More and more there is a move to use government to keep people from feeling the negative consequences of their actions. But is this wise?
When I was an adolescent, I got into a bag of chocolate chips. I must have eaten half of the bag and, oh boy, did I get a bad stomach ache. I will always remember how sick I felt. And I will always remember my mother saying to me “I don’t feel sorry for you at all. You shouldn’t have eaten so many chocolate chips.” Talk about learning the lesson the hard way. To this day I can’t eat dark chocolate without that sick feeling instantly coming back. I learned an important lesson about moderation that day. But what if my mother had been able to take that sick felling away from me? What if I had been able to avoid the negative consequences of my bad choices? Likely I would have repeated the action and then gone looking to my mother to “bail me out” again. I would have missed an important opportunity to learn a valuable lesson that I have been able to use since that time.
So what happens when the government starts “bailing out” people and businesses all across the country? What happens when those people and businesses get to avoid the negative consequences of their bad choices? It seems so obvious that it is a wonder it even has to be spelled out. Not only do the people and businesses who are “bailed out” not make better choices, it brings all society down. When a business doesn’t have to clean up it’s business practices and make better business choices, the consumers lose. When a homeowner doesn’t feel the negative consequences of their bad choices in purchasing a home they can’t afford, not only does that person or family lose in the long run, the community loses.
The desire to “bail out” is an understandable one. It is hard to watch people suffer. But there are times when it is appropriate to help out and specific ways to give that help which will lift them up, and then there are times when you just have to stand aside. As a basic rule, government’s role should remain one of protecting individual freedom, life, and property, providing for the common defense, and maintaining law and order. Local communities and charities are much better suited to helping those that need it and the people are much better served when companies that do business poorly go out of business.