Here’s my story – A long time ago in my life, I was in debt….a lot of debt. It was extremely distressing because I had obligations to pay for (most of which were due to my desire for more “stuff” that I didn’t necessarily need but was fun to have) and not enough money to pay the tab. Debt is crushing over time…your stuff is worth less and less…the demands to take care of the stuff cost more and more…and it takes more and more money to afford to live while the debt takes forever to go away. At that particular time in my life, the debt started to eat away at my contentment…especially in terms of my job (the income side of the equation). Over time, I started to feel like my employer was obligated to help me pay off my debt…in other words, as my debt grew, I expected my job to pick up the slack. The truth is, I got a little resentful if I wasn’t getting annual raises…not because I didn’t deserve them (because I did work hard and produce enough tangible results) but my resentment stemmed from the fact that I had huge anxiety about the growing indebtedness of my life. And instead of addressing the debt and obligations (many of which were frivolous), I expected my employer to pay me more…I needed more income, period. In a manner of speaking, it didn’t really matter over time if I earned a raise or even if my employer could or could not afford to give me a raise…I didn’t care about my employer’s reality, all I cared about was my own. Sooner or later, I had to own up to my problem…I had a “stuff” problem…I had a problem with expecting others to take care of what I needed (really, wanted) and got angry if it wasn’t occurring the way I had it all sketched out in my mind. Sooner or later, it all crashed and I had to take drastic actions – I had to take responsibility for who I had become…I had to own up to my insatiable appetite for “stuff” and look critically at my lifestyle and make adjustments. It was difficult to do…but sooner than later, I was able to start digging myself out of the debt that held me in bondage. It didn’t happen overnight but it did eventually occur. Interestingly enough, as soon as I took responsibility for what I had done in my life, my resentment also disappeared and I was able to embrace contentment once more.
I don’t want to make HUGE applications of my story with that which is happening in our country at this time…but every time I hear about our country’s huge indebtedness out of control obligations (in the progressive mentality of thinking that we can legislate or “government” our way into utopianism) and then I hear any politician say all that they need to help our country is to raise the “revenue” stream (no matter what party, what decade, etc.) without critically looking at how much the entitlement mentality has gripped our country and created more co-dependents than healthy, interdependent adults, I start to have problems. I have a problem with people not taking ownership for their own lives…I have a problem with those who think that we can institutionally solve problems that are embedded in the heart of human character…I have a problem with the government stepping in and trying to solve something that we should all be addressing as people because we love others…I have a problem with more and more and more being demanded at my expense (and your expense) because the government cannot say “no” (they are obligating my wonderful grandchildren in ways we cannot even comprehend, THAT is downright offensive).
This is the way it is – the government (over many decades – actually since the Johnson era of the 60’s) believed it could solve all the problems of the world by throwing massive amounts of cash at the issues…by all means, we were (and are to a point) a wealthy and blessed nation. The “war on poverty”, “war on drugs”, “war on war”…you name it, the government never said “no” to a program that enables a person NOT to responsibility for their own lives. For example, just the latest news from my hometown, Detroit, Michigan reminded me of that reality – Detroit is now serving free breakfast and lunch to every student in the public school system…as you can guess, I have way too many questions on how that particular program came into being to the tune of millions of dollars. Parents couldn’t or wouldn’t feed their own kids (which, by the way, I did at a sacrifice of my time and energy and money because they were my children) so “guess who” had to step in. Every time the government steps in to address a problem it can never solve it is going to cost you and me. This is what I have experienced – for every year of my adult life, taxes, fees, levies, tolls, etc. have gone higher and higher. Truth is, we pay more now in taxes on a gallon of gas than we paid for the gallon of gas itself when I was a kid.
I don’t know but I think it is way past time to say “no.” The longer we allow more and more and more to be demanded of us in terms of what the government wants to take from us, the more we will see culture stalled out in co-dependency, addiction and irresponsibility. You know what I experienced when I got tempted (better yet, flirted) with an inability to say “no” with my kids as they grew up? I got a first hand “glimpse” at what happens when a child starts to “expect”…get lazy…get overly dependent…and not take ownership for their own lives and growth. That’s where the government is now…it is spoiled. It is does not have a concept of what every penny it demands actually “means” in real life…they are used to having an open checkbook, a printing press and the power to demand more…at the expense of society, individuals and families.
You know, I’m sorry for the rant…I really am. It simply is one way to deal with furiousness of listening to people promise more and more…drive up more and more debt…and just taking the easy way out, “oh, all we’ll do is demand more from our employers”…yeah, that’s right. WE are their employers. Maybe it is time we did them a favor and said, “no”…maybe then they would have to deal with reality.
Hey, feel free to disagree with me or tell me your story…I am NOT claiming I am right and all wise on all things…I have my perspective based upon my experience in life…if you have other thoughts, share them!