You might have seen that extraordinary Terry Savage column in which she berated kids for giving away lemonade instead of selling it. If you wanted to read a satisfyingly irritated response, Mobutu is your man.
In fact, the crux of the whole discussion has nothing to do with the children—and certainly not the lazy analogy to voters terrified of losing their homes: it’s to do with the parents. Terry seems to have adopted much of the economic and labor ideology of American conservatism without the responsibility aspect. She’s yelling at some telescoped abstraction of the electorate, when the object of her ire lives in that house.
Of course, it’s important for her to shift the terms of the discussion away from the house, because the parents represent the most pernicious argument against her “just work harder and value things” ethic. The fact is that these are well-off parents, which means that their kids will probably be well-off. If the parents were poor, the kids would likely be poor themselves.
This is the great turd in the conservative work-ethic punchbowl—that as much as we like to ignore class in this country, it works with a particularly effective determinism in the vast majority of cases. If you are born middle class, you will likely be middle class. If you are born in poverty, you will likely die there. If you are on a lawn giving away lemonade, in front of a big-ass house while a full-time nanny watches you, chances are you don’t need to learn the value of a dollar. Someone you are related to already has, and you get to reap the windfall. You can probably win just by showing up. Terry Savage can’t acknowledge this without destroying the weak foundation of her morally and ethically tendentious arguments.
(Demerits for the awful phrase “morally and ethically.”)