Mass Irresponsibility Breeds American Socialism

A few months ago I touched on what then was the coming socialistic government takeover of banks in a BLOG entry dealing with a major source of the “mortgage meltdown.” Look around. It’s happening.

As a fiscal conservative, this whole TARP and “stimulus bill” ordeal is hugely disappointing. The effective government takeover of various institutions troubles me, of course; but at least as bothersome is the notion that a simple financial concept, to which my family and millions of others subscribe in balancing our checkbooks, could have prevented this mess — from the government itself to the largest banks to every individual applicant who dug a hole over his/her head.

That notion is this: Don’t buy more than you can afford.

Duh.

Yet in response, I read and hear a common whiny intonation uttered by certain demagogues (conservative or liberal), economists (who clearly must not have a tight budget to keep at home) and politicians (Republican or Democrat), and even one or two friends of mine, who seem to see no problem with spending our way deeper into debts, public or private. “It’s not that simple!”

Bull crap. It absolutely, positively is that simple, and a matter of self-discipline. Don’t buy more than you can afford! Stick with that concept, whether government, corporate or individual, and this problem never starts. Ask any and every family who sticks to a budget and spends within their means, and importantly, saves for the hard times. Ask any state or local government who does. They all prove, in deed instead of in word, that it can be done.

Stick with that ethic, and the problem only occurs to those highly uncommon individual or corporate cases where circumstances totally out of their control compel insolvency (e.g., a catastrophic illness or accident on the individual scale). Bankruptcy or bailouts become so rare that we, collectively, could afford them for individuals and companies who truly suffer misfortunes through no fault of their own. And because of their rarity, the cost is far cheaper to the economy than what’s happening now.

That “complexity” cop-out is garbage for another reason. It also acts as a smokescreen to cover all manner of fiscal excess and nefariousness. Those who express it are mere enablers — excusing the addictive engorging of fiscal drunkards on the booze of debt spending — while in bizarre and delusional denial of the root solution to the problem as expressed in the seven simple, boldface words above.

Some people like to find victims. Not me. But if you really want one, I’ve got one: Capitalism. Capitalism itself isn’t the problem, it’s the victim. The problem is corporate, governmental and especially personal irresponsibility (on a massively accumulated scale). And yet, and yet…

We’re about to fork over hundreds of billions of dollars in a “stimulus package” that is mostly pure government spending on pet projects, with far less honest-to-goodness job stimulus than advertised. Whither the national debt? Democrats and Republicans alike have proven feckless at dealing with it, once put in any position of influence. Bush…Obama…Republican Congress, Democrat Congress…in this regard, what’s the difference? None. [Clearly there are other huge differences, but that’s off topic!]

I don’t believe in the validity of complaints without solutions. As is often the case, the solution is simple, even as deep as we are into this hole. Read those seven boldface words again.



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