Punchinello’s Chronicles

March 3, 2009

It’s the Other People’s Fault!

Filed under: Foolish Rants — Punchinello @ 3:37 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Only a few years ago, polls told us that most people felt the economy was going along fine. When asked, people said they were doing just great, but they said they were worried about their neighbors.

We also know that what’s reasonable for individuals to do, often is disastrous when done in a crowd. For example, if you’re in a movie theater and smell smoke, it’s reasonable for you to run to the nearest exit and leave. But if everyone in the theater does the same thing at the same time, the result is a disaster.

Right now, people are trying to focus on two basic things. The first is they’d like to know when all this economic turmoil is going to end and we’ll get back to the way things were. Secondly, most people are trying to figure out what main thing caused all this. Most people realize that it wasn’t just one thing, but feel that it was perhaps four basic things.

Among the problems, most people point to the government and politicians. They also point to the “other” party. If they’re Democrats, they blame the Republicans and George Bush. If they’re Republicans, they blame the Democrats and Bill Clinton. It’s always somebody else who caused all this.

For years and years we’ve had an increasing trend of blaming others for our problems. Lawsuits routinely find for the claimant who wants to blame the corporations for whatever goes wrong. Congressional investigation committees go on about how it was the military, the CIA, corporations, Detroit, banks, whatever…that caused some major problem.

It’s never our own fault, always someone else. And we need to spend our energy finding out who caused all this, otherwise things won’t get back to the way they used to be.

Well how DID things used to be?

When was the last time YOU lived on a cash-only basis? How often did you wait to buy That Thing until you could pay for it in cash? Thinking about when you “have money,” do you include your available balances on all your credit cards?

And what about all those “other folks” who shop at Walmart, buying everything from China? We’ve talked about it for years, mostly over a holiday meal or some other unimportant moment of discussion, and shaken our heads. “Yeah, it’s a shame everything comes from China these days,” we say, then go on about our business.

Did you grow up with the social rule that you shouldn’t talk about politics or religion? Why not? Because it would cause disagreements, hurt people’s feelings, and be a difficult situation? Okay, then how would your children know a damn thing about the political structure of America? It’s those “young people” who vote, manage companies, and want change.

Lots of us want to point to “them other people” and blame all our problems on “them.” It’s the poor people, the welfare moms, the uneducated dropouts, the politicians, the rich people, the corporate executives. It’s the Muslims, the Jews, the Catholics, the Protestants (not many people blame the Buddhists, I think because so few people understand the religion).

We blame the greedy ones, the ones without values, the immoral or amoral ones. We point to bad managers, foreign governments, control freaks, or isolationists. But what about the cumulative actions of each and every one of us?

America has no savings at all. How come? Who encouraged us to quit saving for a rainy day? Who developed insurance programs that would cover us during a crisis? Where did credit cards come from? Why do so many people feel entitled to a happy, rich life in their own home?

Each one of us decided that buying on credit was reasonable, a good idea, and something we could stop at any time. Just like alcoholics can quit any time. All of us have said, “Oh…I’ve got enough money for that, I’ve got $600 available on my Mastercard, Visa, Am Ex card, or my Discover card.

How many of us sign up for a new department store credit card because we get a 10% special savings on anything we buy?

The interesting thing about being poor is that without a credit rating, you no longer have access to credit cards, loans, and other forms of debt-financing. All you have left is cash. And so you “suddenly” begin to shop very wisely, and you’re forced to wait to make a purchase. You think about how important each purchase really is, and whether you need it right away.

There’s no more “instant gratification” when you’re poor. No more spontaneous spending, impulse buying, and nonchalance about quality of merchandise. All gone.

How many people are proud of the fact that they’ve never used their kitchen, ever! They can’t cook, and go out for every meal. They spend $40 or more a day for instant this, instant that, take-out something else, and laugh at the people who have to cook their own food.

Then we wonder about obesity, bad health, increasing immune system failures, and bodies loaded with toxins. But hey, it’s all on credit. Tomorrow’s another day, and we’ll worry about our health after we have our first heart attack.

It’s all about how we’re “thinkin’ about tomorrow.” If something goes wrong, we’ll throw money at it and fix it later. But for today, we’re doing fine. We’re living responsibly. We have morals and values. We care about social issues. We’re taking care of the environment. Are we spending time with the kids? No, they’ll raise themselves.

So what “other people” are we talking about? How many of us have to get together and blame “other people” before we’ve covered every single person in the country? At what point do we become the “other people?”

This economic meltdown is the result of decades of spending, debt, and “gimme this, gimme that.” There aren’t any “other people!” We is Them!


1 Comment »

  1. […] It’s the Other People’s Fault! « Punchinello’s Chronicles […]

    Pingback by It’s the Other People’s Fault! « Punchinello’s Chronicles — March 3, 2009 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

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