Gentle Reader,

As a result of unusually foolish monetary policies on the part of our federal government, we are seeing financial dominoes fall one after another, and the pace is picking up at an alarming rate.

Many of our citizens have lived their financial lives just as our government has done, and their financial chickens are coming home to roost, one after another. Those chickens are looking a little ragged, as though they have flown through a whirlwind, and some of them have been picked clean. If they were put in a pot for Sunday dinner, the family that owns them would have mighty lean pickings.

Now that we have exhausted the chicken dinner metaphor, lets use some real language: We Americans have been spending like 19 year old sailors on shore leave, and we have the bills to prove it. Not only is this not good, it is very bad. Families fall apart over this sort of thing, because the stress can get pretty intense.

The old American saying, "I’m going to talk to you like a Dutch uncle," is now in play, because I really am going to talk to you like a penny-pinching old Gramma, which is how I think Dutch Uncles must talk.

Our families are spending more money than they have. That’s the bottom line. They are going out to dinner, and going to fast food drive-ins, and when they do cook, half of it ends up in the garbage disposal. Why? Because it didn’t come from the family’s favorite fast food place, and, besides, almost none of the last two or three generations of Americans have been told, "NO!"

It’s a perfectly good word. Try it out. It may never roll off the tongue with the grace and dignity of a Frenchman ordering wine, but it’s a good word, and, most of all, it works!

American kids have too many clothes, and they don’t value them. Why? Because they don’t have to pay for them; all they have to do is ask. Worse, the money that goes to buy those clothes doesn’t have to come out of the fast-food-restaurant bill, because many of them are bought on a credit card. Worse yet, Mom or Dad will pay the credit card, so their offspring can and will buy more clothes than they can ever wear, and they will still be totally irresponsible where money is concerned. It grows on trees, right?

We parents have caused this problem. Why? Because most of us have never gone hungry. The Americans who settled this country and those who lived through the depression and went without a great deal, including adequate food, are either long dead or mostly in their last decade or two of life, so kids can’t imagine how those still around can know anything about life in the 21st century. So why should they listen to them?

Parents, it’s time for us to clean up our act. We have let our kids down by not teaching them to go without, by giving them too much and asking too little from them.

Now to our government: it has almost run out of credit cards, which is a very good thing, but there is a very bad side to this: Countries that consider us their enemy are the ones who own those credit cards, and they may demand payment anytime. That is unusually risky. For right now, it pays them to let us get into financial trouble, because it means they own part of us, but they may demand payment whenever they want, and we don’t and won’t have the money to pay them back. We have squandered it on social programs that turn our citizens into irresponsible, dependent children, standing around with their hands held out for more goodies.

America was not created for governmental goodies. It was created so our ancestors could have freedom and self-determination. All that was required of them was hard work, responsible behavior and sacrifice. Modern Americans fall short on all three. It’s time for us to grow up. Our ancestors had to do so, now it’s our turn.

Until next time,
Muriel Sluyter

Return to the Neighborhood.

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3 comments:

    Disney Freaks said...

    My parents raised five daughters and the rarely used credit. On rare occassions that meant using the Church or state welfare. But my parents felt it was more important to live 'within their means.' As a teenager I often wanted what I saw my classmates had, but I understood that the money did not exist for it. It often made me mad that my classmates were so spoiled! All they had to do was ask and *poof* there it was. It doesn't surprise me to see what is happening now. Scares me, but does not surprise me. These kids in turn are repeating the awful cycle with their kids. I, unfortunately, have succumbed and have a very small line of credit with my financial institution, but it really is more out of need than not. I am trying to live without it. I commend you for posting this blog, and hope we can save ourselves.

  1. ... on September 24, 2008 at 2:50 PM  
  2. Tristi Pinkston said...

    Fabulous article, Muriel. I enjoy everything you write but this one was particularly good.

  3. ... on October 17, 2008 at 1:02 PM  
  4. Ronda Hinrichsen said...

    WELL SAID!

  5. ... on October 17, 2008 at 1:17 PM