One of the biggest problems facing our country today is the lack of awareness/consciousness about how much things truly cost.

The obfuscation via government intervention in all its forms (stupendous deficits, subsidies to failed corporations/business models, pork barrel handouts) is one of the factors seducing people into a false sense of complacency that our economy is just fine.  Borrowing money to keep your bills paid might seem ok, until you realize the borrowed money must be paid back with interest.

In less government-dependent/credit-fueled times, a major decision like raising a child was saved up for and anticipated.  Healthcare was funded out of pocket or with straightforward insurance.  Retirement required savings.  Nowadays, our government promises us all these goodies with borrowed money, which we will eventually pay for with interest (assuming the dollar doesn’t collapse first).

In less government-reliant times, there were fewer entitlements, senses of entitlement or bogus lawsuits which now haunt would be doctors and entrepreneurs. Why bother using your MIT degree to start a new business when you can day trade and make the “market more efficient”… hah!

Even the stock market used to be a reasonable measure of future economic value.  Now it is a game profitable game to be played/manipulated with enormous  leverage.  The S&P PE ratio is over 100 according to S&P and the graphical evidence is stunning.  Anyone with their 401(k) invested in stocks is asking to be smoked.  Meanwhile, insiders are bailing out.

I have no desire to go back to days of extreme hardship or give up technology, but it seems the more government obfuscation we allow to seep into our lives, bit by bit, the further we get from the truth and honest consequences of our lifestyles.  A single woman with three kids who is reliant on the state for breakfast and lunch year-round is in a worse off position since the true costs of her lifestyle are not borne by her, but rather, the taxpayer, who is under increasing pressure to stop paying them.  This “help” that the State provides via welfare, subsidized housing and other giveaways are not sustainable and ultimately dangerous for its beneficiary.

If you want to ruin a man, give him everything he wants.  Never let him fail, struggle, grow or mature into a man. –

As a result of government encroachment on all levels of life we are living in delusion about how much things *actually* cost and how they function.  There are now entire families dependent on the government for food assistance, educational assistance, medical assistance and job placement assistance.  This is neither normal nor sustainable.

As the credit-fueled economy inevitably slows down and inflation spike or benefits are cut, there will be a lot of disillusioned, angry and unprepared people.  There have been numerous chances to come clean from politicians, media and leaders.  Instead, all we hear are happy bromides about how things will be back to normal.  The only voices sounding the alarm that the debt-fueled economy is unsustainable are drowned out.

Takeaway:  I hate to be so closed-minded as “government bad” “free market good”, but it is obvious to anyone paying attention that the more we cede our power and money to the government, the less reliant, intelligent, capable, stable and robust we are as a society.

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One Response to “Honesty about Costs”

  1. Jamshed R. UdvadiaNo Gravatar on September 18th, 2009 4:27 pm

    I take it you wrote this and it is not a re-print from some magazine or newspaper article.

    If so, it is worthy of being printed in either The New York Times, The LA Times, Time magazine and any such.  In your place, I would certainly send it up to some of the publications I mentioned, or any similar ones that you fancy.  Of course you know that it is an unwritten rule, that you send only to one paper or magazine at a time.  If not, should two sources accept your essay for publication simultaneously, and they find out about it, you may get black-balled for a long time.

    Good luck – this is very strong effective writing.

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