This has been a week of depression for me. I saw our elected representatives bicker and argue and finally decide on the side of… not even what is right or wrong… but rather to further the status quo on the road to doom, kicking a large can a small way down the road. This, as a nation, we shall soon revisit.
Personal finance talk show host Dave Ramsey best articulated our national challenge (and our national solution) in a monologue when he described an American couple that earned 58k a year yet spent 75k a year, and was 370k in debt.
This couple resolved to fix things and were proud to announce they were cutting their spending down to 72k a year while extending their line of credit to 500k. All on the same 58k a year income.
The American couple was us, America, and our national budget. Check the ratios to our annual spending and national debt. It’s laughable to call it a budget, as a budget is best defined as “here’s how much money there is, here’s how we will (wisely?) spend it.” That simple premise has been ignored by Congress for decades.
Our country is spending itself into slavery. The Socialists in charge are doing so to create a dependent constituency of voters at the risk of liberty (for which they care little as these Socialists are the aristocracy); the Opposition (our Tea Party cum Republican congressmen) House claims victory for slowing the rate of spending down... and that it was all they could do in a political world still controlled by a liberal Senate and an evil (okay, I'll be nice... a misguided... no, wait, he is sinister after all) Executive branch.
Consider those to whom we and our grandchildren owe the money and their ideas of liberty and social justice. What happens to the second born in China? They’ve already informed Obama he has no right to criticize their definition of human rights (not that he has any conception himself... but it can be worse.) Why? Because we owe them money. Vast, huge, compounding, astronomical, nay, economical mounds of money. They won’t fire a single shot, will they?
Regardless, “debt deals” of no consequence, done in a rush towards a false deadline, have averted no financial catastrophes. They have merely established strong party lines for both parties come the foolishness and pointlessness of November the next. The winner then will be either a loser with a losing hand or the sneering Czar over our demise unless...
Unless as individuals we can realize our own opportunity (while the window of liberty remains open) to shirk dependency on the state and on debt in order to carry our own weight. Simple questions: Can you feed your family? Can you love them, care for them, educate them? Can you carry your own weight? If necessary, can you rid yourself of the baubles of our consumer society to establish, first, a debt free existence and then, second, a prosperous, capital-based existence for yourself?
I’m advocating individual achievement of financial independence. If you and all others are independent of the state, then its costly programs of charity (now called entitlements. What are you entitled to? Life, Liberty, and the PURSUIT of happiness. That’s all) become redundant, superfluous, unnecessary.
Our country was founded upon the risk and faith in individual success (prosperity), and I believe nothing but rare circumstances and outbreaks of bigotry can hold you back. What is preventing you from success? Are you oppressed? No. You may be uninformed, lazy, or misguided, but held back by “the man?”
No. So achieve.
There is no financial situation that three years of hard work, sacrifice, even bankruptcy can’t resolve. Hard work is hard work; hard work is good for you. Employers love it, from pizza delivery to the boardroom. Sacrifice can be defined as selling the upside-down car, going without cable or iPhone, eating Ramsey’s s beans-and-rice. Bankruptcy is the last resort of pride, but even that is not forever.
So. So achieve.
Declare your independence once again. Be independent and capable of taking care of yourself and your own. Catholic social justice is based on a principle of subsidiarity, (the American Bishops have stated this, though they seem to forget it from time to time) simply defined as “do not do for a man what he can do for himself.”
What are you capable of? Achieve!
Sacrifice is going to happen. It will happen at the government entitlement level when the money really does run out, which means it will happen at the household and individual level. Are you willing to sacrifice now to succeed in the not too distant future?
Funny; the answer isn’t in Washington. The answer is in you and your possibilities.
God made you and He made you special. America is still the best place on earth to realize your possibilities. Achieve them. Take care of yourself and of those who depend on you. When you’re finished there, take care of other who can’t take care of themselves.
Hint: There are a lot of people who can’t take care of themselves right now, but if you wake them up to their potential, a sea change can happen, and it can happen in a short time. And we can believe once again in Life, Liberty, and Happiness.