#53 - $700,000,000,000

"As far as this $700 billion bailout is concerned, they keep saying 'we have to act now, we have to act now.' It's like a bad TV offer. Just ten easy payments of $70 billion each, operators are standing by, but you have to act now!" –Jay Leno

I want to spout off on my opinions, but I do have to give a big disclaimer here - I haven't watched the news much in the past, and I don't really know a lot about politics or economics. So, why am I writing this post? I guess I just wanted to rant a little bit. :) With that said...

I've been watching the news the past couple weeks about the economic disaster we're in right now, and, frankly, I'm astounded. Did you know our country is in debt $9.6 trillion dollars?

I also read an article that says the deficit for 2009 is almost 1/2 a trillion dollars. And that number doesn't include tens of billions of dollars in Iraqi war costs. It also, obviously, doesn't include the $700 billion bailout. So, the debt is going to be - what? $11 trillion this time next year? Something is wrong with this picture.

Today's generation has an entitlement mentality. We want what we want and we want it when we want it. I know, that's hard to make out, but I liked saying it that way. And since I wanted to, I did it. I'm entitled to that right as the blog owner. :D

So, the government wants to buy something, they buy it. They don't have to worry about where the money's coming from. They just say, "Put it on our tab." Now, in the olden days, if you went to a store and had them put something "on your tab" and you went in day after day after day, racking up your tab and never paying a penny back, they'd come to the point where they'd refuse to put anything else on your tab! What happens when everybody realizes they're never going to get paid back? Wait, maybe they already have. That might explain why the dollar is losing value faster than the government can say, "Here's 700 billion dollars!"

I've been thinking about this a lot lately and something occurred to me. I remember hearing a lot about WWII, and how everyone in the country was expected to sacrifice to help fund the war and keep supplies going to the troops. Here's a good article I found that talks about it. Sugar rationing, recycling, scrap drives, etc. were some of the means the government used to fund the war. Here's a quote from the article: "While life during the war meant daily sacrifice, few complained because they knew it was the men and women in uniform who were making the greater sacrifice."

Now, fast-forward to the war on terror. What have we been called on to sacrifice in order to support our troops in the middle east? How have the American people banded together to make sure they have the supplies they need? Oh, that's right. We don't have to sacrifice anything because the government just uses its big, giant credit card with no credit limit on it to pay for the war so we don't have to sacrifice anything. In fact, they've been cutting taxes to help stimulate the economy. What financial adviser would tell you to cut your income and increase your spending at the same time? It makes absolutely no economic sense whatsoever.

When the economy slows down, the government goes to great lengths to stimulate it. Lower taxes! Lower interest rates! They want the American people to spend money, so that there will be more revenue, jobs will be created, the government will collect more taxes. When people slow down on their spending, the government "stimulates the economy" again. We've got to get those Americans to buy more stuff! Let's lower the interest rates and get them buying more houses and cars and boats... And here we are, with tons of people foreclosing on their houses because they spent more than they could afford. Maybe the whole "get people to spend as much money as we possibly can" mentality is part of the problem.

There's this whole idea that if you cut taxes to stimulate the economy, then businesses will make more money, there will be more jobs, people will make more money and spend more money, and in the end, the government will get more taxes because of all this. Does it work??? That would be a big no. Just look at the rate at which the debt is rising for the answer to that question.

Here is a pretty cool article about who and what caused the economic crisis we're in right now. I'd recommend scrolling down to the bottom of the page. There's a little section called "The Real Deal" that lists the problems that led up to this mess and I found it interesting. I certainly don't know what the answers are, but I'm pretty sure of what they aren't. And if I hear another politician telling me we need to go into debt to "stimulate the economy," I'm going to lose my lunch.

As far as what we can do as citizens to help our own financial situations, and in turn help America, I wanted to recommend a book I read a few years ago - Debt-Free on Any Income. It has a debt-payoff system that accelerates over time to help you pay off all your debt, including your house, in a very short time (we're talking, 10 years short). The thing I really loved about it is it comes with a CD-ROM you put in your computer and it helps you track all your debt payoff, income, spending, etc.

So, there you have it. This is my $.02 worth. Although I think I deserve more than $.02 when the government can throw around $700,000,000,000! :D


  1. I agree with you whole-heartedly. I don't know much about the economy, but I did see a news program the other night talking about how the members of congress were attaching a lot of other funding for things not related to the bailout in an attempt to sway others to vote yes. So apparently there are millions tacked on for NASCAR, along with a lot of other money for funding of programs that some congressmen have wanted for a long time. I think that's downright thievery and just wrong, wrong, wrong. And it makes me mad.

  2. Loved your post! What a mess we're in. I wish the government would've used Dave Ramsey's plan. You should check him out on the web and his books, they are genius as far as living within your means and getting/staying out of debt.

  3. Dave Ramsey is the way to go! We have simply GOT to learn how to live off of what we make. While I don't blame the government for the place we are, it certainly played a part in so many people living this level of irresponsibility. Like Dr. Phil says, it's an eat what you kill world. We need to gt back to that.

  4. I'm a lurker, but this post was so "spot on" that I had to come out of lurking to tell you. While I agreed with you about pretty much everything, the part about our entitled generation was especially true - the whole mentality that "we deserve it all right now" has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. I'm actually scared for our country - I think things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

  5. I totally agree with you Jennifer. I hadn't thought of the WWII angle and I think,should we have been asked to contribute in some way to this war, things would be better on so many different accounts.

    Not only would we not be racking up huge bills with who-knows-what kind of interest rates (because our debt is mainly to CHINA of all places! Hello???) but we would be banding together with a real sense of solidarity.

    I really like that point you brought up. Thank you for that. Well, it kind of stinks because there's nothing I can do about it but ... it feels good to know that WE know how it could be done better!

  6. AMEN!! Our generation has this whole "buy now pay later" mentality. I saw it all the time when Kevin and I were newlyweds and in the young married student ward. Here people were, going to college, barely making any money,having babies (on purpose) on Medicare, yet they were trying to live like their parents - driving nice cars, with apatments furnished like a Pottery Barn catalog. I know people who are getting government assistance with food even though they have new cars, cable, and other money- wasting things. I agree with Christie - I'm worried for our country too. I guess it'll take a rude awakening for some people. Anyway, long comment, but I think you just nailed this. Plus, I have to say, isn't a deficit with 11 zeroes so scary looking?!

    One other note: to all in the second Congressional district in Utah, you should re-elect Jim Matheson because he broke from his party and voted against both bailout bills. Just had to plug that.

  7. Hey Jen - Loved your post! I agree that our country is way too worldly and needs to learn to live off of what we make. I contacted both my senators and asked them to vote against the economic stimulus. It was just way to much money with not a good enough plan. They actually did vote against it, but it still passed. Darn. Each of the senators emailed me back to tell me what they were going to do to help be sure the money is used appropriately. We'll see how that pans out.

    I've recently been checking into Dave Ramsey. I also really like PowerPay.com It's free and through Utah State (I think). You can put in all your debts & create a roll-over plan to pay them all off. It shows you how long it will take, too. Very cool.


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