Failure is an essential component of a free market system. Businesses that offer inferior service or product do not survive. Like the dodo, their design inevitably forces their extinction. In this way, government bailouts of banks, lending institutions, businesses and home buyers, short-circuit an essential dynamic of the free market and circumvent the natural consequences of bad buying and stupid selling.
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to let your kids suffer the consequences of their decisions. The other evening, Alayna called from a friend’s house, rather frantic, and said her car was gone. After some scurrying about, she learned it had been towed. You see, Alayna didn’t think the police towed on Sundays, or that red curbs were applicable on weekends. Guess again, girl. But instead of rushing over to rescue her, we told her to call around, find out where the car was impounded, and get her friend to take her there. And, oh yeah: Pay the $311.00 bill. Sure, it was difficult to watch this hard-working college kid cough up a chunk of her precious savings, but I’m guessing she’s learned a valuable lesson.
Alayna was a victim of her own naivetÃ©. Yes, the towing charges were inflated and the red curb may have been in a silly spot. But, alas, laws are laws. And consequences are consequences.
Perhaps this is why the Housing Stimulus Package being debated by the U.S. Senate is so disturbing. Not only does it propose to rewrite existing lending laws to assist naive borrowers, it compensates the builders and lenders that took advantage of said dummies and suffered losses. In other words, consequences are voided. Much like the overprotective parent who shields their kid from trouble and bails them out of every difficulty, Uncle Sam has come to rescue. It’s hard to teach your children about stewardship when their very own government is so irresponsible.
Geez, is there anyone our country won’t bail out?
Behind much of this political preening is the rampant notion of victimhood. We are victims! Responsibility for one’s actions is becoming a thing of the past. Nowadays, I can blame poor choices on my parents, my genetic makeup, my abusive boss, the corrupt system, the ruling class, or the voices in my head. Am I saying that lenders weren’t to blame in this whole deal, that they didn’t take advantage of people? Absolutely not! But if there’s a sucker born every minute, there’s a shyster to lend a teet.
As for me, I put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the consumer. Unless we are being intentionally defrauded or coerced by violence, NO ONE IS FORCING US TO BUY A HOUSE! People with low incomes or bad credit, instead of being offered Uncle Sam’s Elixir of Invisible Dough, should be encouraged practice wisdom and self-control, to strive for more income and better credit. Sound harsh? So did Alayna’s $311.00 impound fee. . .