The complainer mentality is often contradictory

By Vicki Hyatt | May 20, 2014

The complainer mentality is often contradictory — and hard to figure out

Is it just me, or have others noticed we have become a much more contentious and critical society. It seems many people spend a lot of time complaining often and loudly. Thy are quick to find fault with others, yet turn a blind eye to their own faults.

Whether it’s traffic, our job, the neighbors, the cost of living people or politics, discussions are shriller and thinkers who will evaluate and then discuss are a definite minority.

Many of the complaints these days are about government spending — who benefits, who pays and what needs to be done about it.

Interestingly, some of those screaming the loudest are the very ones who are taking advantage of government programs.

With longer life spans, practically everyone who has been on Social Security for two decades is taking out more than was put in on their behalf. There are households where a government disability check helps make ends meet, but those getting the money want to cut government spending (just not theirs, I guess.)

My favorite complainers are the major corporations that decry spending for public welfare but feel totally justified in taking billions in government funding, either through special tax breaks or incentives they’ve successfully lobbied to receive through the years.

An early lesson continually preached in our household when I was growing up was that everybody works, nobody whines, and if you’re looking to blame someone else, you had best examine your own house first. We were told to just banish the word “fair” from our vocabulary. There was to be no speculation on why a chore we were assigned seemed harder or more unpleasant than one assigned to a sibling. We all had a role to play and it was best to just get on with it.

Later on, our parents taught simple economic lessons. There was the  “if you want something, get a job, save your money and buy it when you have enough” advice, or the cause and effect challenge.

“If we, as a family, spend our money on (insert any number of requests children could make), then there won’t be enough left to pay for things like gas or groceries or shoes, let alone cover costs such as cattle feed, farm or fencing materials and truck /tractor repairs that were a necessary part of making a livelihood ranching in Montana.

By high school, my dad made sure our economic lessons expanded to a societal level.

There are some things worth investing in, and education was at the top of the list. Our nation prospered because of leaders who understood the value an educated populace, transportation, natural resources and the need to ensure that all levels of society had a way to have their basic needs met.

When it came to public welfare costs, we were encouraged do more than jump on the bandwagon of those who were criticizing the bum who didn’t work or the unwed mothers. Decades ago, I found that in our county, 80 percent of the Medicaid funds went to support the elderly, and most of that was for institutional care. Now, about two-thirds of public welfare costs in our country are spent on the elderly, but that’s something you wouldn’t know if you just listened to the complainers.

Many of those who complain the loudest about public welfare are the corporate welfare recipients. There are some studies showing that almost twice as much is spent on corporate welfare than public welfare.

In reality, if the companies that are so concerned about the little guys getting something for nothing would take some of the money they spend on political campaigns and invest in paying employees a living wage, it just might tip the scales toward self-sufficiency.

My dad would say people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Jesus would ask why you notice the speck in your brother’s eye but ignore the plank in your own.