America, as a society, needs to grow the hell up.
We have become a society of instant gratification. Why can’t we have it now? If I want to buy a house, I don’t want to save up for it. I want to be able to put no money down and qualify for a loan with a ridiculously high interest rate as long as it means I get to “own” a house that is way beyond my means. Then, when I finally realize that I can’t afford it, I’ll just blame the lending company. Why not? How was I supposed to know that my monthly mortgage payment was going to be so much more than I could possibly earn? Besides, they gave me the loan. They must have known I wouldn’t be able to pay it!
It’s delusions like these that are contributing to our downfall. We’re conned into believing that we don’t need to wait for anything we want; we can have it all and have it now-now-now! We buy into statements like, “You’ll always have a car payment.”
I firmly believe that the people who make that statement are simply trying to justify their horrible spending habits.
Now, America is in a financial crisis. We’re faced with a $14 trillion + budget deficit. Housing markets are tanking fast and still don’t show signs of bottoming out. Our government refuses to negotiate over fiscal matters. Why is this?
Because certain elements in our government absolutely refuse to raise taxes.
Really? Who said we could have our cake and eat it, too? Costs are going up all over. Everything costs more than it once did. But we don’t want to pay for it?
I don’t want to pay higher taxes any more than anyone else. However, I also don’t want my child’s education to suffer simply because funding levels haven’t changed in about 20 years. It’s ridiculous to believe we can educate our children in the 21st century on a 20th century budget. I also don’t want my parents’ long term care to suffer. Medical science has us living longer than ever before. As more and more Baby Boomers retire, they are going to use more and more programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. I don’t begrudge them these programs at all. On the contrary, I’m glad they’re available for them. Our parents worked long and hard to care and provide for us and deserve to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Again, do we expect to fund these programs in the 21st century on a 20th century budget?
We need to get real. No one likes paying taxes, but we all like reaping the benefits of the social programs funded by those taxes. When we lose our jobs, we file for unemployment. Most of us send our children to public school. I don’t think we’ve outgrown the public library. Those interstate highways sure do make getting from A to B a lot easier. I could go on, but I think you get the point. Time and again, I read about how funding for these programs gets cut. We cry foul and insist that they get funded, but when we’re asked to pony up for them, we refuse to pay.
One of the first things I learned in high school economics was that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone, somewhere foots the bill. If I receive a service, it needs to be paid for. Someone has to pay the teachers’ salaries, the unemployment checks, etc. As my parents and grandparents used to tell me, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” It doesn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It comes from the taxes we pay.
For a politician to walk out in the middle of a negotiation and say raising taxes is off the table is immature and unrealistic. Pragmatically, we need to look at our taxes and see where reform is needed. Sorry, folks, but it isn’t 1994 anymore. We need to make adjustments. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, we’re not dead, so I guess we need to suck it up and pay our taxes.
I believe that all of us need to take several steps back and look at how we spend our money. How many of us even know how to balance a checkbook? I don’t think I remember how to. For every ad that promises us instant approval, no money down, and no credit check, there are probably three more for a bankruptcy lawyer or debt consolidation. It’s true that banks, mortgage companies, and payday loans are ruining our economy, but who keeps them in business? As consumers, it’s our responsibility to know what we can and cannot afford. We elect politicians who promise not to raise our taxes, but they don’t tell us how they plan to fund our nation. Let’s pause for a moment and consider what’s really important to us. Would we rather have an iPhone or a place to live? I’d rather drive my Nissan Sentra and put food on the table than a luxury car and have to go hungry. There are many things out there that I want for my family and myself. The one thing I don’t want is to have to tell them we can’t afford to eat or pay our rent this month.
Let’s get real. We can’t have our cake and eat it, too. Instant gratification is killing us.
Screw it. I’m moving to the Seychelles.