Personal Pledge 32
by Larry Elder
1. There is no excuse for lack of effort.
2. Although I may be unhappy with my circumstances, and although racism and sexism and other "isms" exist, I know that things are better now than ever, and the future is even brighter.
3. While I may be unhappy with my circumstances, I have the power to change and improve my life. I refuse to be a victim.
4. Others may have been blessed with more money, better connections, a better home environment, and even better looks, but I can succeed through hard work, perseverance, and education.
5. I may be a product of a single- or no-parent household, but I will not hold anyone responsible for my present, or allow anyone to interfere with my future. Others succeed under conditions far worse than mine.
6. Some schools and teachers are better than others, but my level of effort, dedication, curiosity, and willingness to grow determine what I learn.
7. Ambition is the key to growth.
8. I will set apart some time each day to think about where I want to go, and how I intend to get there. A goal without a plan is just a wish.
9. "Luck" is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
10. If suitable role models are not nearby, I will seek them out.
11. A role model is someone who, through hard work and a positive outlook, has achieved.
12. A role model may be a parent, relative, friend, church member, judge, doctor, attorney, businessperson, or someone Iâ€™ve read about in the newspaper or seen on the local news.
13. I will contact role models and seek their advice, guidance, and counsel. People remember when they were my age and are eager to help.
14. I will seek out recommended magazines, articles, books, biographies, videos, and motivational and how-to books, and use them for education and motivation.
15. The light is always green. You cannot go full speed with one foot on the brake.
16. I am always "in school," and I will not waste my summer by failing to read about and speak to people who can inspire me.
17. I will avoid friendship with people who do not share my goals and commitments. Nonsupportive relationships waste time and energy.
18. I will not seek immediate results, as I understand life is a journey and not a destination.
19. I will read a newspaper each day.
20. I will entertain myself in ways that challenge and expand my mind. As someone said, a mind once expanded never returns to its original size.
21. I will pay attention to my diet and overall fitness, as they are the keys to a healthy and productive body and an enthusiastic mind.
22. Drugs are stupid. People who believe in drugs donâ€™t believe in themselves.
23. I understand that jobs of the future require more preparation and training than ever, and I am determined to obtain the necessary background.
24. A well-rounded, competent student studies math and science.
25. People are not born "deficient in mathematical ability." Through hard work and dedication, the subject can be mastered.
26. It is essential that I learn to speak and write standard English. This is not "acting white," but acting smart.
27. A strong vocabulary is the key to communication, and I will read books on vocabulary enrichment.
28. I expect sometimes to be teased, even ridiculed. This will not stop me; it will only make me stronger and more determined.
29. I control my body and will not create a child until I am spiritually, psychologically, educationally, and financially capable of assuming this awesome responsibility.
30. Life is difficult. I expect setbacks and will learn from them. Struggle creates strength.
31. Every day is precious, and one without growth is squandered.
32. There is only one me, and Iâ€™m it!
Laurence A. Elder December, 1994
Ten Point Elder Plan
by Larry Elder
1) Abolish the IRS
Pass a National Sales Tax--Also known as the "Let's Make Tax Lawyers and Lobbyists an Endangered Species Act." A simplified tax code gives lobbyists little to lobby about. A low tax rate spurs people to work harder without resorting to schemes to "shelter" income. At the turn of the century, government took 10 percent of the national income. Now it takes nearly 40 percent. Low taxes means higher productivity and greater job creation. Let's welcome any move to reduce our tax burden, whatever form it takes.
2) Reduce Government by 80 percent
Less than 2 percent of Americans are farmers, yet the Department of Agriculture adds still more bureaucrats. And what exactly does the Department of Commerce do? Do we need the Small Business Administration? Amtrak? The Tennessee Valley Authority? Department of Education? Before 1950, the government largely stayed out of the housing business. Now we have housing projects in all of our major cities. They have become sewers of crime and drugs. The government, an absentee landlord, couldn't care less. The private sector can build housing more cheaply, with an incentive to maintain the property and screen tenants.
3) End Welfare, Entitlements and Special Privileges
Welfare for the poor works out to a national average of $12,000 to $13,000 a year (cash and non-cash) per recipient. Why work at minimum wage? Why worry about impregnating someone when the government shields you from financial responsibility? But welfare for the non-poor, or entitlements, are five times as bad. This includes Social Security (the average recipient has put in fifteen cents for every dollar he or she takes out), Medicare, tuition tax credits, farm and dairy subsidies, tobacco subsidies, as well as government ownership or control of airports and utilities.
4) Abolish the Minimum Wage
A low-paying job remains the entry point for those with few marketable skills. The minimum wage hurts the so-called hard-core unemployable by forcing an employer to pay more than the fair value of labor. Every time the government raises the minimum wage, thousands of entry-level jobs get destroyed.
5) Legalize Drugs
Legalization does not mean approval. America spends at least $20 billion a year to fight a losing battle against drugs. (Research by William F. Buckley places America's direct and indirect costs of this "war" at more than $200 billion a year.) Experts say that worldwide, the annual drug trade may be as high as $500 billion! "Just say no" ain't gonna stop that. The drug trade provides an economic incentive for children and teens to drop out of school and earn fast money. It accounts for 50 percent of all street crimes and perhaps 30 percent of the prison population. Tax drugs, and use the money for drug treatment and additional police protection. Drug legalization would free up prison spaces, vacancies that could be used to lock up violent criminals. What about the harm to society? Drug abuse would have to increase well over fivefold to match the deaths caused by cigarette smoking (allegedly 400,000 a year).
6) Take Government Out of Education
Before the mid 1800s, elementary and secondary education (except for slaves) was largely parent financed. Today, taxpayers spend more than $6,000 a year per student, more than virtually any other country, including Japan. With what result? Poor test scores, high dropout rate, kids incapable of filling out employment applications. Why can't the private sector assume this responsibility? Let's cheer anything, including vouchers, that takes us in this direction.
7) Drop the Davis-Bacon Act
This little-known act compels contractors bidding on government jobs to pay union wages. This cuts out competent, non-union workers willing to work for less. This hurts minorities, many of whom were for years discriminated against by unions.
8) Eliminate Corporate Taxes
The government taxes corporate profits and re-taxes the dividends, taking money otherwise used to reduce prices, pay higher dividends, pay higher salaries, or invest in research and development. More corporate investment means more jobs.
9) Charity from People Not Government
During the 1980s, the "decade of greed," charitable contributions by corporations and private citizens increased by at least 30 percent! Why? People had more disposable income, paid fewer taxes, and therefore gave more away. Americans are among the most generous people on Earth. But people want their money to go to people and organizations that they choose and trust.
10) End Protectionism
How many people know that Japanese trucks and minivans cost $2,000 more due to import tariffs? Government-mandated "price supports" force consumers to pay more for milk. Government goodies for the tobacco and sugar industries stiff consumers. Congress imposes a mind-boggling array of rules and regulations to protect declining, inefficient businesses, while taking money away from new ones.