as the other 2 played out the rest of their cards?
No! The 5 kids ran around the park to find their parents to reload their cards. I got the sad puppy dog eyes from my son when he said that he had run out of money and the other kids were getting their cards reloaded from their parents. Guilt trip!
I bit and reloaded my son’s card with $5 and watch him join the other kids who suckered their parents out of more money and then the spending frenzy continued.
But after about 15 minutes the 5 kids were then faced with the all too familiar reality that their cards were empty but it still appeared the same 2 kids still had money left. It was getting near the end of the 2 hours and the other parents seemed to take the same approach I did with my son in telling them that there would be no more reloads of the cards.
So now what do you think the 5 kids with empty cards did? That’s right; they lobbied the 2 kids with money to ‘share’ their money with the rest of them so the whole group could continue to play games. Unfortunately, that seemed to work and the kids played for a little while longer and then the party was over – all gift cards fully exhausted.
It’s risky to draw parallels between the spending behaviors of 2nd graders to that of adults but I think human nature is hard wired in us at an early age and how we react to ‘free’ money basically stays the same whether we are 8 years old or 48 years old. These kids all come from upper middle class homes so they aren’t kids who grew up on the street hustling for money but yet look how easy it was for the majority of them to bully money out of the minority who were wise with their money. Once they realized that their ‘free’ money had run out, it was then deemed morally right for them to shake down those who still had money and make them give it to the rest of them.
I can’t help but draw a parallel to current Liberal policy and our sad situation in the US. We hear all the time from people like Elizabeth Warren and Barrack Obama that everyone needs to pay their ‘fair share’ of taxes. We have a country where basically 50% of the people pay taxes and the other 50% receive Government aid. Unemployment benefits can continue for 99 weeks and this removes the motivation for people to seek less than optimum jobs. Liberals tell us that Stimulus spending from the Federal Government is the only way to reduce Unemployment. Entitlement spending amounts to over 90% of all Federal Income taxes collected. The people who are ‘makers’ are penalized by the ‘takers’ because now the ‘takers’ have significant numbers to vote people into office who promise to keep the redistribution of wealth flowing.
We have allowed the fostering of a culture in this country that makes people more concerned about what the Government can give them (and who we can take money from) versus what they can do to earn and create their own wealth. This is a dangerous condition that is not just confined to 2nd graders but goes all the way up to the leader of the free world.