Our Economic Crisis

Heroic stories abound of our predecessors’ thrift, industriousness, austerity, assiduousness, and self-sacrificing in order to live prudently and provide for the future generation. This was the norm for many generations. It is difficult to state an arbitrary date as to when this life-style changed but the older a living generation is the more pronounced it was among them. Whereas they were concerned about providing for future generations an almost imperceptive new philosophy emerged.
Simply stated it involves mortgaging the future for today. Little wonder the name given some is the “now generation.” Driven by self-indulgence giving birth by greed it slowly became the norm for many. Debt by individuals and governments gave us today what tomorrow promised. This concept permeated all of our society. It even became global in emerging societies.
Entitlement became a mantra for those looking to government with outstretched hands. Many individuals seemed to feel personal debt gave them the right to exceed their means.
This has led to the future being mortgaged beyond its capacity. Suddenly for many the future became the present and pay-up time came without them having the ability to pay-up. Institutions, industries and individuals bumped their noses against the plate glass reality of insolvency. Many who were less guilty than others were sucked into this vortex of over indebtedness. Numbers who had acted reasonably could have made it if the economy had stayed solvent were swept along by this tide.
It has been a tough class of economics 101. Lessons have been learned that will benefit legions in the future. Some slow learners will slip right back into this quagmire.
It has become ever increasingly apparent it is unwise to over extend. What our society has been guilty of we are now desiring our government to do. That is, to mortgage tomorrow for today. Haven’t we learned tomorrow inevitably comes. The money  wanted to be doled out today will come from the pockets of future generations. There is no way the future generation can handle the debt we are deferring to them any more than we can handle it today. Tomorrow will come fast enough to impact a significant segment of people who are alive today.
Our area and the state in general has a good core of competent public officials. We are fortunate. However, in the mix their voices are often in the minority of unheard.
This conundrum is too complex for the average citizen. However, individually we can work to get our personal financial houses in order.
Step one is to curb our personal cupidity, that is, our desire to obtain. That will necessitate budgeting our resources and living within our means.
Financial consultant Dave Ramsey urges people to “live off beans and rice — rice and beans” until they get out of debt.
Purchase of an item that does not depreciate is in reality an investment not a debt. An affordable mortgage on a home that appreciates is an investment.
A Baptist moved next door to a frugal Quaker. The Quaker visited him and said, “If thou neediest anything let me know and I will tell thee how to live without it.”
Score one for the Quaker.