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“The Blame Game”

“The Blame Game”

By Allen Herman

Recently several news organizations wrote about the drop in cable subscribers. According to the reports, the numbers of subscribers dropping out has accelerated steadily over the past several years. The reports state that the drop in numbers is mainly due to the advent of Netflix and other new internet-based systems that are now available.

Welcome to the “Blame Game.”

All are blame free. All have an excuse. It’s always the other guy’s fault. If you can’t blame technology, new trends or some other obscure cause you can always blame capitalists, racists, homophobes, communists, conservatives or anarchists. We are all sweet, sincere, virgin-like innocents. The problem is when no one person or thing is ever wrong … nothing needs to be or can be corrected.

Welcome to the Blame Game. I believe that the drop in cable subscribers is predicated on, among other reasons, the constantly escalating costs. Many … this writer included … resent being forced to pay for “bundled programs” when we only wish to have one or two stations in the bundle. Further, the number of advertisements that we are forced to endure could test the patience of Mother Theresa.

A lot of people are tired of seeing rerun after rerun, again saturated with commercials that occur nightly. Many are furious with the costs. And many are fed up with the poor program offerings and the abysmal service … perhaps non-service is a better description … that the boys and girls at Comcast and Verizon offer.

Atlantic City is losing its casinos. There are just five left. New construction has been stopped and many fear for the city’s future. The news media will tell you that the town is being clobbered by competition from newly opened casinos in neighboring states. Why should people drive, they reason, when there are so many local gambling halls people can visit?

Again I disagree. Once again … welcome to the “Blame Game.” Atlantic City had approximately a thirty year headstart. They could have built a Vegas-on-the-Atlantic. They did no such thing. To the best of my knowledge there is not one movie theater, other than an IMAX in one casino. To the best of my knowledge there is not one bowling alley or amusement park in the entire town.

The Boardwalk has a teeny tiny little miniature golf course and little else. There are fortunetellers, t-shirt vendors and an occasional food stand. Period! The Pier is in bankruptcy, many of the stores are closed and you can’t get to it by car. About the only exciting “game in town,” other than a ride in our friend Jack’s Jitney, is their new discount shopping complex that starts at the new convention center and heads towards the Boardwalk.

It didn’t have to be that way. I lived in Ventnor when the first casino opened. I would sit on my deck at 5000 Boardwalk and watch the fires that occurred almost nightly in the inlet section of town as landlords tried to literally burn tenants out. The smoldering remains ended up, at best, as parking lots. Let’s be honest, the city offers one thing now … the ocean. But so do other, much safer towns offer the very same ocean and far more attractive boardwalks filled with amusements, restaurants and unique storefronts.

Student debt is another area where I disagree with just about everybody. Again … welcome to the “Blame Game.” The New York Times recently reported that hundreds of thousands of recent college graduates are struggling with high-cost student loans. Many of these debtors are tumbling into default “because the companies servicing the loans aren’t offering reasonable options with improved terms.”

Let’s stop playing the “Blame Game.” I am a firm believer in Higher Education and realize our nation’s future will be determined to a large extent by the capabilities of our young people. But a large number of these students, who are unable to pay their federal loan debts, were either not college material to start with or had no need to go to college to further their chosen career or occupation.

Many (along with their parents) who borrowed and continue to borrow huge sums of money that Congress gladly made available, ended up dropping out or obtaining meaningless degrees in many unemployable professions. (I rarely see ads in the employment sections of most newspapers seeking graduates with degrees in Poetry, Interplanetary Languages, etc.) Our government, both federal and local, distributes “buckets of bucks,” often without any regard as to what the “pesos” are being used for. But these staggering amounts of money Uncle gives out do buy votes.

Colleges, who now pay upwards of three million “bucks” a year for their Deans and equally obscene educator salaries and faculty “goodies” benefit packages, often make almost zero effort to curtail expenses and curb tuition costs. Nor do they warn students of the income potential various degrees warrant vs their debts. Why should they? I recently read where these colleges and universities are now actively soliciting foreign students to their graduate programs because many Americans with undergrad degrees are so broke they can’t pursue additional studies or advanced degrees.

Now these students, many living with their parents, frequently unemployed and deeply in debt, often are unable to even pay their loans back … yet alone move forward as independent adults. In the end, parents, students, colleges, faculty, government … all claim innocence. They condemn the banks for not being more reasonable and making repayment terms easier. If we have a problem … blame the banks.

And it goes past our colleges and universities. How often, if ever, have you heard an educator, city or state official or member of a teachers union suggest, instead of demanding more funds from government, they clean up the “System,” eliminate waste and curb costs and nonsense courses? But when some brave politician suggests that there may be a limited possibility that teachers’ pensions are way too generous or that some educators should pay a portion of their benefit package all hell breaks loose. Hell has no wrath like a teachers union scorned.

Even “Ebola” has become part of the “Blame Game.” The Democrats in Washington blame George Bush. The fact that Government records show that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases ran Ebola vaccine trials in 2003, 2006 and 2008, but none during President Obama’s two terms, until now, does not matter.

And our Secretary of Defense just got fired because he took the wrap for failed Administration policies in Europe and the Middle East. And the best players in the “Game” are now blaming Israel for the troubles in Ferguson. Oh, the same people are blaming the police for the death of the teenager and the ensuing riots, arson, looting and injuries.

There is plenty of “blame” for what is wrong around us. It’s just that no one is prepared to assume their share of responsibility. It’s a dangerous thing when our children grow up with no sense of responsibility for their actions. These are the lessons we adults are teaching the next generation.

I could write more. But I will blame my editor for cutting me short. Of course she would tell me I should know I “spoke” too long. And d’ya know what, she’s right!

Allen Herman
Your opinions are always welcomed.

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