Integrity Matters
October 29, 2008

Wake up to fraud, America!

Question: (E-366)

The Bad News is - by way of reminder - that the $700 billion investment by American taxpayers is not the solution but the beginning of "paying the piper" for our self-indulgences. Unfortunately, a society that sanctions a "greed-driven" value-system, as portrayed in the Michael Douglas film, "Wall Street," is likely to precipitate a crisis - like our current one.

The Good News - which is not all that reassuring - is that we are not the first culture to experience the chicanery of those in power alongside those who want something for nothing. Seems the ancient Romans, at least from the observations of Cicero, watched their citizens, from top to bottom, behave similarly.

"The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." (Cicero, 55 BC)

The Bad News continues to be that Americans, in alarmingly larger numbers, believe that if they want it, and if those in authority tell them they are entitled to it, then miraculously, like manna from heaven, whatever they desire will be "provided" to them - little or no effort required. And, this garbage is being sold (and enthusiastically bought) seemingly across the board. If ever there were miracles being promoted, never more obvious than among the "guarantees" of our politicians, where one is promised something for nothing.

Wanting to represent my nation in the Olympics high jump, because my society tells me all folks are created equal, does not mean that I do not have to fulfill the requirement to ready myself and qualify - in order to be chosen to compete. Even then my success is not guaranteed.

Hoping to live the American dream, being in position to enjoy the same social, economic and cultural rewards of those who already "have" what I "want" - does not mean that I am not required to earn it. Whispering "sweet nothings" in the ears of voters, pandering to their self-centeredness and short-sightedness, does not mean that they are suddenly qualified to receive a highly-leveraged loan for home ownership. Wealth, fame and power - at least for most people - mere middle class mortals - come before work only in the dictionary.

The time is now to pay attention to what is happening and make sure each person, through his or her actions, blows the whistle when fraudulent behaviors threaten to undo what has been, and could be again, an effective and powerful economic and political system. If a deal sounds too good to be true, then very likely, it is!

Lesson: Just say NO to false prophets selling "house-of-cards" loans and sophisticated "hustlers" with articulate and flawed schemes to steal money.

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