Monday, June 15, 2009

Wayward American Values

In a time of excess, I give thanks for all that I don't have. I don't have a house that I owe more on than it's value. I don't drive fancy cars with $600 car payments. My children are not spoiled by expensive clothes or toys. I know that I am not in over my head with life in general and damn, it feels good. I overheard a young man at Starbucks the other night talking to some gentlemen about being $75,000 in debt. How is he ever to get ahead when he works at Starbucks and is only 25. What happens when he has a wife and kids to support? What happens when the economy gets so bad that he loses that part-time coffee job and can't find even the smallest of employment? I hope that no one expects me to pay for his mistake. They talk about increasing the interest you pay on credit cards to begin the day you charge with no grace period, in order to penalize the small group of us who actually pay our bills. Is that fair? Just because you aren't making alot of money off of us and the ones you can make money off of are not paying their bills, we are punished for being responsible. Well, I call bullshit on this! I am all for helping out the truly needy. The working poor who need to feed their kids. Not the poor who avoid work and have a big, flatscreen TV, but no food to eat. I am so fed up with trying to be the responsible person that my parents raised me to be and each day hear about some program designed to help people who got in that mess by living too large. If I thought someone was going to bail me out, sure, I would go out and charge up a storm; buy a million-dollar home; drive that luxury car. However, I was brought up by people who came from a generation where nothing was given to you. You worked for every dime you made. They didn't believe in credit and didn't buy anything they couldn't pay cash for. Buying on time was a hard concept to get. We were raised to have pride in being able to take care of yourself. I have asked my parents for money so few times, all were during high school and college, that if I called and asked right now, my father would probably sell a kidney to get me the money. That is how much trouble I would have to be in to ask for a handout. If everyone gets a free pass right now, what does that say to the kids we are raising? I don't want my boys to think that they are worth a certain amount just for existing. They have to prove their worth like every person before them. They have to understand that even when you don't have the money for all the things you want, as long as your needs are covered you are in a good place. Nice cars, fancy homes, designer clothes, fancy restaurants, computers, cell phones, satellite, electronics, toys, vacations....these are all luxuries. You are not entitled to these things simply for living in America, but we definitely allow you the opportunity to earn them and don't screw that up.

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