By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Letter to the editor
Gratification can be delayed
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News
A theme has been running through my head. I wasn’t aware of it until Rick Santelli had a meltdown on CNBC. Then I saw Barack Obama’s de facto State of the Union that promised untold dollars spent on every possible solution for every ailment America knows.

Finally, it came clear like a torrent of evidence in a trial or a mathematical proof.

Look at the writings of Ben Franklin. Read the speeches of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Consider the philosophy of Thomas Locke. They all speak to this common theme of delayed gratification.

In fact, in psychology, there is an old study done and re-done to prove the importance of delayed gratification. No surprise, the ability to delay gratification correlates directly to a child’s success.

In the ’70s we had a pretty bad stretch. We coined two terms that may reappear in the American lexicon: “stagflation” and the “Misery Index.” But even then, it was curious to watch my grandparents shun the window unit air conditioner on hot summer days. “You don’t need it,” my grandfather would say. That tough time during the ’70s also gave rise to consumer credit. MasterCard began making it possible for customers to buy now and pay later.

Along the way the concept of delayed gratification died or became critically ill. And the solution to our current problem, if you ask our president, is to keep it rolling. Saddle your kids with a mountain of debt. After all, we can’t let the banks fail! Why not? Somewhere we’ll find a baseline. The winners will be solvent banks and people who paid their mortgage each month. And the losers will learn clear and painful lessons. These lessons will be hard, but the alternative being proffered is to ignore our problem and move forward while supporting failed business models and rewarding those who took a risk and lost.

If a neighbor or family member loses their home, take them in. But let’s not pay their defunct mortgage! Why should I do that for total strangers knowing that the federal government will be in charge?

If we flood the markets with all this cash it will almost certainly lead to a level of inflation that will not benefit the economy in the long run. But that’s another economics lesson for another day.

John Major