“Smoking by pregnant women may result in fetal injury, premature birth, and low birth weight,” is a classic. Or maybe one has a preference, “Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide.” Direct and simple works too, “Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy.” Whichever of the U.S. Surgeon General warnings affixed to tobacco products that we find most compelling, few are missing the point – smoking is dangerous and must be treated as such. Now, we are labeling all kinds of products and activities as risky. Life, it seems, is filled with peril.
As my eldest son and his compadres have just embarked into the adult work – some heading to college and others to begin their first full-time job – they are being inundated with all kinds of new experiences. Some quickly become addicted to them. The pain is limited at first but, in time, these addictions will wreak havoc on them, their families and all of our communities. Inevitably, government will attempt to help the hapless and our ship of state will be swamped by those who were prompted to addiction years earlier.
But this danger is almost secret. It is advocated by the government and those who we trust. The pushers come to our homes and to our schools. These dealers want us addicted to debt. Young folks receive a bounty of offers to borrow! Loans, credit cards, deferred payments and advances all are promised as entitlements and deserved rewards. Why wait? Why spend within our means? Why earn it and then spend it?
Commercials clog our minds. “Free” government programs! Grab it now! How can anything be free? Somebody is paying. Should the loans be marked, “Borrowing can cause long-term regret and low life attainment;” or “Debt causes anxiety, stress and other related ailments.” Debt is dangerous and must be treated as such.