This article was originally published at americanchronicle.com on Nov. 30th, 2008.
The mantra of the modern man seems to be "Hey, where´s mine?" Many individuals seem to be so worried about what the other guy is getting, and how he´s getting it, that quite a number of us are starting to question the fairness of the system. Many people are beginning to understand that they´ve been getting screwed, that the system this government has set up to safeguard and protect its citizens has failed in that capacity. The masses of humanity can see more clearly than ever that their money is being stolen by an elite cabal more interested in maintaining their power than in helping mankind. But who´s to blame the people for reacting like they do when they see poor decision making being rewarded and responsible actions being punished. It´s only natural to ask "where´s mine?" It seems that everyone wants to be bailed out now, everyone wants a piece of the action, but someone has to pay. Who´s it going to be?
I mention the above because of some strange happenings that I´ve noticed have been going on. It started not long after the election of Barack Obama. I have a friend who has a friend who supposedly works for a big bank (I won´t mention the name here) as a credit card collector. He´s one of those guys who calls you on the phone if you´re maybe a couple of weeks late with a credit card payment as a courtesy, just to remind you your payment is overdue and ask when the bank can expect payment. It seems this guy told my friend that a certain segment of the population was telling him that they weren´t going to pay their credit card bills because Barack Obama had been elected president and he was going to bail them out. I was a little surprised by what I was hearing, but I was reluctant to believe it. This friend of mine has a tendency to be a little too trusting and so I decided to check a little deeper into his story.
I have another friend who runs a collection agency. I talk to him quite often. That night I told him my other friend´s story and asked him if he´d had similar experiences. He just laughed it off and made a joke of it, saying that he´d also say something similar if given the chance. So I just decided that my other friend had been misled and thought nothing more of it. A few days later I was conversing with the guy who runs the collection agency again and he said "Dude, remember that thing you were telling me the other day?" I said I did and he said "The same thing is starting to happen to my people." Now it had been confirmed in my mind. People had actually stopped paying their credit card bills because they feel the president elect is going to bail them out, so why should they pay their bills?
I couldn´t believe their mentality. I´d never heard of such a thing. I know people have gone through bankruptcies and such out of necessity, but to not pay their bills because they felt someone in power was going to "bail them out?" It was lunacy. Yet I could hardly blame them. They had listened to this man campaign and had heard the ambiguous promises he was making and then they decided that he must have meant he would bail them out from their own folly. Their messiah had come and now he was in power. He was going to save them all. Now I´m hearing that credit card debt defaults have totally spiraled out of control. What a surprise.
Then, just a few days ago, something happened that made my jaw drop. My coworker, a naturalized citizen from Bulgaria who has been in the United States quite some time, asked me if he should quit paying his mortgage because he read somewhere that Barack Obama was planning on helping out all the homeowners who were in danger of losing their homes due to foreclosure. He was upset that he had worked hard to keep up with his mortgage payments and that other people who had not managed to pay for whatever reason were getting a handout. He wanted a handout too. I told him that of course he should keep paying his mortgage, that until his house was paid off it was actually owned by the bank and they could take their collateral if they needed to. I don´t know if he believed me or not, but he seemed to understand.
Is this the kind of mentality the country is headed toward? Are we all to be paupers begging on the streets for handouts? So many people see the very wealthy getting billions of dollars to keep their companies from going under and they feel they deserve the same. So many others feel they have worked so hard for so little reward. Some people have nothing but debt. They want help, the question is, are they looking to the right people to help them out? How about earning one´s keep? How about living within one´s means and not going into debt in the first place? It sounds difficult, but it shouldn´t be. The system´s been set up to make it difficult, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. Right now I am managing to pay down my debt and hope to be debt free by next summer. I do not plan on receiving any help from anyone in power. I am certain there will be no bailout for me.
Yet as time goes on and if more and more people become leaches on the system subsisting on handouts from the public coffers, then more and more people who are earning the money to support the system will begin to wonder why they are doing so. They will begin to wonder if maybe they´d be better off receiving the handouts too. This is no way to increase productivity. This is the way society slowly deteriorates. No one will want to work. No one will want to earn. Everyone will want to be bailed out. Our society will accomplish nothing.
More bailouts are not an answer to our economic woes. More competition is. More open markets are. Lift regulations and let private entrepreneurs enter the markets with new innovative ideas. They will create more jobs. They will create more wealth. End the stranglehold the Federal Reserve monopoly has on our monetary system. Let competition exist in that field as it does in other fields. Go back to an honest money system where a dollar represents a man´s labor rather than debt. A purge and a systemic overhaul are what we need, in my opinion, not more socialization and centralization. These things simply will not work and will only prolong the misery. I don´t think mankind needs another long and drawn out depression like the one we suffered through in the thirties, one that only a massive and destructive war pulled us out of. I feel that is where massive social programs will lead in the long run.
History can and does repeat itself. We can prevent catastrophe. Let´s start earning again. Let´s start producing again. We don´t need the government to show us how to do these things, we just need the government to get out of the way. And we need them to stop giving away our money to people who have already shown they don´t know how to deal wisely with money. After all, it is their unwise investments that have led to this mess. Perhaps we the people can do a better job determining where to spend our money. Perhaps it is time for those in government to stop taking it from us, stop borrowing what we will earn in the future, and let us decide how and where to spend our money. I´m willing to venture a guess that if given the chance we will prove we know how to invest more wisely than those banks and corporations that would have failed without our help.