Thursday, March 4, 2010

Washington's Chickens Roost in our Homes

Why do we expect such moral aptitude in Washington when we ourselves do not practice what we preach? I am not saying everyone is corrupt, but many people are when it serves their purpose. Small to large business and the home have increasingly become places of questionable practices. Some infractions small and some big, but all pushing the moral envelope.
In construction it can be found in the client who awards a contract to a contractor mentioning during the meeting that there is a need in their personal life as well. Never mind hiring the contractor because they do a great job and serve your company well. No, you’re entitled to some type of assistance because you just gave their company work (which they deserve and you required anyway). While most times this isn’t identified as a kick back (kick back in sheep’s clothing) because assurances of wanting nothing more than to pay for this extra work are made, the contractor feels the pressure to charge less than market value or nothing at all because the “extra” was mentioned while signing paperwork for a job that will keep their employees working. Don’t think the person doing the asking isn’t aware of this fact. Why else would they ask at such an opportune time?
Or the hypothetical example of the couple who can afford their home but because values have dropped and the house isn’t worth what it should be they walk hoping to get something bigger and better that someone else honestly could not afford. According to statistics these strategic defaults aren’t that prevalent. Yet. With more and more people becoming upset by the overspending and backdoor deals in Washington and the few banks coming back for more bailout these strategic defaults are in danger of being justified by flimsy excuses. If the banks or our politicians can act irresponsibly than why shouldn’t we? Maybe in this instance some thought should be given to what a strategic default will do to your neighbors who now find their already depreciated investment falling even further because of a frivolous foreclosure just happened next door.
There’s also shoppers that feel entitled to super deals and complete flexibility in the market place because times are tough (I am flexible on this one because it’s hard to judge someone for trying to get a deal on things for their family and/or enjoyment). Who cares that a 70% off sale may put a smaller store in the red, it’s a buyers market and if you want our business you better offer some incentive. Does it matter that the goods being sold outside of food and clothing aren’t a necessity and deal or no deal it’s on the buyer to make responsible purchases for their home? Of course not, we drive prices down by flocking to warehouse store sales for that bigger TV (which we finance in hopes we’ll pay it off soon) making smaller businesses take risks in order to keep some kind of business going. Is it immoral to ignore Harry the home town appliance store owner to get a better price at Best Buy? Probably not, but I wonder when I make such purchases (again this example is a little sketchy because in Vegas we don’t have many Harry the small shops so of course you go to a large warehouse type store. Who am I to judge others then? My husband and I do however, frequent small restaurants in our area as often as possible instead of the more lavish and hip ones to help keep the small ones going).
These examples lead me to my title, Washington. Everyone is so appalled and dismayed about the state by state deals in our health care bill or the fact that Congress pockets its unused travel per diem instead of giving it back to the taxpayers but out here we’re no better. My belief is that your expectations of others should match those you hold for yourself. It is unfair to hold others to a higher standard than you are willing to uphold. Even if it is public office, it is held by a human being just like you are me (actually a little different because that human is rich and hasn’t lived like you or I in a very long time). Either way, if you’re out in the world looking for a kickback, why not expect your Senator to be doing the same? It’s wrong yes, but all too acceptable everywhere for anyone to be amazed it’s happening at the highest levels. Maybe politicians and banks would feel more inclined to do moral business if “we the people” led by example. If that bank is offering you a loan you know you can barley afford turn it down. I know it’s not all black and white and it sucks not to own a home but it sucks more to know ownership only to lose it later. And I know no one reads the fine print but on a purchase as large as a home don’t you think the fine print is worth some of your time?
If you are hiring a contractor or accountant to do work for your company keep your personal shit to yourself. Even if you’re not looking for a handout and honestly just need some work done you should know in the back of your mind that the person doing that big job is going to feel they should do your personal job for less, so just take that shit elsewhere. Am I saying everything can be fixed by doing unto others or that the corruption in the world is entirely our fault? No. What I am saying is that many times as individuals we are the example and if we aren’t being such a great example then we can’t expect others not to act accordingly. We can’t stand by and allow people (Washington) to rip us off for years when it’s convenient and times are decent then throw a fit when things are tough. We need to demand morality in a uniform manner in order to receive it as such. I’m not saying everyone’s a crook or that Politicians should be held to a lower standard. I’m definitely not saying I am perfect and have never taken advantage of a sale (hello Black Friday) or fudged on my morals here and there throughout my life. I am saying that I am starting to feel that if we want to see morality in business or in our capitol, maybe, it starts at home.


Aunt Becky said...

I couldn't agree with you more. Well spoken, as always, my friend.

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