Fuck you and your sense of entitlement

Driving home from work the other day I saw a sign at a carpet store that says “STIMULUS SALE!”. Of course the carpet store and their sale has nothing whatsoever to do with the federal stimulus package. Another sign – “YOUR BAILOUT IS HERE.” Then a radio ad for a car dealership comes on, asking “where is the bailout for the general public?” They propose that you can get your slice of the bailout by buying one of their cars. Credit consolidation companies run ads bellyaching the unfairness that you aren’t getting a bailout like the government and big corporations get… They’ve got the next best thing, though – keep shuffling all your bad debt around, gaining a deeper debt and larger interest rate as you ‘refi’. And we’ll thank them for it.

In the state of Florida, and I’m sure it’s the same in nearly every part of America, the concept of subtraction and negative numbers is part of second-grade curriculum. Starting at age seven we are taught the abstract value of owing more than we own. Yet when first confronted with the problem of Jack taking more apples than Jill has in her bushel, children immediately recognize the impossibility of the situation. We learn to suspend our disbelief with the concept of IOUs, lending and borrowing, and eventually with the more complex abstraction of credit. Today though, it seems like a lot of people have gone past suspension of disbelief into a delusional sense of entitlement.

The notion of every person deserving credit is pretty new. It started as a sales technique by lenders that gained popularity about 30 years ago. This message has been hammered on for so long that an entire generation has been born and raised believing that it’s their birthright to borrow other peoples’ money. It’s not a damn birthright, it’s a sales pitch! The privilege of borrowing money relies on responsibility, commitment to repay the debt, and accountability to honor the agreement regardless of job loss, injury, or other unforeseen circumstances. The consequence for failing that responsibility is a bad credit score. That’s not a big enough deterrent apparently, but I’ll leave the moralist soapbox for someone else to mount.

Instead of working to earn a living, buying things when they can be afforded and establishing a track record of good credit, countless people are going straight into college on student loans (no credit required!), live a standard of living based on the income of their loans and grants, then get out of school and get a job that doesn’t pay enough to maintain the standard of living they’ve become accustomed to on borrowed money as a “poor college student”. Now out of school with a full-time job they feel like they’ve earned the right to live an inflated lifestyle and immediately dive head-first into more credit to get a car, furnish their apartment and buy other shit they can’t begin to afford. Then comes the defaulting on credit with practically no penalty or meaningful consequence.

Some questions spring to mind… Why are these people being given credit before they can pay it back? Where are their parents in this whole mess? Do our schools not teach enough about the complexities of borrowing money? Why are these things allowed to happen?

Fuck all those questions because those questions all suffer from the same finger-pointing, blame-laying, responsibility-shirking delusion of entitlement that fuels this whole mess. Here’s a news flash – you are entitled to some things. They are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You are free to pursue your desires, but you actually have to DO the pursuing – they don’t just fall in your lap. If you want something, EARN it. Work for it, not on someone else’s borrowed dime but on your own back and with your own blood, sweat and tears. It boils down to my principal social philosophy: WIPE YOUR OWN ASS.

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