Why Do People Blame Presidents for Their Money Problems?

The concept of personal accountability is something that makes sense to me.  I’m not saying I’m perfect at applying it at all times, but I do believe in it and try to follow it.

That being said, sometimes people do like to blame others.  Blame their career, blame their spouse, blame their parents, blame the dog, blame anybody.  To the person who makes excuses, it’s always somebody else’s fault when things don’t go according to plan.  Sometimes, people even blame the President (regardless of his poitical party) for their problems – or any money problems!

A few examples:

Sold-Out Holiday Gifts are the President’s Fault?

I was at a retailer recently, where I was doing a little bit of shopping for a few household items as well as holiday gifts.  I was walking by the toy aisle, when a store employee told a customer that they were out of a certain toy, and that they might not get any for a while since the company might not be making (or shipping?) as many this season.

The customer, a 30-something lady, said (paraphrased): “well, that’s what we get when we re-elect Obama…companies don’t make enough toys for the holidays because they think people want handouts!”

Huh? I’m missing the connection between who our president is, and why this lady wasn’t able to buy the right gifts for her kids. Maybe you can try to help me with this one.

Expensive Food is The President’s Fault?

I was talking recently with somebody who we’ll just describe as somebody I come into contact with frequently.  We were discussing how expensive lunch was becoming, and how it seemed like just a few years ago you could easily buy one for just $3 or $4 without it being unhealthy junk.  The guy said (again, paraphrased): “After 4 more years of Obama, I’m not going to be able to afford to eat lunch anymore!”

So tell me….why is it the President’s fault that you’re not able to eat lunch outside as often as you would like?  Could it be that your salary is modest? Or could it be that you spend money on other things that take away from available funds to spend on eating out?  Not sure how the President gets the blame here.

Your Home Losing Value is the President’s Fault?

For this one, we go back to before the current President was elected, to the George Bush days.  There were plenty of people out there who lost money on their homes, or at least saw the market value of them decline.  Frankly, I was one of them.

Luckily, I never took on an excessive mortgage at the wrong time.  However, there were people that stretched to buy their homes, and ended up underwater or at least burned badly on their purchase.  Some people learned their lessons, and realized that a basic home should have been good enough, instead of the dream home they bought by stretching for a big mortgage.

However, others looked to blame somebody.  I remember one person who saw his home value decline at the time saying that “Bush drove my retirement into the ground.  All this money spent on problems outside our country…”.

Sure, the guy was probably losing money in the market too, but why blame President Bush for that?  Why not just admit that he thought he was entitled to a dream home with all the bells and whistles, and that he made a bad decision to take on a massive loan that gave him very little room for error.

Politicians are not primarly to blame or credit for our individual financial situations!

I’m not saying that there aren’t specific circumstances where leaders can impact our respective person situations.  National debt, anyone? However, isn’t it better to accept full responsibility for our own actions? We can choose to get an education (or not), we can choose to work hard (or not), we can choose to live frugally (or not), and so on.  Sometimes we do legitimately find ourselves in bad situations out of our direct control, but life goes like that sometimes, and can occasionally be quite unfair.  Then again, we can choose how to respond.

Maybe I’m a little detached from some things in the political world, or maybe I’m just not sensitive enough to certain things.  Who knows? But I just think that it’s comical when some folks want to blame their own financial decisions on the leader of the free world.  After all, if they make good decisions, will they take credit for them or will they give all credit to the President?

Just live our lives, and try our best no matter what.  And try to take responsibility for our own sucessess and failures!

My Questions for You

Do you see it the same way, that many people tend to attribute too many financial problems to the President (regardless of political affiliation), or to whatever party is control at the time?

Have you ever heard anybody go overboard or be irrational in this way?


  1. Christian L. says

    I love hearing people complain about gas prices while they’re at the pump, as if the Oval Office has a button to make gas get more expensive. Get real.

    It’s funny. Humans make mistakes; it’s natural. Yet we either loathe or struggle admitting our mistakes. Most times, a financial headache was caused our own doing. It’s easier to blame somebody though. You’re right on, saying people need to take responsibility.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  2. says

    There seems to be a tendency to want to blame someone for your personal issues. I take the opposite approach, it is my (100%) responsibility for everything. Circumstances can be difficult, but someone will succeed. It can be you! High unemployment, someone will need your skills.

    • Squirrelers says

      krantcents – your approach seems like the safest approach. After all, nobody cares more about our individual welfare than we do.

  3. says

    I think national politicians have very little effect on our day-to-day, even month-to-month lives. Focus on your municipality’s politics for what really has an impact on your quality of life. That said, I feel quite sure we’d have better weather if Romney had been elected. :)

    • Squirrelers says

      Kurt – good point about municipal politics. There, decisions made on schools, roads, services, etc can impact one’s daily life. Still though, the blame game can be excessive there too!

    • Squirrelers says

      Kyle – Yes, it sure is easy to blame others! I often wonder how some folks think that one person in Washington could possbily be solely responsible for everyone’s success or failure :)

  4. says

    Great post. I think about this all of the time. You also have to blame the people that do not know how the government works. Most people have no idea what the president has the power to accomplish. I blame this on the media bias. You will never succeed if you continue to blame other people and the president sure in hell is not going to help you get control of your finances. It is your money and your life, take control of it.

  5. says

    Accepting personal responsibility for financial issues is hard for most people because once you accept it, it means you could have avoided the problem or should have a solution to fix it (and that means working hard!). It’s easier to find a scapegoat and blame that person or thing. It’s the easy way out.

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