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America Won't Get Rich by Relying on the Permanent Poor
Townhall.com ^ | April 18, 2012 | Ben Shapiro

Posted on 04/18/2012 5:09:06 AM PDT by Kaslin

America is a land of class mobility. That's what makes America a magnet destination for people all over the world: Come to America and make something of yourself. If you want great welfare benefits, try to bust into Europe; if you want to work for a living and get rich, come to the United States.

But for some Americans, there is no class mobility. There is a permanent economic underclass, and those who inhabit it have no ability to rise above their fiscal fate.

There is a reason for that: They make bad decisions.

Take, for example, prom night. A recent study from Visa shows that the average family spends a whopping $1,078 on their teenager's prom night. But what's more interesting is that there is an income breakdown. If you make more than $75,000 per year, you will spend somewhere between $700 and $1,000. If you are one of the unfortunates who earn between $20,000 and $29,999 per year, you will spend ... $2,600. In other words, if you earn three times less, you'll spend three times more.

This is not a recipe for financial success.

And yet President Obama believes it is. In fact, he thinks that if we distribute income to the lowest economic rung, we'll somehow build our nation's wealth. Thus spoke Obama last week: "In this country, prosperity has never trickled down from the wealthy few. Prosperity has always come from the bottom up, from a strong and growing middle class."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Prosperity has never trickled from the bottom up. It has always come from the top down, in terms of investment. That's because people at the top have money. Even in Obama's vision of the universe -- the vision where wealthy people subsidize poor people -- the wealth is flowing top down. It's just being forced to flow by the government.

True wealth comes from generating goods and services people want to buy at a price they want to pay. The only way such goods and services are generated is if somebody is willing to front the cash to do it. Henry Ford needed investors to get his Model-T up and running. It didn't magically appear. And when enough rich people are competing to create the next great product, you get capitalism's greatest achievement: thriving markets with choices for consumers.

And yet, the left does not want to see this. They proclaim that poor people spending money produce goods. This is insipid. It leaves the left in the unenviable position of having to argue that unemployment benefits help the economy because after all, people who are poor are spending more money.

If poverty generated wealth, Sudan would be a paradise.

Wealth generates wealth. It takes money to make money. Nobody has ever been hired long term by a member of the permanent poor. Nobody has ever developed a product while being funded by a member of the permanent poor.

The left insists that such talk is racist. It isn't. Charles Murray's new book, "Coming Apart: The State of White America" deals solely with American whites and makes the same point. The permanent underclass is a permanent underclass because it is filled with folks who make rotten decisions. That doesn't mean we can't help them. It doesn't mean we can't lend them a hand. It does mean that building our economic strategy on their ability to stimulate growth is a fool's errand.

If you work hard and do the right thing in America, you will benefit financially. If you don't, you won't. If we redistribute cash from the hard workers and good decision makers to their less responsible counterparts, we penalize hard work and good decisions in favor of frivolity. We don't want the parents who spend 10 percent of their earning power on prom night defining our economy. We've already done that once. It led to subprime mortgage meltdowns and stock market collapses. Why not try responsibility?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 04/18/2012 5:09:12 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Yet more evidence that the values of Social Conservatism are really the values of Fiscal Conservatism. If you want a strong economy, promote traditional social values: hard-work, stable families, real education, moral behavior.


2 posted on 04/18/2012 5:14:03 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Like Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin has become simply a stick with which to beat Whites.)
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To: Kaslin

That prom night figure amazes me. Maybe it’s because I don’t have daughters, but I don’t understand. What on Earth do you spend over $2K for, on a prom??


3 posted on 04/18/2012 5:21:16 AM PDT by susannah59
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To: Kaslin

There is poverty because kids aren’t finishing school, live in one parent households, and in the case of blacks, a hatred of whites. LBJ’s war on poverty was a non-winner from the start. Money doesn’t help them.


