“Live Within Your Means!”
Talk about mixed signals. This article is basically lecturing people about sticking to a budget. Of course it’s good advice, especially with the housing crisis, credit crisis, the tanking economy…
But a huge percentage of our economy is based on discretionary consumer spending. Where would we be without it?
Every year starting in late November, tens of millions of Americans go into a crazed, foaming-at-the-mouth shopping frenzy. They spend money they don’t have, to buy a bunch of expensive presents nobody needs, just so they can impress people they don’t even like.
And while this mad stampede is going on, millions of business owners are terrified — mortified. They're scared shitless that this year’s shopping stampede might not be quite as frenzied as last year’s.
If everyone started living within a budget and buying only what they could afford, this country would go through cold turkey that no junkie ever imagined. It would’ve been better if this whole credit/debt concept had never been adopted. But now that we’re in this mess, what's the best way to get out?
There was an excellent TV series a few years ago — American Dreams (2002-04). It was about an extended family in Philadelphia during the early 1960s. The father owned a TV store. One day another merchant was telling him about this revolutionary new phenomenon: credit cards. The TV store owner said “What, somebody’s gonna pay more for something just so he can have it now instead of waiting ‘til he can afford it? No way!”
[sigh] if only…
Now that more Americans are being forced to live within their means, maybe the government could try the same thing. Riiight. After all, credit and bankruptcy counselors have to lay out strict merciless budgets for their clients. If any item isn't absolutely crucial — Ixnay! Imagine somebody telling our reckless president:
“I'm sorry George, you just can't afford to invade any more countries. Look at this multi-trillion dollar debt you’ve run up. Look at this shit! What were you thinking??”
And while we’re at it, can we afford to keep spending billions of dollars on some asshole’s “Family Values” agenda?
“War on Drugs? Are you crazy? You’ve spent yourself into bankruptcy trying to enforce your “values” onto everybody else. Not one more cent for your Morality Industrial Complex. Nope, I don’t want to hear it.”
cross-posted at Bring It On!