Let’s have a brief discussion about personal responsibility. Now, before you get mad at me, I know that is a taboo subject in today’s world, but let’s think about it – please humor me.
When I was a kid, as I can remember, there was only one kind of credit card that was in common use and that was a gas company credit card. Since I was too young to have one I can only assume that the debt that was incurred had to be paid. I know that is a silly concept today but, as I said, bear with me. If I recall correctly, Sears and Roebuck had a “revolving credit” account. That meant that if you charged a washer on the account in January, and then paid it down to within a few dollars, then charged a drier on the account and then paid it down to within a few dollars, then charged a refrigerator on the account and then half way down the payment schedule you defaulted on the account they could come pick up all three appliances.
Was this unfair? Maybe or maybe not, but the point is that this is the way the account was structured and you understood the consequences of not paying. That is what I call enforced responsibility; consequences for your decisions and/or actions.
Every day I hear advertisements on the radio or TV saying something like “Do you owe the IRS $10,000 or more? Now you can negotiate that down to pennies on the dollar,” or “Do you have over $10,000 in credit card debt? Now you can be forgiven most if not all of it.” When and how did we get to the point where we expect to incur debts and not have to make good on them? Friends, there is a very simple word for this concept, THEFT. When a person makes a commitment, they follow through with it. If they don’t, they are a liar and a thief. Strong words? Maybe so, but that is the way I feel about it.
But wait, I am being completely insensitive and politically incorrect about this situation. After all, our president the OWH advocates making this attitude public policy. In his State of the Union blather he said:
To make college more affordable, this bill (speaking about an education bill) will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let’s take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service. Because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. And it’s time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs – because they too have a responsibility to help solve this problem.
There are two very blatant things wrong here. The first goes along with the theme of this Discourse and that is personal responsibility. As a public policy we are going to tell college students that after 10 or 20 years they will have their debt completely forgiven. Well, I’m one of the folks loaning them that money and I have a vote on that public policy. I VOTE NO! These people assume a debt and I vote that they pay their assumed debt.
The second thing that is wrong with that quote is that the OWH is intentionally encouraging the growth of government in the hiring of college students who will be able to work in one bureaucracy or another for 10 years and be free of the student loans THAT I LOANED THEM.
The OWH has said and done a lot of stupid things in the last year, but this one is right up there with the best. He has absolutely no idea how to solve our economic or social problems. As I have stated in these Discourses in the past, when you are out of money, stop spending. As Newt has said, when you can’t afford to buy a house, don’t buy it. If you can’t afford to go to college, work your way through it.
The only way I can see to get this country back on its collective economic feet is to get rid of the myriad of non-constitutional departments and bureaus and give those functions back to the states and the people where they belong. In that way, billions of dollars that we are hemorrhaging into bureaucracies could go to our debtors and put us back into the black ink territory. A result of these cuts would be massive cuts in social programs. You say that we can’t do that because so many people depend on them? How about making people depend on themselves? That is what the “Greatest Generation” did. They weren’t great just because they won the war against Fascism; they also persevered against the economic crisis brought on by failed government policies.
Friends we are headed there again. These bureaucrats and incompetents in Washington are doing what we used to call “featherbedding.” It is past time we put a stop to it.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and discussions.