Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

I ran across yet another article on spending a few days ago. Most of these articles discuss how spending is down, which is bad for the economy. This one stood out to me because it tells of the conflict in both sides of the spending story. As an individual, I want to earn more money than I spend and save a good chunk of the extra. Our national economy however would prefer that we all spend liberally. Spending causes more companies to need more goods. More goods require more people to manufacture them, ship them, and sell them. Of course one person spending money freely will not cause that much change. (Unless the person is Bill Gates!) The culture of spending however, creates jobs. That's why the new cultural shift towards saving is seen as a negative thing when looking at the nation's economy. What's good for the goose is not always good for the gander.

As I write this, the latest incarnation of the stimulus bill has just cleared the House, and will shortly be voted on by the Senate. The goal of this bill is to kick start the American economy, to offer people some relief from the tough economic times and create new jobs. The government of course plans to do this by spending more money, billions more. I find it a mystery how our government, which is already in debt trillions of dollars, plans to fund all of these stimulus efforts.

I am certainly not saying that the stimulus bill is a bad idea. I honestly don't know if it's a good idea or not. I can claim quite a bit of knowledge of personal finance, but very little about finance on a national level. It does seem apparent that the government needs to do something, and if this is the best they got, they might as well go for it.

On a personal level, I would love to see a government that led by example. As a person I need to have a balanced budget: at least as much money coming in, as is going out. That has almost never been the case for the United States. (Our debt was fully paid on January 8, 1835. It did not stay that way long.) It's hard for me to feel comforted about any financial decisions the government makes, when I know how reliant they are on debt. As a person I could not do that and prosper. Do we have any hope of really prospering as a nation under the same conditions? I don't know, but my instincts lean towards the negative answer. What I do know is that the government is certainly not setting an example that I want to follow.

Of course geeks are destined to rule the world sooner or later. I would just as soon that we not inherit this mess, but if we do, we're one group I'm sure can fix it! :)

1 Comment:

kayl said...

Excellent food for thought...

I have had some of the same thoughts. "How dare the government impose on us to not spend beyond our means, when that is seemingly all that they do, regardless of who is in office."

Go figure. But thank you.