Monday, March 17, 2008

Personal Responsibility

One of the many things that really bother me about the direction we are headed as a country is the sheer apathy that most of the country is falling under. No one really cares about anyone else, no one cares about anything but immediate satisfaction of a momentary urge, and no one cares about long term consequences of their actions.

I am a firm believer of Karma, what goes around comes around, and the Threefold Laws. As a country, we are all paying for our past actions. My generation grew up with the belief that we are owed everything by others, that we should be given given what we want and if we don't get it, we should just sue someone to get it. Now there are a few problems with that mindset. I am a bit different that most of my generation. First and foremost is that no one OWES anyone anything. If you do not wish to work, you should not be entitled to benefits that one would expect to receive by working. Those people who work all of their lives and barely make enough to live on expect to get Social Security benefits when they retire. Then there are those whose sole job is to get as much Social Security benefits as possible so they never have to work. There are even those people who have babies out of wedlock just so that they can draw a bigger welfare check. Our country is now paying for the excesses of corrupt society. Our banks are collapsing because they gave risky loans to risky people in the name of greed. Our factories are exporting jobs to third world countries as fast as they can because of wage inflation and over regulation. Bankruptcy courts are being flooded with people who can not pay their credit card bills.

Are we all so conceited that we believe that throwing money at a problem will fix it? Money is not going to fix what is wrong with our country any more. The problem is that corruption has spread into every facet of our lives. We have people who worship the all mighty dollar. We have people who believe that the one with the most toys, wins. And we have people, and corporations, who have no conscience at all when it comes to business matters. No one cares if their next door neighbor is getting laid off because his job is being outsourced to India or Poland because they are too worried about their own job.

We all want the luxuries that the media tell us we should have so we sell our souls to the credit card companies. But when it comes time to pay the piper, we can't. So to pay the credit card bills, we get a second mortgage to pay off the bills. Then, we lose our jobs to someone in another country. Now we have 2 mortgages, kids in school, a couple of car payments and no job. What do we do? File bankruptcy. Now, individually, it doesn't affect society as a whole. The problem is when thousands of people are in this situation. Mortgage companies are having so many people declaring bankruptcy that the banks that underwrite the mortgages are having solvency problems. Banks going bankrupt is bad. Very very bad. It causes everyone who can pay their bills to lose money. It causes stock prices to fall, the dollar to lose value in international markets, and it causes inflation to rise. Inflation, along with a higher unemployment rate, increased fuel prices, and tanking consumer confidence, is adding to the pressure on the government to bail everyone out. The problem with that is the government can't really pay for any kind of bailout without raising taxes. Taxes that are already bordering on the extreme.

I don't know if all of these are just symptoms of the disease that affects our country or if it is the cause. But it will not get any better in this country until we all just take a deep breath and own up to our responsibility.

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