4 posted on 04/18/2012 5:25:08 AM PDT by New Jersey Realist (America: home of the free because of the brave)
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To: Kaslin

America will get rich by returning to an America similar to the one our founders built. Minimal government where any man could find his groove and get by or make his fortune as he saw fit.


5 posted on 04/18/2012 5:27:18 AM PDT by cripplecreek (What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?)
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To: susannah59

My rented tux back in 1967 cost $30.


6 posted on 04/18/2012 5:27:27 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Kaslin
And yet President Obama believes it is. In fact, he thinks that if we distribute income to the lowest economic rung, we'll somehow build our nation's wealth.

No. In fact, he doesn't. That's just boob bait for the bubbleheads.

He knows damn well what he's doing. He's intentionally trying to get as many people addicted to government as possible so-as to enslave and control them.

7 posted on 04/18/2012 5:28:25 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Let’s not forget thrift.


8 posted on 04/18/2012 5:30:40 AM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: susannah59
What on Earth do you spend over $2K for, on a prom??

My prom nights cost about $30.00 for a corsage and a little gasoline. We wore whatever suit we already had. Some girls did buy new dresses so I guess the cost for girls was higher.

These days guys rent tuxedos and sometimes limos, plus many check into a hotel for the night, also. And the girls really go all out on the dresses, shoes and accessories. There's probably more.

9 posted on 04/18/2012 5:31:00 AM PDT by Will88
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To: susannah59
What on Earth do you spend over $2K for, on a prom??

That has me puzzled, too. My first thought is that it's a poor family's best opportunity to get their daughter married off...??

10 posted on 04/18/2012 5:38:31 AM PDT by randog (Tap into America!)
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To: Will88

I’d imagine prom tickets, restaurant meals, limos (yuck!), hotel rooms, tuxes, etc., for the guys; dresses and accessories, beauty parlor/spa visits, etc., for the girls, but still that is amazing.

I guess the more working class you are the bigger the deal high school graduation is. Still, this is rank stupidity.


11 posted on 04/18/2012 5:39:38 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: susannah59

Let’s see....$100 for a dress and $1900 for legal fees and fines when the kid has a wreck while drunk.


12 posted on 04/18/2012 5:40:41 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Kaslin

A pathetic search for identity in the wilderness of bad taste.


13 posted on 04/18/2012 5:41:44 AM PDT by seton89 (Are the Ten Commandments a living document?)
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To: susannah59
I have a close relative who has filed for bankruptcy twice, and who is currently struggling financially and very worried about the future. She and her husband (who has already been treated for a smoking-related cancer) both continue to smoke, and in the state that they live in it probably costs them $9/pk or more. Between the two of them they therefore probably spend at least $25-30/day for tobacco. They could easily be spending $8,000 - $10,000 per year on this habit.

In addition, there are lotto ticket purchases, eating out at family restaurants frequently, online and TV shopping purchases etc. I'm not being judgmental, but what was said in this article about making bad choices is definitely true.

14 posted on 04/18/2012 5:44:31 AM PDT by pieceofthepuzzle
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To: susannah59
“What on Earth do you spend over $2K for, on a prom??”

$500 dress
$200 shoes
$200 Hair & nails
$200 costume jewelry
$200 limo
$200 dinner at fancy restaurant
$100 flowers
$200 after prom party
$200 champagne & drinks
$10 Pepto & aspirin
$2010 total

(potential $500 to bail bondsman)

Just looking at these numbers, it is easy to imagine they could double or triple.

15 posted on 04/18/2012 5:48:09 AM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: Kaslin

I think a study of the chronically poor of America would reveal many families with parents or parent who spend a lot of their money on frivolous items. How many smoke, drink, rent movies, buy unnecessary things? I would bet a large amount. My parents weren’t frivolous, but they were both heavy smokers. They argued about money but did’t consider the money they spent on cigarettes as frivolous. We didn’t starve, and my father was a hard worker who eventually made more money. But I have no doubt many poor families never consider the ways they spend/waste money.


