I have been fascinated by people’s reaction to the bankruptcy of the city of Detroit last month. Have you paid any attention to this lesson in fiscal responsibility?
Detroit has fallen apart over the last few decades as the car industry, other businesses, and residents have fled the city (from 2M down to 700,000 residents). As of today,
- Detroit is $18,000,000,000 (that is 18 Billion) in debt
- It has 78,000 abandoned buildings and 16% unemployment
- The average response to a 911 call is greater than 1 hour
And Detroit has stopped paying its creditors (the people that it borrowed money from). And, its leaders are declaring success…now that they no longer have to pay their debts.
In a recent news report, most of the people interviewed had something like this to say: “Detroit can stop paying its debt payments, but they better pay ME what they owe ME.”
Did you catch that? We have decided that it is acceptable in America to not pay our debts…as long as it is somebody else who suffers. I should get MY pension, MY investment account, and MY savings protected…but other people do not have that same right.
It is as if we forget that “we” are those other people. It is our pension, our savings, our investments (and ultimately our JOBS) that suffer when Detroit doesn’t pay its debts. And it’s not just Detroit that does this. It also includes:
- Homeowners who walk away from their loans because they are upside down
- People without health insurance who leave it to us to carry their hospital bills
- A Federal Government who continues to spend more money than it can pay back
Sorry…I am way off topic, and this could quickly become a “rant”. Here is my challenge: Do you treat other people’s money as valuable as you treat your own? If you do, then you will likely be trusted with more. If you don’t, then you will discover that what you have is at risk of being taken away. (Remember the Parable of the Talents…or the Unmerciful Servant?)
Thanks for listening.