Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Societal Abdication of Responsibility

There's an alarming trend here in political society, and I don't like it.

Look, all of the above are examples of people trying to worm their way out of previous responsibilities, agreements, and commitments -- and have the government bail them out.  I think that's unconscionable.  There are very real costs associated with every one of those bailouts, and it's not fair to put that burden on Uncle Sam.  John Sununu put it extremely well in last week's issue of Time magazine:
Lost amid this economic activism is the principle that laws should clarify and facilitate the process for dealing with insolvencies but never pretend they can be avoided.  To think otherwise constitutes a form of legislative arrogance ... Too many lawmakers believe government can oversee, manage or invest with more insight and efficiency than the marketplace. [emphasis added]
An inherent facet of our economy, one that must be acknowledged and embraced, is that something like 10% of all American companies fail every year.  As painful as it is in the short term, failure -- and learning from those failures -- is a fundamental part of what makes our society stronger.  Failures happen.  Society needs to address those failures (and I think that, for the most part, it has), but in no way is the government responsible for preventing those failures.  And while I have sympathy towards those who put themselves $100,000 in debt in pursuing their degree in art history, as a taxpayer, I feel no obligation towards bailing them out.  Those students knew darned well what the obligations were for student loans, and what their chances were for employment on the other side.

People agree to commitments all the time.  I wish people would think a little more carefully about the implications before they make big commitments.

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