16 posted on 04/18/2012 5:55:28 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: randog

The poor put it on high interest credit cards, paying then, 3 times more..(until they default and taxpayers bail it out)


17 posted on 04/18/2012 5:57:05 AM PDT by Freddd (No PA Engineers)
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To: Kaslin

My grandson, for the second year, is wearing my 25 year old tux,shirt,tie.cummerbund,studs, and cufflinks to his prom and to his girlfriend’s.


18 posted on 04/18/2012 5:58:58 AM PDT by larryjohnson (USAF(Ret))
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To: susannah59

Our daughter borrowed a dress. Because she went in spite of the fact that she was on deep double down grounded/probation, she got no money from us at all. Our sons I think we gave each of them a couple hundred for a tux and mad money and the loan of a car although the younger one wanted to drive his 18 year old Dodge van with the clear plastic roof. Can’t imagine why.

He was stopped at 2:00 a.m. for a right turn on red without stopping and even though he was in this old van and had hair to the middle of his back, that’s all they charged him for. In other words, he was clean and sober and had just dropped off his girl friend. The other one borrowed my Miata and his date almost fell out of her topless dress getting into it. LOL. Memories.


19 posted on 04/18/2012 6:00:47 AM PDT by Mercat
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To: larryjohnson

-—My grandson, for the second year, is wearing my 25 year old tux,shirt,tie.cummerbund,studs, and cufflinks to his prom and to his girlfriend’s.-—

He wouldn’t want to wear the one I wore in 1979. LOL


20 posted on 04/18/2012 6:03:46 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: susannah59

In 1989, I spent about $100 for a tux, liquor, gas, and condoms.


21 posted on 04/18/2012 6:05:09 AM PDT by goseminoles
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To: Kaslin
I don't doubt that poorer people spend more than rich people on proms, but the averages the "study" reports seem outlandish. Is there a motivating factor behind Visa's issuing the data? If people are told that proms cost $1k, are they more likely to acquiesce and throw that exhorbitant amount on their credit card?

Let's do some math (and err on the expensive side): Prom ticket: $100 Tux Rental: $250 Dress Purchase: $500 Limo rental: $750 Corsage: $50 Hair: $200

That's nearly $2k, but includes BOTH a dress and a tux, and assumes each kid gets a limo (rather than one limo transporting 4, 6, 8, or 10 kids. I'm not buying (literally and figuratively).

22 posted on 04/18/2012 6:07:47 AM PDT by Mr. Bird
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To: Texas Eagle

I’m not sure if it’s naivete, ignorance or what,

but why does “our side” continually take at face value that the left’s end goals are the same as ours -

ie, a prosperous country of strong moral values?

They don’t. They seek power and control.

This goal, ultimately, is building Satan’s kingdom under one supreme leader, though even THEY might not understand that.


23 posted on 04/18/2012 6:11:53 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: Kaslin
Work is the best ticket out of poverty.
The rich employs other people.
Upward mobility, everybody wins.
When the government takes money from "the rich" to give to "the poor", many job opportunities disappear and we are all cheated on work that could have been performed.
Yet, the poor are still poor and it's much harder to become rich.
The governments heavy foot keeps everybody down, rich and poor alike.

24 posted on 04/18/2012 6:15:05 AM PDT by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: Mr. Bird

Poor people are more likely to employ outward “wealth signals” to others, because of their self conscious awareness of lack of relative success.

Conspicuous consumption among “the poor”:
http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/2008/01/cos_and_effect.html


25 posted on 04/18/2012 6:16:23 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: susannah59

Prom dress, flowers, limo, condoms, pictures ?


26 posted on 04/18/2012 6:18:33 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Free Republic -- One stop shopping ....... It's the Conservative Super WalMart for news .)
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To: MrB
I’m not sure if it’s naivete, ignorance or what, but why does “our side” continually take at face value that the left’s end goals are the same as ours

It's a sickness. We are wired to give people the benefit of the doubt.

