Personal Responsibility… The Lost Virtue, Part I

OK, let’s just be honest with what we are going to do here in this post. I am going to begin the post by framing this in a political way that literally makes fun of the economic stimulus bill. But them I am going to turn and cross over at some point to the lambasting of something that is a personal pet peeve of mine. As many of you know I am a big fan of personal responsibility.

So I have figured out why the Congress and President aren’t worried about borrowing all of this money that the “Massive Government Expansion and Spending Act of 2009” will entail. Because let’s be real with one another. I think we can do that right? This isn’t economic stimulus any more than Nancy Pelosi has a real grip on the pulse of Americans. It is a spending bill and an expansion of government. And what they spend they are “borrowing” from us! It is the democrats sticking it to republicans because they know they can. And they are sticking it to Americans by tricking you into believing it is stimulus. They are sure hoping you won’t bother to read it!

But I digress. I was driving down the road today, on my way to work. After all I have to get to earning what Nancy and Company are going to take from me to pay for all this. I am “rich” according to them, so I must spread my wealth with all the people of the land. And on the radio comes a commercial, and suddenly the world becomes more clear. These Democrats aren’t the spending fools I thought they were. They are absolutely BRILLIANT. This is what I hear (obviously I made up the name of the Company):

Credit Card Bills got you down? Can’t keep up with those mortgage payments? Then call us; we can help. We are Acme Debt Reduction Services. We can lower your monthly payments by negotiating with your creditors to lower the amount you owe. 

Cut to desperate sounding female voice “I was in over my head. I owed the credit card companies over $50,000. Creditors were calling me every day. I was going to lose my home, my car… my life. Acme Debt Reduction negotiated with my creditors and settled my accounts for pennies on the dollar. I owed one company $20,000, and they settled my account for less than $1,500. Now I am debt free and I can answer my phone without being afraid. Thanks Acme Debt Reduction!”

Call 1-800- NO ACCOUNTABILITY right now to speak to one of our lawyers and see how Acme Debt Reduction can stop the phones from ringing. This isn’t debt consolidation, this is debt ELIMINATION.

So that is the move that the Democrats are going to pull! They are going to borrow this money from a creditor on good faith and take the money they borrow. Then later they are going to call Acme and settle with that creditor for pennies on the dollar. It is a brilliant plan and we don’t have to worry about the government ever paying it back! The only person who gets screwed here is the stupid creditor who loaned the money. They get pennies on the dollar. But they have it coming anyway. Creditors are tools who are constantly annoying us. 

One problem America. The creditor is you

And this points right back to the number one problem in America (hint: this is the turn I warned you about). No personal accountability. We live in a land of credit and living above our means. And we think that it is OK to not live up to the financial obligations we have. That it is morally just to tell those that loaned us money that we don’t have to pay them back. 

We have lost control of ourselves financially. We spend more than we can afford to pay back. We buy things we don’t need. We take big risks with our money, like figuring out that if we cut this bill we can afford to add that one, instead of operating with a personal financial safety net. 

Those who had to go through it with me remember that I was left an enormous financial liability when my first marriage ended. While I was deployed for a year, she racked up credit cards in my name, didn’t pay bills, generally left me a big mess. I didn’t file for bankruptcy. I took care of the creditors by paying every single dime of it off. It wasn’t easy and it took a decade. But I can feel right with the world knowing that I did so. But I am a big exception to the rule these days. 

Now everyone is looking for a way to not pay the debts they owe. These folks took the services, goods, and products in the premise of the fair deal that the free market warrants. Then they failed to fulfill their end of the contract. And they further looked to be absolved of this obligation rather than simply changing their budget and cutting spending to pay back what was owed. That makes them leeches on society. They no longer respect the terms of the fair deal. Morally, they are simply not up to par. 

What this country needs is a readjustment of their fiscal guiding principles. They need to learn what their budget is and live well within it. Stop buying what you want with money you don’t have and begin buying what you need with what you do have. Analyze every spending opportunity and ask yourself whether this is a good purchase based on what you need, what you have, and what you can afford. 

In this way the American public is a perfect mirror of their government. Because all that was said about what people need to do applies to what government needs to do as well. Balance their budget and live on what we can afford. Cut spending and become fiscally responsible. When you look at the stimulus bill, equate it to a new $100,000 car you see on the lot. You want it, but it will ruin you financially. When you look at it equate it to that online monthly America Online service that you haven’t used in 2 years but keep paying for. You aren’t using it and don’t need it, so call and cancel it. 

The government keeps talking about getting our country back on track economically. Perhaps they need to start with themselves. Monitor your budget, Congress, the same way we are forced to monitor ours because of the massive spending and taxing you impose on us. I said Americans who are fiscally irresponsible are leeches on society. Government has become that radiation mutated leech that has grown to 50 feet long, not drawing drops of dollars from society, but instead trillion dollar bucket-fulls.


  1. Great read, spot on. You even got me on the turn.

    “The creditor is me? Oh snap!”

