Not quite 10 years ago, shortly after the whole banking and loan debacle/housing market snafu/foreclosure frenzy, my husband and I were looking to sell our 990 square foot home for something a bit bigger given the idea we’d been married a couple of years and had the “let’s start a family” bug. We happily could have made that tiny box work, but we were anxiously hoping for something more family oriented during that season of our lives. We found the perfect place, which like most everything else on the market, was a foreclosure. Setting to work immediately on attaining our loan, we quickly discovered that our dream home might be more challenging to purchase than we thought given all the new regulations.
Now, both my husband and I had (and still have for that matter) impeccable credit. When we talked to the banker initially, he happily reported that we were the kind of people that they would willingly loan a million dollars to. I almost laughed at him when he said this. Had he seen our earnings? Was he crazy? No wonder everyone was in foreclosure, declaring bankruptcy and the banks were in trouble. And, wow, did we not want that kind of loan anyway. But as the weeks progressed, we spent phone call after phone call getting more and more information to the bank for our little loan, and I do mean little. We were putting over 60% down on the house and only needed $50,000 from the bank. You would have thought we were actually asking for that million though.
During that few weeks, I learned a valuable lesson about socialism, entitlement, and our desire as humans to reject personal responsibility. At its root, socialism tells us that someone else owes us and that we are not responsible for ourselves. The government will take care of us and squelch the free market, and this is exactly what I saw during our quest for a loan. Individuals and couples, rejecting the most basic economics class they took in high school, were sold a bill of goods by greedy mortgage companies all over the country. These borrowers chose instant gratification over common sense and contentment; and when it all went bad, the banks got hit in the nose with the regulations. Everyone pointed their fingers at the horrible, greedy, wretched banks; and since the people wanted someone to be punished for their misfortunes, the government swooped in, bailed out, and regulated. Whew! Borrowers were off the hook, and the banks tightened their lending practices. Entitlement triumphed, and personal responsibility crashed and burned.
Unfortunately, this same scenario is happening all over again. Only this time, our economic crisis will not be birthed out of the housing market. It will be rooted in the four-millionish student loans that are in default. Yes, four-million student loans have not seen a payment in over 360 days. Rest assured these loans will never see another payment at this point. And, why is it that graduates find it so easy to default on their loans? Simple, we’ve raised a generation that is entitled to everything. A decade ago our entitlement mentality said that we deserved a house we knew we couldn’t afford, and now we believe we are entitled to an education we have no intention of paying for.
If America ever wants to prosper again, we are going to have to get off this entitlement merry-go-round and learn to govern our own actions. And the only I way I know how to make that kind of change is to raise up a generation that thinks and acts differently. This isn’t an easy task, but it begins with one parent or one teacher training one child or one student to take responsibility for his own actions without blaming others for his faults and mistakes.
So parents, teachers, make kids take responsibility for themselves. Stop picking up after them, stop taking their backpack up to school every time they forget it, stop giving them everything that want whenever they want it, stop fixing every little mess they make, and stop giving them dozens of chances to get their school assignments done. We are raising a generation of young people who can’t even show up to work on time and don’t think they should get fired because they are entitled to a job under their conditions. Let’s stop the madness. The entitlement must stop, and personal responsibility must take center stage again if we hope to see our nation prosper again.