We live in a time when bailouts and handouts have replaced hard work and contributions to the country we love. It appears many are more attracted to taking from, rather than giving to, our future.
With bailouts for banks and car companies and handouts for non-productive citizens, it is no wonder we are losing what has kept our nation strong: the belief that we are personally responsible to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves and our families. It is essential to a free people.
The once-feared words, "We are from the government, and we're here to help" have become music to the ears of many. The people in New Orleans who waited for the government to arrive and take care of everything after hurricane Katrina epitomize this sentiment.
Banks now expect the government, equipped with taxpayer dollars, to bail out mismanagement and speculative behavior.
Citizens who lose jobs expect the government to pay benefits until they obtain employment in a profession they find acceptable.
Homeowners walk away from an obligation to pay because their home is worth less than the mortgage.
Sick people walk into emergency rooms expecting to be treated without any intention of paying.
Like a frog who is placed in a pot of cold water only to have the heat slowly turned up, we don't realize we are slowly boiling in the broth of socialism. And if we don't jump out of the pot soon, we will be boiled to death.
Banks that take huge risks and embrace shady business practices should go out of business. Any poorly run business must suffer the realistic consequence of its actions – failure. Banks that fail should have their doors locked and shareholders wiped out.
People who are unemployed need to take any job (or jobs) to pay the bills. I keep hearing that people will not lower themselves to take work that is beneath them. Maybe if starvation is the only alternative, that attitude might change. The unemployed now get 99 weeks of benefits along with food stamps instead of being required to work for those benefits. Why not require them to do the jobs the states have cut due to budget deficits? They can clean parks, sweep streets or do clerical work at different departments just until they find work. Otherwise, they go hungry.
Homeowners should not be allowed to walk away from the commitment they made when they borrowed money. They should have to pay for years to come until they have paid it back. And why do some expect to be heralded as a hero if they continue to pay? These same people also expect a principal reduction or a lower interest rate to incentivize them to do what they promised to do when they signed the loan. Homeowners who refuse to pay a mortgage because the market dropped should be sued to perform or lose the house and then pay whatever the bank loses in liquidation. Why should lenders take it on the chin? Lenders don't make more money if homeowners sell for a profit. Why should they lose when defaults occur?
People who need medical treatment should be handed a bill when they leave the hospital. Why should a hospital or a fellow citizen be expected to pay – especially if bad behavior or poor lifestyle choices landed that person in the emergency room to begin with? They should be required to send $5, $10 or whatever they can every month until it's paid. Maybe they will never get it all paid, but something is better than nothing. Maybe one day they will get a great job, an inheritance or even win the lottery. Why should they not be responsible to pay if they can, even if it's years later?
The common thread in each of these scenarios is zero consequence for doing the wrong thing.
Bad behavior should be punished, and good behavior should be rewarded. We have allowed it to become just the opposite. I place a lot of that at the feet of lawyers who find legal loopholes allowing government, banks, businesses, individuals and even criminals to literally get away with anything.
Until we get back to doing the right thing in America, we are inching closer and closer to modern-day slavery. We must demand accountability not only from government but from each other.
We all know right from wrong! Many, however, choose to blame it on something or someone else instead of taking responsibility for their actions. Many want to take the easy way out and are willing to lie, cheat and steal to avoid consequences. Yet they never take time to realize if they don't pay, someone else will have to. It is a form of stealing when one has the ability to pay, even if it's just a little, and they don't.
I pray for a day when America starts telling the truth again and rejects lying, when hard work and playing by the rules are the actions that bring a reward. I pray for an America where honoring one's commitment is more important than money.
I know most who read my column are good, decent and honest people who do work hard and expect very little from the government other than to keep us safe. But we are rapidly becoming the exception, not the rule. Those expecting something for nothing are part of a fast-growing group.
If this trend continues, the liberty and freedom we enjoy will be but a concept that future generations will only read about in history books.
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