One might think this column is about the various childish people elected in the recent Congress by Democrats who have little life experience and less knowledge or wisdom. No, it is about how a major columnist at a prominent publication wants you to have more government invading your life because she herself is too irresponsible to review her own financial documents.
Let us review some thoughts before we go further. Regular readers know I draw no quarter on private enterprises acting badly. When you are a capitalist, you have an obligation to act in a manner that does not give license to socialists to argue for more government. They make up enough out of whole cloth to argue for more government; they don’t need ammunition handed to them by capitalists behaving badly.
That being said, you as an individual need to be aware of your own responsibilities to protect your own financial interests. Blaming others for not reading contracts or getting quality help to protect you does not absolve you of your obligations. Too often our government tries to tell people they do not have obligations.
A perfect example was the 2008 loan crisis. The overall discussion was about who had primary responsibility for the financial meltdown. Was it government setting stupid rules or was it free enterprise taking advantage? There was very little discussion of the individual taking out a loan they could not pay back or buying a condo to lease out with no financial reserves in case the tenant was lost. Look to yourself first before pointing fingers at others.
One would think that a member of our elite class would not suffer from these failings. Yet that is not the case. Michelle Goldberg is a regular columnist for The New York Times. She has a master’s degree from a first class university. She pontificates about many things and often rips into President Trump for whatever she perceives as his latest ill. She recently told us former Vice President Joe Biden was past his sell-by date. She is a serious Leftist voice with a growing platform.
Let me say, I have not met Ms. Goldberg. She may be a perfectly lovely individual. This is not about her personally. This is about the idea she writes about and supports.
Her column on January 5, 2019, gave great insight into the mind of those who harken for greater government control. She is a person who takes no responsibility for being errant. She seeks government wonks to save her from herself.
She spoke of the fact that her husband was reviewing her credit card statements to identify tax deductions. She says “I hadn’t noticed the hundreds of dollars of weird recurring bank charges that my husband discovered. It turns out I’d been signed up for a dubious program that purported to protect user’s credit in certain emergency situations.”
The bank (unnamed) was fined $700 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). After attempting to get redemption from the bank, she turned to the CFPB who arranged for a refund of $11,000 to her.
Then she torches the Republicans and Trump for trying to get a handle on this bureau. She does not mention that the bureau was set up with unique funding through fees from the Federal Reserve, being the only agency evading congressional oversight, or that it has delved into financial matters that are not part of its purview, but no one could stop them because they were not subject to congressional oversight.
The only thing that is important is that Senator Elizabeth Warren, creator of the CFPB, is a brilliant policy innovator because Michelle Goldberg (a highly educated individual) is a financially irresponsible person.
She was irresponsible on two levels. First, who doesn’t review their bills for charges -- whether it is your phone bill, power bill or credit card bill? That is, unless you just hate money. Any time you get a bill you should review it in detail. This is one of the reasons I do not like having the aforementioned bills charged directly to my credit card. Suddenly there is a change and I have already paid it and must get the money back from a corporate behemoth.
I don’t think of errant charges as a one-time thing. I think of them in annual chunks. To me, a monthly charge of $10 is $120 annually; thus, let’s get it off my bill.
But Ms. Goldberg was too irresponsible to review her bills and take personal responsibility. And she was too irresponsible to take step two.
As my clients have heard me tell them repeatedly, being successful in business is realizing your own limitations and compensating for them. If you are not good at handling your accounting (and almost no business person should), hire someone to do it and focus on your main skill – medicine, architecture, real estate, etc.
Ms. Goldberg could have realized her own limitations and compensated for her inability to properly review her bills. She could have had her husband review them from the beginning and he would have seen the errant charges and had them terminated early on, thus avoiding all her money being taken from her and needing it to be refunded.
A child could have acted in a more responsible manner than Michelle Goldberg did in her own life. Then because of her own bad behavior she thought that her salvation is a government bureaucrat and praised them for getting something done correctly for once. That is not mature action.
Her bank was apparently atrocious for improperly charging her credit card for a credit security program she states she did not order. But if Goldberg was a responsible adult about her own finances then this episode would have never happened and the government employee could have gotten a real job.
The pivotal theme here is Goldberg believes that centralized control by an “elite” group will benefit the whole. Of course, in this socialistic dream the power shifts to a new group and she is part of that group. And you end up with less say in your own life affairs. This is just another sad example of Leftist values run amok.