I think in psychological terms it's called "battered woman syndrome".

27 posted on 04/18/2012 6:19:37 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: MrB

If you transferred all of the money from the rich to the poor overnight, the rich would have it all back within a year.


28 posted on 04/18/2012 6:21:17 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Kaslin

My grandparents came over from Ireland with nothing. 2 of my grandparents were orphans. They started out as poor as one could be. They knew what starvation felt like, and knew discrimination and destitution. America gave them a future and hope when Ireland had none.

It is not the poor who are the problem as the poor built and made this country into a super power. It is the social programs that are robbing peoples future.


29 posted on 04/18/2012 6:21:46 AM PDT by outpostinmass2
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To: dfwgator

It might take 5 years, but the end would be the same.

The rich get richer by continuing to do the things that made them rich in the first place.

Ditto for the poor.

(Boortz?)


30 posted on 04/18/2012 6:24:32 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter knows whom he's working for)
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To: ClearCase_guy
If you want a strong economy, promote traditional social values: hard-work, stable families, real education, moral behavior.

The left side of life's bell curve, which is almost half the population, does not want a strong economy. They blame the strong success of the right side of the bell curve for their unhappiness. They are certain they can only be happy if everyone in the world is forced to live a Cuban existence.

What if the left side of the bell curve lived in their own economy? Half of them would become the right side of the new bell curve, and would be against government wealth destruction. Half of them would be upstanding citizens, highly respected in their communities. We can reduce our leftists from 50% of the population down to 25% by creating insulated sub-economies for them. This function used to be provided by national borders.

31 posted on 04/18/2012 6:25:49 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: dfwgator

“If you transferred all of the money from the rich to the poor overnight, the rich would have it all back within a year.”

Your theory only works with people who “earned” their money. If you took away any of the Kennedy’s money today they would never get back on their feet again.


32 posted on 04/18/2012 6:27:59 AM PDT by outpostinmass2
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To: MrB

Poverty is more of a state of mind, than a state of the wallet.


33 posted on 04/18/2012 6:30:10 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Kaslin

I was going to say that the extra cost was for prenatal and delivery but the taxpayer is picking up that tab.

The Ruby Payne book Frameworks of Poverty nailed it. The poor spend a greater % on entertainment as a form of escapism from an unfulfilling lifestyle and tend not to be able to think about the long term consequences.


34 posted on 04/18/2012 6:34:40 AM PDT by fungoking (Tis a pleasure to live in the Ozarks)
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To: fungoking
escapism from an unfulfilling lifestyle

It's only unfulfilling because they constantly compare themselves to their neighbors. They actually have a better, more fulfilling lifestyle than any king did 100 years ago. Their unhappiness is caused by envy. Both happiness and envy are personal choices, not something imposed from the outside by others.

35 posted on 04/18/2012 6:44:29 AM PDT by Reeses
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To: dfwgator
If you transferred all of the money from the rich to the poor overnight, the rich would have it all back within a year.

I'm pretty poor. Send me all your money and we'll test your theory out.

36 posted on 04/18/2012 6:46:48 AM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
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To: randog
>> What on Earth do you spend over $2K for, on a prom??

> That has me puzzled, too. My first thought is that it's a poor family's best opportunity to get their daughter married off...??

More like they have no hope that their daughter will ever get married, so this is the next best thing. Where I grew up, getting knocked up on prom night was practically a rite of passage for the lower classes.

By the time my daughters grew up, high schools had daycare centers, and provided free baby-sitting on prom night.

37 posted on 04/18/2012 7:19:58 AM PDT by Flatus I. Maximus
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To: Mercat
:: his date almost fell out of her topless dress ::

Uhhhhhmmmm.........

