Choices....and Consequences

There's lots of buzzing going on about "choices".  What choices are good, which ones are right, what should or shouldn't be.  I hear passionate insistence about the right to have the freedom to choose.

Goodness knows I am all for freedom.

It's just that I've come to a conclusion about the root of the debate.

It's about freedom all right.
We aren't clamoring about freedom to choose.  We want freedom from consequences.

Recently, our President made some remarks that included "we don't want Americans to make that choice".   Here is what he said
Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.

I do not pretend to read his mind, therefore I cannot know his intent of this remark.  More than likely, he is compassionate towards women in the workforce and wants to help them make as much as possible to support their families.  I do not disagree with that at all.  I have been in the workplace and hoped to be treated with equitability when it came to my paycheck.

Here's what I take issue with -
"And that's not a choice we want Americans to make". 


 Why should the government make a value statement about a family's choice to leave, either temporarily or permanently, the workforce?

 All choices have consequences and that includes leaving the workforce to raise a family or staying in the workforce and raising a family simultaneously. That also includes being willing to relocate or not.  Or to take a position that requires extra hours to get the job done well.  Or to be your own boss and never really get a break from work's demands.

 Every family should consider (as best as possibly can be done) the consequences and make the best choice.   The government shouldn't be in the business of evaluating those choices for us --- either by policy decisions or presidential remarks. 

I left the workforce when my firstborn was two years old.  By doing so, I rightly forfeited the salary I was making.  By remaining out of the workforce for over two decades, I have also rightly forfeited the earning power I once had.  I may be a lovely person (at least my Mom says I am!) but I am simply not as valuable to an employer as I was then.  If I were to reenter the workforce, I should rightly expect NOT to be paid at the level I was when I left as well as to wait many years before I would be able to deserve that level again.


It is NOT the job of government to protect me from the consequences of my choices.

It is NOT the job of government to provide preschools and daycare for my children so that I am protected from losing my earning potential.

It is NOT the job of the government to decide what is more valuable - staying home to raise children or continuing to work so as to preserve earning power.

It is MY job to make those value judgments myself.

It is MY job to make those choices -- and absorb/enjoy the corresponding consequences.

The attitude of "let me make whatever choice I want and then protect me from any undesirable consequences" is pervasive.  We've gone from wanting "level playing fields" to insisting that the fields slant in favor of those who "need" their "self-esteem" boosted.  Forget talent and hard work and persistence - "fairness" means we all get the trophy.

Freedom?  Absolutely.
To make our choices.....and live with their consequences, whatever those may be.