Okay, most of you got that these are song lyrics. Way back in 1978, a band called Cheap Trick wrote about the relationship between the baby boomers and their parents. If you play Guitar Hero II, this song is also featured. It seems that this song has made the rounds in the past year or two, being on TV, commercials, and back on the radio. It’s a good song. But what does it have to do with personal finance?
Ex-President George W. Bush convinced the American public that we had to go to war with Iraq because Saddam Hussein was a bad guy that wanted to hurt us. This was just after 9/11, and we were all a little afraid that terrorist elements wanted to cause us harm. We were right, but many will argue that Bush took us in the wrong direction by fighting a war in Iraq. Bush’s strategy was simple. He told us that we needed to do this immediately for the good of the country and of the world. He convinced us to suspend our own thought processes to further his goals. We were more afraid of doing nothing than we were of what had already happened.
People will argue whether or not he was right. Some people accurately believe that Hussein was a bad guy, who wanted to hurt Americans, and who had threatened to do so. Others, just as accurately believe, the argument for going to war to find nuclear weapons was inaccurate. There are arguments on both sides of many issues here that I’m not going to get into here, but for better or worse, except for a few who are always against any type of show of force, or those who just don’t like America, we all agreed at the time, that we had to go into Iraq.
More recently, current President Barack Obama used the exact same methods to further his goals. Housing had just started to return to normal pricing, which scared people who were trying to game the system, banks who had invested in artificially boosting housing had taken out loans to pay for this gamble, and these loans were coming due, and people were starting to figure out that the “prosperity” of the past was not real. We were again scared. President Obama, fresh off the success of a 3 year election campaign, told us to once again suspend our powers of common sense and independent thought and buy into his plan for “saving” the economy.
His plan has been simple so far. Strengthen unions, socialize banks, demonize individual wealth and those who have it, and essentially throw money at the problems. The economy isn’t really that big of a deal, and he knows it. His plan is more about his vision of the expansion of social welfare, government sponsored (tax-payer financed) medicine, a deterioration of individual incentive and liberty, and an increase in governmental power. He does this not because he is evil or because he doesn’t get it. He sincerely believes that these things are better for the country. He received government help in getting to where he is today, and he believes he is helping others, many, many others to do the same.
The problem is that in both cases, we have been asked to surrender a lot of freedom to further the goals of these two presidents. In the first, the price was mainly paid by the military, their families, and those who had reason to worry. In the second, the price is going to be paid by the taxpayer, their children, their children, and everybody who has worked hard to do for themselves what government should never get involved in.
In school, many of you are indoctrinated into believing that everything that is going on is part of the solution. I know because I’ve worked with the people who are doing it. But, I’m telling you today, as I’ve told my students, do not just accept what someone tells you.
You see, while this latest round of surrender of common sense is costly, it is not going to be the last time this happens. President Obama will ask you to suspend your common sense again. The president after him will do the same. This will only stop when enough people stop letting it happen.
Young people need to realize that things happening right now will have an effect on them in the future. Our public schools are a failure when it comes to teaching young people to think for themselves. On the contrary, they are specifically taught to not think for themselves. So young people need to harness some of that rebellious nature we’ve heard so much about, educate themselves, even when the subject doesn’t seem to have an effect on them, and be vocal about doing the right thing.
And yes, Mommy is alright, as is Daddy. Their recent weirdness has been described as a temporary condition that wears off as you get older.