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Ron Hart Columns: Lap dance of luxury: Strippers teach Econ 101

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Lap dance of luxury: Strippers teach Econ 101

November 10, 2007 - Panama City News Herald


By Ron Hart

"Cost of undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech: $100,000 Night of partying at a strip club: $ 53,000 Dad's reaction to son's $53,000 one night bill: priceless. "

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It has happened again! A Florida man says that his son was taken advantage of by a Panhandle strip joint. The father gave his son his credit card to celebrate his graduation from Georgia Tech and the boy ran up a $53,000 tab. It appears that the strippers were the only ones who got a happy ending.

I guess the son, catapulted to an undergrad degree at age 24, did not learn the economics of real life, chief among them is to never give strippers a drunken free shot at your credit card.

Much like their brethren the lawyers, strippers quickly size up a potential client for what they can fleece from them based on how much money they have and how stupid they appear.

I have always supported the honest entrepreneur, especially when pitted against the stupid. It is good for society when money is not left too long in idiot hands. It is God's way of getting money into smarter folks' pockets. For the less religious among us, I call it Economic Darwinism, and it is often done one crumpled $5 bill at a time. As the old saying goes, "A fool and his money are soon parted." In this case, a fool and his dad's money were soon partying.

I do understand these men who spend silly amounts of money in strip clubs. I have had friends whose longest female relationships have lasted just two table dances. Men go to these clubs to make themselves feel important because somewhere in their life they are lacking in selfesteem or affirmation. They are paying for the illusion of being a big shot and are suspended briefly in the thought that these women actually think they are attractive. They often get buyer's remorse when the stripper's cooing and ego-stroking ends, which invariably happens right when the guy's money runs out. Who knew?

Surprisingly, our government, which likes to wet its beak in all vices, has yet to devise a way to muscle in on the strip joint business. The feds paid farmers to grow tobacco, taxed cigarettes and then pushed lawsuits against manufacturers. Governments are now into gambling, sponsoring their own state lotteries (akin to running numbers). They license casinos, mostly for Native Americans, to relieve their guilt so Indians can get Manhattan back - one nickel slot at a time. And of course, there is booze, where government takes an inordinate cut of the sales of alcohol.

For the youngsters out there, it is best to view the government as a mob boss, without the protection or moral consistency. Government's involvement in all things vice related is how it establishes the moral high ground that allows it to tax us.

Now, I do not go to strip clubs. It is not that I have any opposition to them. Your average stripper is a person who is doing the best she can with the assets she has to make money and provide for families, and I respect that - mostly her assets. Basically, I do not go simply because I am too cheap to enjoy a strip club - and do not view such as a spectator sport.

As for the Georgia Tech grad, it sounds like he got a master's in finance that night for $53,000. Welcome to the real world, buddy boy! Too bad that, in your midtwenties, your dad is still fighting your battles.

Pain is an excellent teacher, and often in a society that makes excuses for bad behavior, it can be the only teacher. Of course, ridicule helps, which is what I do. It is my way of giving back.

The dad, in playing the victim card here, is funny to me. Poor kid! The stripper and seedy club owner took the money he signed for. The 24-year-old must be devastated. Who can he trust after that experience? Not even Oprah would take up his cause on this one.

Experiences are life's lessons through which certain harsh truths are conveyed to us Homo sapiens - and straight sapiens, too. I would like to think that our education system would teach them, but I have long ago given up on government-run schools.

Leave it to a stripper to teach this boy and others one of the most valuable lessons of life: Don't be an idiot. Everyone has a role in our society, even strippers.

2011 Benjamin Franklin Award Winner!

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Columns by Ronald Hart. Ron grew up in Tennessee and began writing a column for his hometown paper in 2002. He attended The University of Memphis and the Institute for Political and Economic Systems at Georgetown University. Ron graduated Magna Cum Laude and was elected student government president. Upon getting his MBA, he went to work for Goldman Sachs. He was appointed to the Tennessee Board of Regents by then Governor Lamar Alexander and is now a private investor. He appears on CNN and has been quoted in numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal. His columns reflect a rare combination of Southern libertarian views and humor. They have been described as "Lewis Grizzard meets P.J. O'Rourke with a dash of Will Roger's horse sense". His columns are carried by 30 newspapers with a total weekly circulation of approximately 1 million readers.