Danedri Thompson

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A lifetime of playing by the rules just looks dumber and dumber every day.

The way to get ahead in America these days is to make terrible choices. That’s how you get your very own government bailout.

Instead of working hard, going to school, waiting to be married before I had children, paying my mortgage even when it meant putting other wants aside, I should’ve dropped out of high school, gotten pregnant by several different baby daddies, bought a house I couldn’t afford and quit paying for it.

Had I done those things: the government, through taxpayers, would be paying for healthcare and food for me and my children; my baby daddies, through child support, would likely be paying for my life style. And had I made those choices and just held on long enough, the government might force banks to forgive student loans and to lower the principle on my home mortgage.

Just yesterday, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said federal officials are pressuring banks to reduce the principle balances on their mortgages.

“Instead of saying, ‘We can assess billions of dollars of fines,’ (we’re saying,) ‘We want you to start reducing the principal balances well beyond what you would be willing to do otherwise, because it’s good for the country,’” Donovan said. “Our hope is, we could reach millions of borrowers with this settlement.”

Never mind the millions of Americans too stupid to continue paying their mortgages when the going got tough or the people who never sought home loans they couldn’t afford in the first place. Those dolts, and I’m one of them, get to pay twice – first for our own mortgages and then for everyone else’s in the form of taxes.

And down on Wall Street, a common occupier demand is that the banks forgive student loans. An online petition at signon.org has more than 300,000 signatures asking for student loan forgiveness. And at least one Congressman, Rep. Hansen Clark, R-Mich., is quoted as supporting such a plan.

The message is those who worked hard to pay off their student loans are idiots. They should’ve waited around for a government handout. And the kids who were smart enough to work their tails off in high school for scholarships so they didn’t need loans in the first place?  Their youth was wasted. They should’ve spent their formative years having fun and smoking dope in the high school parking lot, because their hard work is no longer to be lauded or rewarded by certain economic advantages.

Don’t even get me started on the baby boomers who struggled to get ahead by saving money, as they were encouraged to do in a 401k, only to have the bottom fall out of their investments. Or those who drank the housing koolaid and put their retirement funds in real estate.

There’s a quiet bailout afoot for the baby boomers who never saved a dime as well.

Last January, BusinessWeek reported that the Obama Administration was weighing the idea of “converting” 401ks in annuities. Essentially, the government would take retirement savings and promise to pay monthly benefits in retirement years. In the end game, the plan would “convert” your savings to the government to spend.

And in the end, that almost always means doling it out to people who didn’t play by the rules in the firstplace. Neat-o.

In high school, I was the geek who followed the rules. I didn’t drink. I kept my legs crossed. I studied (just) enough to make As and Bs. When I graduated, I went to college knowing a better job awaited me if I did. I paid off my student loan. My husband and I continue to pay the mortgage on a home that we no longer live in that is worth 10 percent less than what he originally paid for it years ago.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and suffering the consequences forced me to examine all of the decisions I’ve made and make better ones the next time.

Now government is telling people there’s no need to make good decisions, and I’m starting to get the message. If government officials continue to punish wise choices and reward failure, they can expect less responsibility and a lot more failures in the future, because following the rules looks dumber and dumber every day.