[Guest post by DRJ]
Earlier this month, Michelle Obama campaigned in Zanesville, Ohio, where nearly a quarter of the residents live below the poverty line. She connected with locals who are feeling the economic pinch by sharing how hard it has been for the Obamas to give up money-making for helping:
“Michelle Obama stopped by the other day during a campaign visit and warned the locals to not go for the big money.
“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she told a group of women at a day-care center. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.”
Of course, the Obamas haven’t had to give up that much. Her “helping” salary from the University of Chicago Hospital increased $195,052 between 2004-2005 to over $300,000. In addition, what enabled them to finally pay off their school loans was a big dose of capitalism:
“Barack and I were in that position,” continued Michelle Obama, complaining about the college loans. “Up until a few years ago, we were struggling to figure out how we would save for our kids.”
And then, Shazam!, capitalism saved the day.
“The only reason we’re not in that position is that Barack wrote two best-selling books,” she explained. “It was like Jack and his magic beans.”
And the truckers in the “money-making industry” who delivered the books? They’re not in a “helping industry”? And they’re more greedy than a community affairs coordinator at a hospital, pocketing $316,962?”
The helping industry is important but the world needs more than nurses, teachers, and social workers. It also needs capitalists, entrepreneurs, and innovators with ideas that can help far more people than one helper can ever reach. Innovators and capitalists have made it possible for the world to have cars and airplanes, the assembly line, breakthroughs in crops and pasteurization, medical advances, computers, and more that have made the world an infinitely better place.
The US and the world benefits from helpers but, unlike Michelle Obama, we should also encourage people to be innovators and capitalists.