Thursday, October 9, 2008

We have met the enemy - and it's us!

So I'm watching TV the other evening and a commercial comes on. Now, I would ordinarily turn off the sound until the show returned but, for some reason, I left it on and listened. A guy was standing there saying,

"Do you owe a credit card company $5,000? $10,000" Even $20,000 or more. Do you know that you have a legal right to settle that debt for pennies on the dollar? That's something the credit card companies don't want you to know. Call today and we'll help you settle for far less than you actually owe. And, it's your legal right."

I sat there amazed that anyone would believe this guy's nonsense but, in truth, I knew that thousands would respond. That's where we are today. Buy it now and worry later. And, based on that commercial, maybe you can buy it now and not pay at all! Tens of thousands of people out there are piling up debt that they can't possibly repay and along comes an opportunity to "weasel" out of honoring their obligation, their responsibility. I'll bet that company is swamped with calls.

Now don't get me wrong. A long time ago, way back in my distant youth, I did nearly the same thing, running up charge cards to get things I couldn't afford. But, in the end, I had to repay those debts and it hurt - it hurt for a very long time. Still, I never considered that I might be able to repay "pennies on the dollar" or not pay at all. I had borrowed (foolishly I have to add,) I owed the money and I had to repay it. It was that simple.

I don't believe today's youth have that personal ethic - that their word is their bond. They borrow money and then cry when they're asked to repay it, thus the commercial I mentioned above. They borrow money for college and then cry when they're expected to repay the loan. I've personally heard these words, "It's not fair! I get out of college and I'm broke for the first three or four years afterward, paying back that loan!" Hard to believe. Once again, no acceptance of responsibility.

All this got me to thinking about our current "Government Bailout." It makes me think of the members of our sorry congress and how over the past decades they spent billions pressuring the banking industry into making extremely risky loans because everyone in American was entitiled to a house - a home. Sounds great if you ignore the type of people who would respond to that commercial above. The banking industry was pressured by the Barney Franks on the hill and they gladly responded, putting extremely risky people into houses they couldn't afford and, ultimately, wouldn't pay for. And they didn't. Look at the news during the past year. Tens of thousands of homes sit empty while the banks wonder what to do with them.

I'm not talking about lower-income folks who are trying hard to do better, to climb the ladder. My heart goes out to them. I'm talking about those who have good incomes but wanted, actually demanded, a mini-mansion in the suburbs and everything, I mean everything, that goes with it. I'm talking about people who wanted it all now and borrowed $500,000 - $1,000,000 for that "dream home." You know, the same ones who cried about repaying their student loans. Now, like those lower-incomed folks, they're crying for help and, you know, they'll probably get it.

Would they do what we did? Stuggle to get into that first little starter home and slowly, carefully, move up to a better house when we could afford it? Accept responsibility for our mistakes? Fat chance! All they have to do is make that phone call above! Can't afford that million dollar house? Not to worry! Our fine congress will see that your mortgage is "renegotiated" and save you a ton of money. Still owe that student loan? Not to worry! Our fine congress guaranteed the loan. They'll pay it off and forgive your debt. See, it's a win-win situation. Nobody loses. Well, not exactly. We all lose, all because of those few million who don't understand about personal responsibility.

In the end the old adage, "We have met the enemy - and it is us!" rings as true, as always. We have allowed, taught actually, a generation that nothing is their fault. If something goes wrong they can simply blame someone else. It's society - it's us.

Wow! I started out to write something far more soft and cuddly. Well, I had to get it off my chest. I'll try to do better tomorrow. Sorry. It wasn't my fault.


I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.

Mark Twain

1 comment:

grammyof13 said...

Hear Hear - I knew this was the kind of blogging you'd do. You have the ability to say what others wish they could say, but don't. I heard you reading it the whole way through. I guess we write like we talk. Luv you guys, and please keep on a bloggin.