One Saturday you're out watering your lawn when a car drives up and you recognize your old friend Eddie at the wheel. You learn that he has just lost his job, his wife has kicked him out, and he couldn't think of anywhere else to go.
Eddie has always been in the middle of some drama or another, which is the main reason you haven't spoken too much lately. But you feel sorry for him and invite him to crash for the night. The next day, Eddie asks if you wouldn't mind if he stays just a couple more nights until he can find an apartment, and he assures you that he has a job all lined up. You feel a little awkward, but agree anyway. During the week, the job falls through and although you feel badly about it, you haven't failed to notice that he isn't making much of an effort to go out and find another.
A week turns into two, and soon you don't feel like coming home from your office. You feel like your home is no longer your own. You resent the position you find yourself in, yet feel guilty about being so selfish. After all, the guy has nowhere to go. Then you walk into your house and, once again, find Eddie sitting in your recliner, drinking beer and watching your TV....
Freeze frame. I could go on, but you get the picture. What’s the surface situation here?
The herd mentality says that poor Eddie has caught a bad break, and since he’s your friend, you owe it to him to help him out. You've been lucky, Eddie has fallen on misfortune. We learned in the last U.S. election that we should “spread the wealth.”
There you sit in a beautiful big home, with a lovely landscaped yard, and he has nothing. Not only does he not have a job, but now his car is broke and he doesn’t have money to fix it. He can’t buy a new one, because since the credit freeze, the car companies don’t have the money to lend to bad credit risks who are upside down on their last car. They’re looking for loans themselves.
And Eddie is having a hard time getting a job because like “Joe the plumber, he hasn’t been paying any taxes. He needs to be paid cash, because creditors are hounding him and would garnish his wages. His bitch ex-wife is also harassing him for unpaid alimony and child support.
Truth is, you have a little money saved. You have a car and house. You work, and you’ll get another paycheck this Friday. Eddie has not a penny. He “needs” it. You don’t. And you probably feel guilty, because you have so much, and Eddie has so little.
This is exactly what moochers like Eddie count on to take advantage of you. To use your guilt to manipulate you. Let’s look a little deeper...
Five years ago, you and Eddie worked at the same place. He was out the door every day at five sharp. “We’re on salary,” he said, “You don’t get paid extra to stay late.” But you stayed late many times anyway, because you had projects to finish, and you wanted a clean desk in the morning. Eddie got a head start on Happy Hour at the bar.
When there were extra projects to do, you volunteered for them. Eddie told you that you were stupid for doing so. When time for raises and promotions came, you got them. Eddie quit after a year because they were “cheap, and they play favorites.”
Each month, you set aside a little money for savings and your house fund. Eddie couldn’t do this because he wasn’t “making enough money.” His priorities were nightlife at the clubs, cigarettes, getting a flat screen TV, cable, and the other “necessities” of life.
You went without cable to put the extra $30 a month into your retirement plan. Instead of first run movies, you usually caught them for $3 when the videos came out. You didn’t buy a DVD player because you thought the money was better put in your savings account. You lived on less than what you made, and invested the balance in your future.
The herd would tell you that “Poor Eddie can’t catch a break.” In reality, all the strikes against him are self-created. The situation he is in right now is the result of thousands of little choices he made every day.
He spends eight bucks a day on cigarettes because, “The damn tobacco companies got me addicted.” He buys a 12 pack of beer twice a week because he “needs to relax.” The reason his ex-wife is after him is because he hasn’t paid child support payments in two years. The reason the bank wouldn’t finance a new car was because he has a legal judgment against him for the student loans he took out and never paid, after he dropped out of college.
He has always spent more than he earned, and now when he is facing a setback, he has no resources to fall back on. Like millions of others, he’s developed an entitlement mentality. And every day in the news he’s hearing about all the bailouts for the banks, insurance companies and car companies. Why not him?
This victim-hood role he is in causes others to feel guilty, and thus they are constantly bailing him out from one thing or another. He learns how to manipulate his tragedies for maximum effect.
Of course all the time he is owning this victim-hood, he is programming his subconscious mind to attract more drama, more tragedy and more challenges. He has learned that he can ignore universal laws and live for the moment, because there is always someone to save him from paying the price. So he goes on an endless victim cycle, always in one situation or another. He’s forever getting laid off, left out and wronged. And forever using others to prevent him from having to take personal responsibility.
So what’s the right thing to do? Should you help him?
Maybe. But before we address that, let’s look at what is going to happen anyway...
Today's social system is ready to catch Eddie in its safety net. The government will feed, clothe, and house Eddie. They will locate job openings for him, set up interviews and even provide vocational training. They have dozens of social programs for countless contingencies, and they can fund all of them because they force you to contribute from your paycheck each week. If you refuse, they will put you in prison.
What if, instead of paying your taxes to the government on payday, things went like this…
You receive your paycheck and, depending on where you live in the world, you immediately cut a check for 35, 55 or 60% of your wages, which would normally represent your income taxes, and you hop into your average sedan and head on over to Eddie's. Eddie is on his porch sipping a can of beer, and he eyes you malevolently as you pull up. Hopping enthusiastically out of your car, you approach him, check in hand.
"Hey Eddie!" you say, "Just thought I'd pop by with your check seeing as how I was on my way home. There you go, another month of food, clothing, medical care, dental, and entertainment. And because of the raise I received last week, there's a little more in there for your pension. Well, I can see you're into things, is there, uh, anything else I can do for you? No? Well, I'll be off then, have a ton of paperwork to clear up tonight! Have a wonderful evening, Eddie! Take it easy, see you next month!"
Would you ever agree to such a thing? In reality, you already have. Because that’s the end result of the government and taxation system today. The productive people are penalized and the unproductive people are rewarded. And all of these new socialized bailout programs are making the situation more acute.
The end result of this dysfunctional system is that it tears down both parties; the people forced to take care of others, and the people receiving the handouts. Of course the prevalent meme (mind virus) infecting most people, is chastising the wealthy, believing they create their riches on the backs of the poor. But that is more bullshit propaganda, designed to make you feel guilty for your success, and use that guilt to manipulate you.
Sacrificing yourself and your values for others, whether to gain a sense of moral satisfaction, or to escape a sense of guilt, weakens your resolve. Your confidence falters, you may question your own worth, and feel guilty when you do things to take care of yourself.
And that starts the downward spiral…
If you want to help anyone, you must first take care of yourself. We’ll explore this more in the days ahead. And if you want to really dig into the issue, be sure you have read my last book.