    I am right there with you in that people need to pay off the debt they create. I feel for those who get screwed by insurance companies and get stuck with multi-thousand dollar health care bills when they thought they had good insurance. I believe there are some cases of people who are legitimately screwed where personal responsibility could not have fixed the problem.

    But for those who spend themselves into oblivion, bit by bit, night out after night out, car after car, they need to cowboy up and pay their dues.

    • Dreweth,
      I was very careful to make it credit card debt. The insurance scams and such are a whole different story. As are the folks who “owe” the IRS large sums of money. There is a big difference between creating debt you cannot repay and having debt forced on you by government’s endless appetite for the fruits of our labor. I have always been clear that I agree with some taxes, but not the plethora that we face these days.

  2. revolution2010 says:

    We always seem to be on the same page! I just wrote a very similar post, 2 in fact that deal with the same issues. I am glad I didn’t step over here before I wrote as I think you influence me when I do… which is fine, just not as objective!
    I wanted to bring up this issue and you have just opened up the space… so here is the gig.
    They are talking about how to fix the housing crisis in the Senate. There have been several Amendments offered dealing with the issue. One that you may have heard is to offer 4% mortgages to people who have high interest rate arms. I don’t necessarily disagree with that, although my personal opinion is that the loan should under no circumstance drop below whatever the original “catch” rate was. The problem that I have is that some fools think they should only have to mortgage the fair market value of the house! The government should “forgive” the outstanding balance with TARP funds…rather than having them take a loss on a bad investment. WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?
    So let me get this straight… If I go buy a plasma TV when they first came out at $15,000 and then the market corrects because other manufacturers create competition, the government is going to pay what is over “fair market value” if I used credit to buy it? Ridiculous, right? I am sorry some people got a bad deal. The argument can be made that if they had bought their house for cash they would just be out that money as a loss. I don’t necessarily mind the government investing in low interest rate mortgages as much as I mind them supporting morons with my tax dollars! That isn’t true, I do mind them handing out low rate mortgages, but for the example, let’s say I don’t. You get my point!
    What is next? Is the government going to start reimbursing everyone who lost money in the stock market too?

  3. Right on! Personal responsibility in America is largely non-existent. That is what the bailout is anyways… How can we get ourselves out of the problems we put ourselves in. I think it is very pathetic!

  4. Americans have gorged at the trough of easy credit for a decade or so, and now that they ride has come to an end, they’ve decided to elect government officials who will perpetuate their virtual reality on the backs of those who have behaved responsibly and lived within their means. Unfortunately a democracy cannot work that way, and it is the inevitable end of democracy when the takers outnumber the givers. We are approaching the tipping point unless we DO SOMETHING to smack this nation back to reality. Call the Democrat Senators who are up for re-election and the three traitors and tell them that a yes vote will have consequences. Even if you are not a constituent, you can give money and your endorsement (Via the internet ) to their opponents if they vote for the irresponsible Spendulus Bill. If you nee their names and contact info, I’ve got it listed on my site at If those who can act fail to act, then we have no one but ourselves to blame.

  5. Black Flag says:
  6. Repudiate the debt. I didn’t sign up for this. It is not my debt, even if some want me to pay it. That’s ridiculous. If my neighbor buys a Rolls Royce, thinking I will make the payments for him, I will refuse. Same with the US government. In fact, any company that gets a piece of this bailout pie has already gotten more of my money than they are owed, even if I previously owed them something. I would consider my debt “paid in full”. Two can play that game. I don’t think I currently owe anyone who is a part of this scam, but I will look into it.

  7. Good, thought provoking piece, USWEAPON. I found it interesting when you mentioned “personal accountability”. What a bold concept. Unfortunately the liberal mindset in our schools from kindergarden on is – no one is responsible for their own actions. It was your difficult childhood, the neighborhood you were raised in, a bully who picked on you, etc. We’ve paid on our mortgage since its inception, late only once ot twice. When are we going to get help with OUR payments?

    You replied to Dreweth that IRS debt is a different subject. True, however, as I read your post I couldn’t help but think of the ad on TV last night, “If you owe IRS lots of money. . .we’ll work with you to reduce it to pennies on the dollar.” One person owed $500,000! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for keeping what’s mine in my pocket, but why does personal responsibility seem to get short-shrifted?

  8. Perhaps because no one can really “owe” a thief his “take”. It is not your responsibility to pay the mugger in the park what he demands, nor is it your responsibility to pay the IRS what it demands. Both are simply using a threat of violence to get your property. It is just that the IRS is backed up by a big organized crime syndicate that has written a set of rules saying its theft is OK. And managed to brainwash a lot of its victims into believing it.

  9. Kentmcmanigal, can’t argue with that. The first day I spent with my accountant for my S-Corp I told him in words to the affect, “I I worked for this money. Now help me keep (legally) as much of it as I can. And that’s my way of taking care of my personal responsibility!

  10. Love this artical! I’m glad I’m the frugal one in this family! Makes a whole lot of sense and thats what I beleive most of the Americans have been waiting for but its not happening. The spending in congress is way out of line.

  11. Your singing to the choir!

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