Fort Mill Times

Cost Analysis - October 15, 2008

Scott Cost moved to Fort Mill with his wife Stephanie and their two children in 2006. E-mail him at
Scott Cost moved to Fort Mill with his wife Stephanie and their two children in 2006. E-mail him at

Times are tough right now. The stock market is tanking. Home sales are down. Construction has ground to a halt. Gas prices are outrageous. Food prices are climbing. We are facing a severe depression. There is one thing we refuse to face and that's the mirror.

We blame government. We blame banks. We blame Big Oil. We blame everyone except ourselves.

The economic woes have been growing for some time, but so have the woes of personal responsibility. Nobody is forced to take on a mortgage they can't afford. Meanwhile, people buy $300,000 homes and fail to look at the fine print.

Is it that we are too busy to take time to do the mundane task of actually understanding what we are agreeing to, or are we just too accepting of what a salesperson tells us? Maybe we have been conditioned to deflect accountability.

When I was growing up, if I got a bad report card my parents made sure I knew it was my fault for not studying hard enough. Today, there are far too many cases of bad grades being blamed on the teacher: the tests are too hard; it's a case of ADD. We are coddling people to the point of absurdity.

Dodge ball has been scrapped from most gym classes; Apparently it is too violent. Yet kids can go to the nearest TV, plug in "Grand Theft Auto" on the Xbox and kill virtual thugs.

We are turning into a society of spineless wimps. I'm not saying we need to run in the wild wielding axes. But, when Mother Nature unleashes her fury, I'd expect more than people sitting in an arena, flinging excrement on the walls because the government hasn't "saved" them quickly enough.

Knowing how to handle failure and loss is one of the most scrutinized human traits we have. Instead of a famous phrase we are left with, "When the going gets tough, point fingers and whine."

I don't want to trivialize the fact that some people are really struggling right now. We are most likely at the beginning of a long road. Now is the time to take personal responsibility for our finances. Or, we can wait for a bailout. And when it doesn't come, we can scream bloody murder.

Better yet, maybe we can blame it on fashion improvements. We don't even have bootstraps to pull up anymore. Darn you, Timberland!