Spoiled Americans

We all know the type of kid, the one that never faces consequence or discipline. When sent to the principal’s office, it’s never their fault (the mean teacher should be blamed). They’re the kid throwing temper tantrums in the store whose parents always cave and buy them the candy.

This type grows up to be the type of adult that never learns to work, to save, or to go without. And when things are really bad, they whine and wait for someone to bail them out. We all hate them: we curse them and call them moochers. Unless we’re one of them.
My brother is shopping for his first house. He was approved for a loan of $250,000. If he budgets, he might be able to afford a house costing $110,000. I’m drawing from the experience of my own mortgages for four homes. I assume the lender is as familiar with the real cost of home-ownership as I am. Why on God’s green earth would they be willing to lend this boy more than twice what he can reasonably repay?

I’ll tell you why: interest and responsibility. The more money they lend, the more interest they receive. And they aren’t responsible for the financial decisions of their clients. It’s our job to research our own investments and make wise choices.

But now things are bad. You can’t repay; the loans default. No interest for the lenders. Houses aren’t selling. And here comes the temper tantrum. The whiny “Why won’t someone come pay my bill?” rhetoric. The, “Poor me — look what the government did. Why didn’t someone stop the mean lenders from offering me a huge loan I knew I couldn’t repay?” And, even better, the “Why did the government allow me to loan huge amounts of money to struggling Americans who didn’t have a prayer when it came to paying it all back? George Bush should have called that guy in Orem and told him what would happen when your kids get sick or you break your leg at work. He should have shouted, ‘YOU’LL LOSE YOUR HOUSE!’ all the way from Washington.”

Alas, we wouldn’t have listened anyway. Now we’re at the checkout stand screaming for someone to pay for the impulse-buy we snatched off the candy rack. The last thing this country needs is a bailout plan.

A bailout will not fix the stupidity now; it will enable it. What we need is our noses to the wall and to be sent to bed without supper. We can face a small(er) setback, or we can face a full-blown depression. Americans need to learn to go without, to stop buying things just because they can. Grow up America, and start being responsible for your own life.

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