Public Opinion The Growing Public Debt

This Debt is Not My ProblemA friend of mine sent out an email today regarding the massive amounts of debt that American citizens are on the hook for in the coming years. He sends out regular emails to a select group of us who care and shows us periodically that we should take an active stance in the politics that shape our future. He has inspired me on numerous occassions to take action and make my voice heard in Canadian politics. However, it was this particular message really got me.

It wasn’t in the message itself. We have been bombarded with doomsday messages about the growing US national debt (and Canadian too) for what seems like forever. It was a response from one of our friends on the mailing list. He flat out blamed business people as a group as responsible for the economic problems we’re facing today. I was outraged, not just as a business person myself, but also as a responsible consumer.

I feel that it is our duty to make the right decisions and not reward this system of ‘Buy now, pay later’. If we focused on earning first, then rewarding ourselves for our efforts, we may have a smaller GDP but we’ll also have less stress. Without worrying about a massive mortgage, multiple car loans, and mass amounts of credit card debt, many of us wouldn’t be nearly as concerned with the economic problems we’re currently facing.

To get an idea of how I feel about this subject, here’s a direct quote from my response email:

“…Having said this, I agree that SOME business people are the problem, but it’s the system that rewards people for cutting corners and eliminating real value from business transactions that’s to blame. We as consumers have decided that having nice clothes, fancy cars, and big screen TVs is more important than agriculture; that parking lots and highways are more important than parks to play in; that MORE POWER is worth more than clean water to swim in.

We vote with our dollar and that vote says that there needs to be a fundamental change in our value system before we start pointing the blame on a particular group of people. I saw your nice new Mac computer around Christmas time. Would you blame Steve Jobs for all your problems or thank his organization for making you such a great product? Think about the source of the problem before attacking the symptoms.”

Agree or disagree, but I’m just sick of people blaming the sales person for their bad choices. Take responsibility for your actions and say no to things you can’t afford. It may not magically make our debt disappear, but at least it will slow its growth. We each had our part in this, so shouldn’t we also have our part in fixing it?