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What Makes Americans Prosperous?

As a life insurance salesman, I like to pay attention to what popular media says about my profession. It’s often not too flattering. In the movies and TV shows I’ve seen, my compatriots are typically portrayed as sleazy shysters or bumbling failures. Gangsters are often cast in a better light.

Never mind the fact that millions of Americans have found the life insurance business the way to make a good living. Let’s discount the fact that trillions of dollars have been funneled into the pockets of needy Americans in the form of life insurance benefits. I guess the Hollywood moguls see no reason to glamorize the successes of the American system.

This should be a source of concern to us all. The generation that will soon assume command of our country is not getting the best of messages about the country they will lead. Too many pop stars, big time movie producers, and college teachers are down on America.

Commentator John Hawkins bemoans this sad situation in his recent post. But he also shares with us the real reason why this country is still the envy of the world. Here is an excerpt:

We’re successful because a lot of steady, responsible people do boring jobs that have to be done. It’s the man who works 40 hours in his first job and another 20 hours a week at a part-time job so he can pay the bills for his wife and kids. It’s the stay-at-home mom with spit-up on her blouse who has been on her feet for hours cleaning and taking care of the kids. It’s the small businessman who worked 70 hours a week for peanuts over the last decade to get his business to the point where he can have people complain that he’s not paying enough in taxes. It’s the single mother who gives up partying every night to make sure her child is taken care of like he should be. It’s the pastor who says something from the pulpit that will be controversial, but that his flock needs to hear. It’s the cop who sweats through a half dozen encounters with drunk, drugged, and potentially violent creeps each night because he cares about keeping a neighborhood safe. It’s a soldier sleeping in a tent far from home because he’s doing his part to keep the peace. It’s the couple who feels like they’ve achieved the American dream because they got married, bought a house, had two kids, and are putting enough money in their 401k to retire someday.

It is the “steady, responsible people” who reap the benefits we would all like to have. That is true for my business, as well as for every other occupation in life. Don’t you think so?