posted on Dec, 6 2010 @ 07:36 AM
What happened to personal accountability for our actions? I've been on ATS for a few years but only started posting recently. I certainly love the
broad range of topics and heated discussions (I could do without the personal attacks and name calling, but I guess it sometimes happens in the heat
of battle). I've noticed a worsening trend over the past 10 years....the sense of entitlement. I'll try to give a few examples and include my own
personal experiences where applicable.
Housing. There's not many other topics that makes everyones blood boil. The events of the past 5 years have pretty much been unprecendented. I
constantly hear people bash the corrupt banks and lending institutions. Let's call a spade a spade though...the banks are in business to make a
profit and they certainly don't deny that. The whole country was caught up in the whirlwind. Millions and millions of people used their homes as a
personal ATM card. 30 years ago, a mortgage was typically 30 years and 20% down. 20 years ago you had additional options. 10 years ago, you had no
money down loans, no doc loans, stated doc loans, a dozen different ARMs, 125% loans, etc.. If someone needed a 125% loan, they probably should have
remained a renter, right? No, the sense of entitlement and the Community Reinvestment Act under the Clinton years helped propel millions of
financially unqualified people into the American dream. It was only a matter of time before the house built on an unstable foundation collapsed.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a model of financial fiscalness. I've lived at or even slightly beyond my means at times in the past, but unless
you've been a legitimate victim of housing fraud, don't you dare complain about the housing crisis that most people were a part of. It was
unsustainable people...there was no way double-digit housing growth was going to continue indefinitely just like tech stocks couldn't continue their
Unemployment. This one hits home a little bit. I'm 41 and worked without gaps since I was 15 or 16. I've been in software development and IT
project management for most of my career. I worked for a company for 13 years that abruptly went out of business this past January. It sucked. I
lived in NJ at the time, which is a high cost state to live in. I ended up finding another job, but out of state. I sold my house (luckily I made
money on it), but my family is still not here with me due to the kids in school, etc. I made good money at my last job, but this one is paying about
25% less. Am I pissed off? No, I count my blessings that I can still provide for my family and realize that it's a short term sacrifice for now.
When I hear about people being unemployed for 2 years, that's hard to believe. Before you flame me, I'm sure it's possible if you come from say a
manufacturing company, but other than that, its time to lower your expectations. How many times have we all heard analysts on the news say that some
people aren't looking for work until their unemployment runs out. Again, I hear people say, "Well I've worked for 10 or 20 or 30 years and I'm
entitled to that money". In NJ, I believe the max you pay into unemployment is about $200 a year. The maximum you can collect is $600 a week. So
if you've worked for 30 years and contributed approximately $6000, matched by employers funds, in 20 weeks you will have exhaused what you've
contributed. I think all states have long since run their unemployment programs funds dry up and have had to get money from the federal government.
The end result of this is going to be higher payroll taxes since those coffers need to be refilled and any fed money repaid.
Social Programs. This is the one that gets my blood boiling. I've owned rental properties in the past in an urban area and had many Section-8
tenants. The sense of entitlement among the vast majority of them is just unbelievable. God forbid if they have to pay $100 a month out of a total
rent of $800 or $900 or whatever the amount. I'd have to chase them down to get it and then I'd get a pissy attitude because that was the money to
get their hair or nails done. One of my S8 tenants even had a Mercedes S430! That's pretty balsy. I won't even go into how many had 50" flat
screen TV's and iPod's and iPhones or Blackberry's. My general view of the program was that the people who needed it most had difficulty getting
on the program. It was full of bloat and waste which I suppose is typical. Disability is another favorite of mine. Millions of people seem to be
able to qualify for SDI, DI or some other form of disability. Did they change the definition of disabled when I wasn't looking? The majority of
these people look OK to me. I was in a 7-11 store one day with my kids (13 and 10) waiting for an oil change or something and this kid came in. He
couldn't have been more than 20 or 21. He was in a hurry and even told the cashier something like "I have to get home, my disability check is
coming and I need money". I came real close to asking him what was wrong with him that he was collecting disability but didn't. Instead I
privately explained my suspicions to my kids when I left and told them how to not end up in a similar situation. Sure, I don't know all the details,
maybe he was collecting under a deceased parents policy or whatever. The point is that I'm sure we all know at least one person who has screwed over
the system somehow. Again, don't get me wrong. If you are truly disabled, I have no issue whatsoever with my tax dollars paying for you and your
Sorry if this post was a little long, but I'm tired of hearing people bitch and moan and say woe is me. We're all partially in control of our own
destiny and can make a concious choice to overcome whatever obstacles get thrown at us. You just have to accept personal responsibility for your own
actions and choices.