Magnificence or Mediocrity – Where is this nation headed?

Recently I heard a redistributed recording by small businessman, Rich DeVos.  The title of his talk which he gave in the early 1990s was Magnificence or Mediocrity.  I believe that the points he made are as relevant today as it was then.  See if you agree.

As individuals, as business owners, as a nation, we have a choice.  We can choose to strive for Magnificence or we can allow ourselves to sink into Mediocrity.  The path we choose can be evidenced in several ways.

We can be builders or bashers.  We have a president today that likes to bash the rich.  He doesn’t understand the the wealth of the economy is a result of individuals that go to work and expand the economy.  He and those like him don’t understand that when the rich get richer, the poor do NOT get poorer.  Those striving for Magnificence don’t take it from someone else, they build new income.  Our president thinks the there is a limited amount of wealth and that it’s his job to divide it up by taking it from those that have earned it and giving it to those who choose not to strive for Magnificence but have settled for Mediocrity.

We must recognize that people make a country great.  Most people who are considered “rich” got there by doing one simple thing – they saved some money.  They didn’t spend everything they made. That is the great dividing line between rich and poor.  Rich people made money and saved it.  They didn’t spend everything they made.  If one ever hopes to get anything of value, there is one way:  Spend less than you make. Mr. DeVos used an example of a train.  Just as the end of the train is pulled along by the engine, the poor of the nation are pulled along by those tagged as rich as they contribute to the expansion of the economy.  We should commend those that have worked hard to be a contributor to economic growth rather than beating them up and taking the fruit of their labors.

We need a system that is built upon people helping people help themselves.  The current system is one in which we perpetually help people and never develop a system that causes them to want to be independent and develop their own means of sustaining themselves.  Our president and his side have made great strides in expanding the circle of economic bondage.  More and more people are added to the welfare rolls or the food stamp rolls.  Parents no longer need to feed their children, the government will provide them breakfast, lunch and likely before long dinner.  We are recruiting an ever growing number of people into economic servitude

We must reward and recognize Magnificence.  Mr. DeVos uses health care as an example of Magnificence.  As Chairman of the Board of a hospital he has witnessed the commitment of pediatric oncologists working with children with cancer.  These are the ultimate achievers who have learned specialized skills and know how to deliver  exceptional care.  Our president demeans the health care system and accuses providers of being overpaid.  His solution to rising health care costs is to reduce the amount that providers are paid for their services.  If our health care system is so bad, why do people from so many countries come to the United States for specialized health care treatments or surgeries?  Why does virtually all innovation in health care originate in the United States?  Having almost 30 years in health care, I am convinced the (un)Affordable Care Act will ensure a system of mediocrity, similar to Europe, Canada, Australia and the other nations that have socialized their health care.

Mr. DeVos had a few more points, but I believe this demonstrates the point that we are at a crossroads.  Either this nation changes from bashers to builders or we will decline from Magnificence to Mediocrity.


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