Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Do I Get?

We are a nation of incentives. No one does anything anymore without asking, "What are you going to do for me?" We wonder why the next generation displays selfish and entitled attitudes to work, people, and world; yet never stop to think it's because we made them that way!

Sometimes, these incentives correct past wrongs or seem positive on the first glace. The new health care reform bill will provide insurance companies and businesses with incentives to promote good health and "wellness". I am clearly ignorant, because I thought that was already the plan. Shouldn't insurance companies want us to be healthy and not in need of their services? Wouldn't they prefer to rake in the money while rarely having to shell any out? Oh wait, they already do that. I know the adage that insurance companies have no soul, but now they could buy one or simply allow the government to loan them one. On a positive note, I like the idea of businesses give employees breaks in insurance payments for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On NPR today, it was implied that some will give you up to 50% off for attending wellness retreats/lectures. Sign me up! My insurance doubled this year and my wallet feels the pain.

Other incentives aim to help the less fortunate become more fortunate, though not successfully. In New York, the government handed out incentives ($25-150) to low income individuals for not quitting their job, going to the dentist, etc. Surprisingly this was unsuccessful. Can I get $100 for staying at my job? It might improve my moral.

An incentive caught me in its cross hairs yesterday. Like many people, I've been dodging my creditors for a few weeks now. The logic that I can pay above the minimum on my account and still not make a dent (this is not figurative) is infuriating. I can't believe it's legal! Finally, they got me- I received a free $50 gift card from them, all I had to do was call. Damn. It is a sad state of affairs I find myself in when I can easily be bought for $50. So, thanks major credit company, after mulling over the amount of money I owe you that I simply don't have and have no idea how I will come up with it in 2 weeks, at least I can drink myself into oblivion.

We live in a nation and a time of "me", which isn't inherently bad in and of itself; however we must ask what the outcome will be. I am the most selfish person I know, yet I understand that some things are free and must remain so. We bribe and cajole others to do what we want them to do, when they should want to do it, to do the right thing, all on their own. I'm at a loss as to what it will take to re-plant the seed of volunteerism, of friendship, of pride even; that will get more people to step up to the plate. This is not to say that giving your kid extra TV time, a dollar, whatever; for finishing their vegetables is a bad thing. But, when did everything become an option? I didn't grow up that way. Sure, my Granddad spoilt my sister and me with a dollar per "A" on our report card; but I still had to sit at the table and eat my peas like everyone else; no matter how long it took. Maybe that is why the idea of rewarding corporate good behavior rubs me the wrong way.

Is there any way to get back on track without it?

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