Sunday, February 01, 2009

Great Expectations

The California Second District Court of Appeal has upheld the decision to award James Stevens $2.4 million because of some sexual harassment that occurred at his work place. Apparently Mr. Stevens was offended by it, and didn’t feel like he should be subjected to such treatment on the job. I’m sure a lot of people would feel that way.

I think he was expecting a little more money, though. The initial award from the jury was $18.4 million.

On the other hand, Linda, down at the coffee shop, says if it wasn’t for the sexual harassment, she wouldn’t even bother to show up for work. I suppose we all have different expectations in our lives.

Back at Millville Grade School, my old pal Stinky Wilmont was tickled if he managed to get a C on his report card. In gym. I felt the same way if I managed to pull off a B, but that snooty Bernice Hawkins expected to get A’s in everything.

When I order a cheeseburger, I’d like for the lettuce to be at least some shade of green, and I hope that the bun isn’t. Other than that, I’m not too picky. I do know a person that almost always sends her meal back to the kitchen for a redo at least once when the waitress brings it out. Again, different expectations.

The outcome of our last election was influenced greatly by peoples’ expectations of what their government should do for them. Some people expect a lot. Others, not so much.

Being a Libertarian, I’m one of those that doesn’t expect a lot. Libertarians think government should exist to protect its citizens from force and fraud. We’d like our road use taxes spent on roads, and the taxes we pay for education spent on education. And if you’re not bothering somebody else, we think the government ought to leave you alone. As I said, we don’t expect a lot.

Unfortunately, at least for the limited government crowd, people who don’t expect much have been in the minority for the last several elections. At one time, people were pretty much expected to take care of their own retirement. Then, at some point, people started expecting the government to take care of part of their retirement. We’ve now reached the point where a whole lot of people expect the government to take care of all of their retirement.

People used to expect banks to make loans to people that could afford to pay them back. Now they expect banks to make loans to people that can’t afford to pay them back, and then they expect the government to bail-out the bank and the borrower when the deal falls through.

Not to long ago, people expected businesses to provide a product or service for consumers, and expected them to succeed or fail based on their ability to figure out which product or service the consumers wanted, and how to provide that product or service at a profit. Now they expect the government to spend trillions of dollars on businesses that couldn’t figure out either.

The problem is, expecting government to pay for our every wish costs a lot of money. The national debt doubled in the last eight years, and it’s on course to more than double again in the next eight years. We’re handing a multi-trillion dollar debt down to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

I’m just not sure they’re expecting it.

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