Accountability

I have already written about the problem of entitlement and how society tends misplace the blame for this societal ill.  This is not the only area in which society is misplacing blame and avoiding individual accountability.

While reading an article today on the recession, and perusing the comments made in response, I once again was amazed at how accountability is sorely lacking in our society.  For the record, I believe that the role of the government is to safeguard the people, and understand that while regulations sometimes restrict economic progress, they can also aid in safeguarding the people.  With that being said, when I hear assertions that the recession is the fault of our most recent presidents, or Wall Street, I get a bit miffed.  Yes, Wall Street should be held accountable for their greedy actions and our government should have been more diligent in its oversight, but when are we the individuals going to accept the unpopular accountability for our own choices and actions?

When I read about how more young people need to live at home because they can’t afford their own place, or of the difficulties associated with buying or keeping a home, I wonder why we blame the government.  How is it that we can argue over government enforced healthcare, claim the government is interfering in our lives, yet at the same time cry foul that the government hasn’t helped us find a job or buy a home?

Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the people of our nation. This recession has hit us all in ways we did not foresee, but foreseen or not, we should have been better prepared.  Like any good Boy Scout will tell you, there is wisdom in the motto “Be Prepared”.  This can mean creating a plan if you live in a hurricane or flood zone, because the 100 year disaster may coincide with your lifespan.  It can mean having food storage or a generator if you live in an area that gets heavy snow.  It should definitely mean  becoming informed before you buy a home.   Owning a house is expensive and there are costs besides the mortgage you will pay.  Get informed before you buy, and if it will sap your budget, buy smaller or buy later.  A house can be a great blessing and investment, but don’t purchase the dream, invest in the reality.

Understandably it is hard to prepare for unemployment.  Often we live month-to-month barely getting by, and building a nest egg feels difficult to achieve.  However, young or old it is the responsibility of the able-bodied to be prepared and to be informed.  If this means having a back-up plan to sell your house and move in with relatives, or take on roommates, then be prepared to do so.

One report on housing states that we must go back to the 50’s to find so many multigenerational households.  I find this claim to be interesting.  Isn’t that the era in which our entitlement nature really sprouted?  New houses, new cars and new gadgets for the home; college educations a middleclass norm; and dreams of retirement at age 65 were the dreams of that generation.  Now the youth of the 50’s have grandkids and those grandkids are struggling to live up to, and pay for the dream.

Dreaming big is not a bad thing, but the recession was a reality check for everyone.  For dreams to become reality, hard work is required. This hard work does not follow an employer’s time-clock.  It does not retire.  It does not grow up and move out.  It does not get paid off.  The American Dream is bigger than a house, or a two car garage, or a retirement account.  It has more value than a vacation home, or a boat.  It is not measured by the size of your income or your bank account.

The American Dream for a secure tomorrow is not the responsibility of the President; it is the responsibility of the individual.  Our elected officials work for us, and if we are asking for all the wrong things, then that is what they will provide us.  The Preamble of the Constitution states:

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

It doesn’t promise a house, or a college education, or a car.  It promises justice, civil order and defense.  It promotes general welfare but does not promise it. Finally, it secures liberty.

The government of the United States does play a huge role in the nation’s prosperity, but the individual plays a greater role.  Citizenship is not like high school, where you get credit for showing up, doing the work and then going home.  Citizenship requires accountability for one’s own choices and actions.  Blaming others, especially the government, may seem easier, but in the long run, individual accountability will provide prosperity.

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