Whose responsibility is it to educate our kids; to teach them the values under which they will live their lives? Whose responsibility is it to live within our means; to not borrow to the point at which we cannot repay what we have borrowed?
Whose responsibility is it to pull this country, America the beautiful, out of the hole in which it finds itself?
The answer to all these questions is simple -- the responsibility to do these things lies with each one of us as individuals. The government cannot and will not do it. Politicians can legislate, regulate, and pontificate ad infinitum, and they will fail, because the more they legislate and regulate, the worse things become, as their legislation and regulation only benefits small, special-interest groups.
Do all of you really have to have everything you want right now? Can you not afford to wait until you can pay for what you want, rather than leasing or buying it on credit? The "I want it now" philosophy is part of the reason our country is in the toilet as far as our debt is concerned. Oh sure, there are other reasons; two wars, the one in Iraq completely unnecessary, the loud pop of the real estate bubble, and our Federal government's insistence on continuing to fund welfare programs, both individual and corporate, and borrowing money from foreign governments in order to do this. The recent refusal by the Senate to eliminate tax subsidies for Big Oil is the most recent example. Record profits posted but still wanting and getting a government subsidy. The current administration's stance on solving a problem is to throw money at it, even though we do not have the money to throw. But enough on government.
Who teaches your kids their values, you or their teachers and peers? If you are married or in a committed relationship, is one of you home after school is over to answer their questions about life and right and wrong, or are both of you hard at work because you "want everything now?" If the latter, you are part of the problem. How do you expect your child's teachers to instill in them the same values you would? They won't, because they are not you, and if you expect them to, you are living in fantasyland. How about your buying habits? Do you lease a new Lexus SUV because your BF got one, even though it puts you on the hook for another $500.00+ in lease payments, or do you buy a four or five year-old GMC Yukon (made in the USA, of course) with the cash you have or with a sensible loan arrangement through your credit union? If you are in the former group, you are also part of the problem.
Pulling ourselves and our country up by the bootstraps is going to have to be a grassroots effort, each of us doing our infinitesimally small part. Be there for your children, even though you have to do without the latest i-Phone or other luxury, don't max out your credit cards and then just make the minimum payment, buy American every chance you get, even though it costs a little more, and, whatever you do, stop voting for politicians who promise to fix all our problems by spending more money to solve them. It's going to take some time to turn this ship of state around, but if we all work together, we can do it.