I’m appalled by the universal acceptance of a debt-based economy. It encourages a sense of entitlement on the part of the majority of the population (as well as the government itself) to reap more than they can sow. Our entire nation is caught in a self-perpetuating spiral of fiscal irresponsibility. When the entire culture accepts that debt is ok, and promotes it as a virtue, it’s not surprising that so many individuals don’t know where to draw the line.
If record numbers of people are now learning that there are consequences to overextending their budgets, then maybe they’ll teach their children that debt is dangerous, and the next generation will grow up with a greater sense of fiscal and personal responsibility. But those who eschew luxuries and take care to live within their means should not end up being forced to foot the bill for those who don’t.
What’s wrong with telling people they shouldn’t spend more than they can earn, and that they should earn it before they spend it? What’s wrong with not having everything at once, but working your way up to a point where you can be proud that you’ve earned the right to a higher standard of living than you had when you started out? What’s wrong with living lean until you gain the skills to provide enough value to somebody to get paid enough to support yourself in the style to which you’d like to become accustomed? Why does everybody feel they deserve everything up front before they even know what it means to work hard enough and long enough to be able to afford it? It’s a sickness in our culture.
Debt is not a right, nor even a privilege. Debt is a disease. I understand that, in dire circumstances, one may contract it. But the idea is to get rid of it as soon as possible, not to cultivate it and nurture it and make it a lifestyle. I know I’m in a miniscule minority on this question. What seems obvious to me seems ridiculous to most. Why do without when you can charge it? Well, for one reason, there are things that even money can’t buy, no matter how deeply in debt one is willing to sink. Self-reliance has it’s own rewards. Knowing you don’t owe anything to anyone is more than just solvency. It’s freedom.
I don’t understand why anybody feels entitled to anything they haven’t earned. I really don’t. Call me a Scrooge. Call me old-fashioned. Call whatever you want. But I believe in taking responsibility for one’s own life.