38 posted on 04/18/2012 8:03:54 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alterations - The acronym explains the science.)
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To: All
I see a lot of crappy cars with oversize fancy rims on them. The wheels cost more than the car is worth.

I guess you can buy rims on a FBT card.

39 posted on 04/18/2012 9:09:13 AM PDT by troy McClure
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To: Kaslin

We need to remove welfare and make the lower earning people get off their collective asses.


40 posted on 04/18/2012 9:24:03 AM PDT by CodeToad (If it ain't Newt, we're screwt !)
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To: susannah59
What on Earth do you spend over $2K for, on a prom??

Some idiots pay to let their princesses pretend to be rich and famous: limo, VERY expensive dress, VERY expensive meal, HOTEL ROOM????!!

The irony is the fact that it's really all very low class behavior.

41 posted on 04/18/2012 9:34:03 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (This place is nuts.)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

...He wouldn’t want to wear the one I wore in 1979. LOL”

In 1973 I wore a purple crushed velvet tux with a pink ruffled shirt and purple velvet cummerbunder. I can’t remember the shoes exactly, but I think they were white with platform heels. I looked like a friggin’ white pimp....and was able to signify with the few black dudes who attended my high school. There is a photo somewhere, but I recall it is rather scary...


42 posted on 04/18/2012 10:38:05 AM PDT by astounded (Barack Obama is a clear and present danger to the USA)
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To: Flatus I. Maximus

My wife teaches high school, and they have a large daycare.

Most kids coming from a single parent household will follow a similar pattern. This is spreading faster than you can believe.


43 posted on 04/18/2012 11:00:26 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: astounded

Lolz! You win!


44 posted on 04/18/2012 11:12:32 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: astounded
In 1973 I wore a purple crushed velvet tux with a pink ruffled shirt and purple velvet cummerbunder. I can’t remember the shoes exactly, but I think they were white with platform heels. I looked like a friggin’ white pimp

Suddenly I am no longer embarrassed about the idiotic getup I wore to the prom. Compared to you I was a regular Beau Brummel.

The 70s were truly a lost decade.

45 posted on 04/18/2012 2:42:08 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (This place is nuts.)
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To: Will88
These days guys rent tuxedos and sometimes limos, plus many check into a hotel for the night, also. And the girls really go all out on the dresses, shoes and accessories. There's probably more.

Yes, there's more, including the professional photos taken at the prom to have a permanent record of that $1000 dress, shoes and purse ensemble.

46 posted on 04/18/2012 3:47:41 PM PDT by Tamar1973 ("Never care what the other guy has, it is not yours and someone always has more."--isthisnickcool)
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To: Tamar1973

Yep, I forgot the professional photos, and someone else pointed out that prom night now includes a fancy, pre-prom meal for many.


47 posted on 04/18/2012 4:34:26 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Jeff Chandler
It's low class and absurd.

All that, for pictures that 20 or 30 years from now other people will laugh at as "bad prom pictures!"

48 posted on 04/18/2012 5:03:38 PM PDT by susannah59
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To: susannah59
What on Earth do you spend over $2K for, on a prom??

What do they spend money on? A fancy gown (bought, not a rental), expensive restaurant dinner, limo rental ('cause the family beater is too beat--if there is one), flowers, nails, hair, photographer, etc...

For those who have little, going nuts and bingeing on special occasions gives an aura of importance and is commonplace, but economically destructive overall.

49 posted on 04/18/2012 5:07:20 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: larryjohnson
My grandson, for the second year, is wearing my 25 year old tux,shirt,tie.cummerbund,studs, and cufflinks to his prom and to his girlfriend’s.

A good, conservative suit, made of the best material you can afford, will rotate in and out of style, but can last a lifetime. I still have the one I got as a graduation present, (I'm not saying it fits now, OK), but I wore it twenty years ago to testify at a State Senate subcomittee hearing on a Bill, and was better dressed than the legislators.

50 posted on 04/18/2012 5:14:24 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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