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Monday, March 23, 2009

Be Careful in What's Rewarded

The news media has reported that people who are having troubles with their taxes, mortgages and meeting ends meet will soon have Uncle Sam come to their rescue. That's great but are we not rewarding bad behavior in many of these circumstances?

Many of the people in trouble are in this state because they have borrowed more than they could afford. They are blaming unscrupulous lenders for steering them toward subprime loans. Do they not have some responsibility for reading what they are signing? Do they believe that these lenders are totally altruistic? Don't they realize that lenders lend money in order to make money off the people they lend to?

What happens to the people who didn't get these loans? They pay their mortgages and taxes and get nothing for their hard work and prudence. Won't these people say, "Oh, I get it. Don't pay your bills and someone else will come to pay them for you. Pay your bills and you are on your own."? Don't you think everyone is going to catch on very soon that responsibility doesn't pay?

Unfortunately, bad behavior most often creates bad results. This is the message we must send. Companies and individuals learn by falling down. They decide that they don't like it. Rewarding bad behavior will result in business as usual. The result isn't a bailout but a continuance of what we have already had.

People are upset with financial institutions paying bonuses to their executives after they received bailout money. Why shouldn't they? They were rewarded for their bad behavior. They are simply continuing in what they had always done.

Don't expect the UAW to concede anything when these financial institutions didn't. It doesn't matter that the automakers are in deep trouble. A bailout is just a way of keeping business as it always has been. The financial institutions didn't change the way they were doing business, why should the union or the automakers?

We are not helping the situation with bailouts. Giving businesses money for a bailout so that they can continue to do business as they always have is like buying liquor for an alcoholic. It makes him feel good but it ultimately hurts him. He is still an active alcoholic. He just doesn't ask for liquor until that which we have given him is gone.

It is immoral to reward bad behavior. It is godly to have compassion on those who have realized the error of their ways. It is immoral to keep people in their bad behavior. It is godly to help people back on their feet.

I am afraid we are rewarding bad behavior with such a fervor that we are encouraging more bad behavior. We cannot sustain this. The result is disastrous for us as a nation.

If it continues we can expect that responsible people will buy guns and get prepared to protect what they have earned. We can expect that the government will continue to tax responsible people and reward the irresponsible. We can expect that the businesses will move to other countries where they will not be taxed at the rate necessary to pay for this irresponsibility. We can expect that America will become like one of the third world countries where corruption is the norm.

What we reward will either come back as a reward or as a curse. What do you think will happen?

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