We have a responsibility problem in this country. It is everywhere, from the voters that voted for President Obama because he would pay their mortgage and utility bills for them (I do not recall him refuting this oft-repeated argument, by the way) to the auto bailouts to local and state governments clamoring for federal stimulus money.
I recently read this interesting and insightful statement in an article regarding record deficits and federal borrowing: “The deficits … are driven in large part by the economic crisis inherited by this administration,” budget director Peter Orszag wrote in a blog entry on Monday.
This follows the pattern: no responsibility. The deficits are driven by government spending, pure and simple. It may be true that such spending was seen as necessary by some. However, to blame the economic crisis for irresponsible and reckless government spending is at least irresponsible and sounds nearly reckless.
Yesterday on the radio, I heard a story about how the Postal Service was needing to increase stamp rates (probably annually) to make up for lost revenue (over $1 billion this quarter alone). At the end of the story, the reporter mentioned how that people who use email and make purchases online are largely to blame for this rate increase, but that such individuals will likely persist in their behavior. Again, this sounds completely irresponsible. Blame is shifted from who is truly responsible (the U.S. Postal Service for not providing a service whose costs are covered by individuals who will voluntarily pay) to those who are not (individuals acting freely, economizing to save money in hard times, or increase convenience in good times).
Lest you be concerned that I am pounding on democrats alone, I find that the GOP blame games which we have seen repeatedly over the years show a similar trend: the mainstream associated with both major parties shows major irresponsibility.
Contrast this with us, with you and I. In a time of frozen credit and economic hardship, none of us can afford to make reckless personal economic decisions. We can blame whoever we choose, but ultimately, it is our own individual responsibility to make sure that we are economically healthy. None of us have the political clout and lobbying power to bend Washington to our will, nor should we. Instead, we are to rely on tried and true principles of budgeting, economizing, and hopefully saving, consistent with provident living.