Cursing the Darkness
In the midst of the current sluggish economy that has engulfed the government and business sectors in an avalanche of difficulty and uncertainty, there is a great temptation to â€˜curse the darknessâ€™ by casting blame. It is certainly true that the current financial situation has plenty of blame to go around. Typically, entities such as â€œWall Street Greedâ€ and â€œIrresponsible Governmentâ€ are dogs that frequently get kicked. However, there is a very large elephant that frequently seems to be overlooked. That elephant is personal responsibility.
The reason why personal responsibility plays such an important role in the current economic situation is because it is impossible for a financial crisis to develop unless there are a LOT of people using credit to live beyond their means. The crisis develops when the people who have been living on borrowed money can no longer make the payments. Once the borrowers stop paying the creditors, there is suddenly a crisis. (Note that the crisis is the proverbial â€˜hangover after the partyâ€™ since it is necessarily preceded by people living high on borrowed money.)
This phenomenon highlights a curious and unflattering corner of the human condition. Namely that people are more eager to “curse the darkness” and blame somebody else for their problems than seek a path of action that they can personally take to influence their personal situation. This is not to say that all things are all our fault. Quite to the contrary, there are many parties who have earned a considerable measure of blame. However, the collective malfeasance of various players on the economic stage is not within our direct control. Taking personal responsibility for our personal decisions is of paramount importance because our actions are the primary points of influence that we have control over in regard to our personal, professional, and financial well being. The only way that our life will improve is if we take action. Past precedent has most clearly shown that the so-called guardians of our financial well being will look after their own interests before ours.
An unfortunate and disappointing part of the current economic situation is that the â€˜solutionâ€™ being sought isnâ€™t one of returning to responsible spending and lending practices . . . no, it is the exact antithesis of responsibility referred to affectionately as a â€˜bailout.â€™A The extreme danger posed with the â€˜bailoutâ€™ solution is that it simply subsidizes the irresponsibility that caused the problem in the first place. My greatest fear with this â€˜bailoutâ€™ mindset is that constantly rewarding irresponsibility can only lead to an increase in irresponsibility by more and more people until the problems eventually get so big that it is beyond of the ability of the government to bail out.
Simple arithmetic clearly demonstrates that the extent of government financial obligations will soon exceed its financial resources by an impossibly large margin. This will lead to a situation where many people receive far less than they have been promised for their benefits, pensions, salaries, and many other varieties of services. This will compel many of them to “curse the darkness” as well, saying that the problem comes from taxes not being high enough on the “rich” or from unfair foreign competition, and from a variety of other sources. In order to endure this ensuing storm of financial darkness, it is completely necessary that we take action now so that the financial well being of our families are safeguarded.
Ultimately, there is only one way to permanently restore stability. That is to retreat from blaming other people for the financial problems that we the people have created. Put another way . . . instead of cursing the darkness, try lighting a candle.