03/05/11 — Same truths: The values and changes that will fix economy will help society, too

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Same truths: The values and changes that will fix economy will help society, too

Most of us who are sitting on the sidelines as the economic crisis/recovery unfolds are becoming increasingly sure that predicting what's next could be accomplished just as easily with a coin toss.

Trying to figure out whether an announcement is good news or bad is tough enough, let alone trying to figure out which analyst has the right crystal ball for the future.

But what seems to be the one truth is that the secret to success in the future is caution, responsibility and accountability.

Flash and telling the public what it wants to hear just do not seem to be working. And we already know what happens when no one pays attention to the laws of supply and demand -- and to lending standards.

It seems that Washington -- and Raleigh -- have finally gotten the message that there are some harsh realities to face, and they are going to make some people very unhappy.

This country simply cannot continue in the manner it has in the last few years. Just as a family's budget cannot operate in the red, neither can a government's.

For politicians and the public alike, it is time to grow up and to make responsible, albeit tough, decisions.

And interestingly enough, the same principles that will guide a successful recovery are perhaps a bit of good advice for those who want to see changes in other areas of American life as well.

One of the most often heard complaints these days is that Americans have forgotten what has gotten them to this point -- hard work, responsibility and accountability. More and more people are willing to allow someone else to determine their own fate -- and are not bothered at all by the loss of freedom and choice that entails.

Too many people today value material goods way too much and see the most important parts of their lives -- their marriages and families -- as disposable.

We wonder why there are so many messed up children, struggling families and people who just do not seem to get that they are not owed a future.

We are angry that our schools cannot compete internationally and worry about how our children are going to make it when they grow up.

And some of us are even more unsure that there is going to be a candidate in 2012 fit to rise to the challenge of guiding this country's next steps.

It all boils down to facing facts -- admitting we have lost our way, finding those values again and demanding more from ourselves and our leaders. In other words, insisting on accountability and responsibility and shunning the easy fix.

That is how America can live up to its promise.

Published in Editorials on March 5, 2011 10:44 PM