It’s the great American myth: We tell our children that hard work is the key to success.  Yet, we are bombarded with stories and images of people who have done nothing to achieve wealth, success, and/or fame.  So, why are we surprised when young people act entitled, when they don’t see the value in hard work?  Our economic system certainly doesn’t.

Unfortunately, the reality is that only 1% of our citizens can live the luxurious lifestyle so revered in American culture.  The rest of us poor slobs can work, and work, and work, but we’ll never be able to afford the clothes, the cars, the vacations, the decadent vapidness.  Despite this, our corporations, our advertising, and even our government implores and cajoles us into consuming.  Our culture extolls the necessity of “keeping up with the joneses.”  Our products are inferior, so we must consistently replace them.   And the banks and credit card companies love it, as we need more and more money from them.

We look around, and who enjoys the splendor of our GDP?  Not the hard-working farmer, janitor, computer scientist, teacher, or mid-level manager.  Sure, some of these people do OK… they have iPads, don’t they?  But more often, it’s the corporate crooks, the trust-fund princes, and the trophy wives who get to holiday in Fiji and drive Mercedes.  And then we blame our kids for thinking that they are deserving of the same without putting in any effort?

No, we should blame ourselves for letting it get this bad.  For not seeing past the rhetoric.  For rewarding people with slippery ethics.  You want your children to grow up with American values?  Then take back America.