What About An Integrity Bailout?

by Ron Haynes

Watch enough late night television and you too can learn how to buy someone’s tax lien, “invest” in real estate with absolutely no money, buy someone’s notes receivable, or make a fortune in foreclosures. Neither ethics nor integrity is ever mentioned when it comes to making a fast fortune.

AD 1927Granted, each of those activities have their place, but we’ve turned what used to be less than desirable ventures and some flat-out questionable practices into glamorous businesses that “Can Make YOU the Next Millionaire!” What in the world is going on? Whatever happened to working hard and saving money by living beneath your means? Whatever happened to the cornerstone’s of our economy?

I have to admit, I’ve fallen for it too. Back about 20 years ago I fell into the get-rich-quick through multi-level marketing trap. I fell hard, too. I “invested” money I didn’t have into a multi-level marketing venture that put me deep into credit card debt. “After all,” I reasoned, “I’ll make extra money and be rich in less than a year and can pay it all off.” Umm, no. Not only that, but it severely distracted me from finishing college, a move I’ve regretted ever since. No one bailed me out of MY bad decisions. I could just taste my success, but it turned bitter in the end.

Nowadays, we have big time CEO’s of banks, and automakers, and who knows who else, begging for tax dollars because of their own stupid mistakes. They over extended themselves, depended on credit, and They failed to make wise decisions, smart decisions, or even common sense decisions and instead chose the quick and easy decision and now they want a bailout. It seems that a huge chunk of our economic system is predicated on pulling the wool over someone’s eyes. Does anyone other than me realize that the IRS only takes in about $225 billion per month? With a $700 billion bailout, we will spend about 3 months worth of the Federal government’s gross collections! Can we keep this up? Bailout spending is out of control!

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What we need in this country is an integrity bailout. We need a great big bucket of ethics and integrity poured out all over us. It’s high time we return to the values our grandparents and great grandparents taught us. Things like:

1. Hard work – making the choice to build or add value to something or someone rather than try to benefit from another person’s poor decisions. If we return to our roots of innovation and creativity, we can build real, lasting wealth.

2. Ethicsdoing what’s right even when it doesn’t benefit us instead of claiming that certain actions are “standard operating procedure.” What would our country look like if we returned to integrity, honesty, and and genuine care for the next generation?

3. Patience – there is really VERY LITTLE you or I “need” right NOW. Learning to wait creates character. I can remember my grandmother teaching me to “just wait.”

4. Learn to do withoutdepriving yourself of every “want” that pops in your head is a smart move. Wants have their place: they can motivate and inspire, but to constantly satisfy them reduces their meaning.

5. Buy value rather than appearance – too many items have a thin veneer of quality but underneath are just cheap cardboard. We’re satisfied with fake furniture, plastic chrome, disposable this, replaceable that, so long as it’s cheap. I wonder if we would recognize quality if it stood in front of us and help up a sign.

6. Quality of time at work, quantity of time at home – by giving your employer your best, but giving your family the bulk of your time, you’ll be able to satisfy the employer’s needs for production, but your family’s need to spend time with YOU.

7. Self Sufficiency – we used to make things happen for ourselves. Today, it’s accepted practice to allow someone else to do all the heavy lifting. I can still remember my grandparents working in a garden, canning their vegetables and making sure there would be food available in the winter. What a concept.

I think if we were to look back, we’d realize that grandpa really did know best. Hard work, integrity, family. Those are the values we should all support and emulate.

[tags]bailout, handout, money, finance, finances, financial, waste, beg, integrity, ethics[/tags]

photo credit: Digital Sextant

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 996 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.

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You’re right on with this. I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for the great post.


I like all of your points but #7 is a big one for me. I think this country would be a lot better if more people stopped blaming someone else for their own problems. Take responsibility and make changes happen for yourself.



This was a provocative article, Ron! I suspect from what I’ve read of you previously that our politics differ considerably, but I like how you couched this argument in non-political terms. Nice work.

I’m concerned because everyone’s bailing out the investment bankers and auto makers, but no one’s bailing out the middle class. Then again, I think I read a statistic like 1 in 10 people in the U.S. are involved in the auto industry, so not bailing out auto manufacturers could be disastrous.

On the other hand… there are probably opportunities at places like Toyota and Honda assembly plants in the U.S. (since most foreign cars are still assembled here, these days). They might find people who were experienced with their competitors valuable. Then again, I doubt they have enough positions for everybody…

On your “integrity bailout,” a couple of points:
- “Hard work”; “Quality of time at work, quantity of time at home”: it’s not just hard work, it’s smart work. I believe it’s almost impossible to succeed in this country anymore just by tying oneself to a company. I hesitate to say there’s more security there than there is running your own business. It’s all a crap shoot these days.

Workers these days need to be free agents; they need to look out for their own interests, AND they need to be conscientious of the ethics of the industry they’re in (where were the whistle blowers at Enron, for example?). I think the reason “millenials” sometimes come across to older adults as being selfish in the work place is because they’re not tied to the “9 to 5 til you’re 65″ model, and realize that what they put into the company sometimes has VERY little to do with what they get back.

Ethics, i.e. doing what’s right. Absolutely. This happens on a consumer level, as well. When we make choices to deal with companies that are unethical or produce poor products (like Wal-Mart, to my mind, or many Chinese companies), we are making a choice about how we want the world to be.

Buy value rather than appearance: agree completely. Don’t focus entirely on price, either.

Self-sufficiency: I think it’s also important to know when to cut your losses and get someone else to do something for you.

Also I’d like to argue that there’s a moral difference between bailing out someone who consciously bit off more than they could chew (investment banks) and people who ignorantly got in over their head (homeowners with poor mortgage choices who are going into foreclosure). Unfortunately there’s not going to be much left over to help the actual homeowners after this…

Chris @ BuildMyBudget

What an excellent post; you couldn’t be more spot on! It really makes you wonder where we will be in 10-20 years, doesn’t it? I wonder how consolidated we will be and what big organization will finally be allowed to fail. Despite the economic and financial implications, allowing some of these organizations to fail just might be the shot of ethics and integrity we need.


What a great post! To many of us, this post should serve as a reminder but my fear is that to many it will be a bridge too far. I hate to be pessimistic but I will do my best to provide a positive example to my daughter and those around me.

Like SingleGuyMoney I think it all starts with the last item, self sufficiency AND I would add personal accountability.

Great post. Thanks.

Joshua @ Accountable Living

Excellent points. If I could add one thing to your list it would be: Taking accountability for our actions. Learning the art of being responsible for what we have, do, or have done is truly a sign of maturity. It may not always be fun, it may not always be glamorous, but accountability is at the core of integrity. “Bailout” is another word for “mismanagement”.


I agree wholeheartedly. It is not just in the US that people are feeling like you do, but also in other countries like mine, Malaysia. We had some major bailouts when the Asian Crisis hit us. Perhaps some were genuine bailouts, but some were just rip offs.

I guess when the so called “knowledge economy” was formulated, hard work got thrown out of the window, and it became “what you know”. Slowly it has evolved into “whom you know”.

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