Tag Archives: money

If Saving is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Savings

If you try to save some of your money you must hate America.

OK, no one has actually come right out and said that yet, but that is basically how US fiscal policy works. The US economy is based on consumers spending, and the system is set up to punish anyone who tries to save their money instead.

Take this tax rebate thing their going to be sending out soon. You’re supposed to immediately take that money down to your local mall and spend it. If you put it in the bank, or use it to pay down debt (like a sensible person), you’re not stimulating the economy like you’re supposed to.

It’s not just a matter of the government hoping that people will spend instead of save, either. They actually punish savers. Ever listen to the news and hear some reference to “The Fed” lowering interest rates in order to stimulate the economy. What that is is a tax on savings. When interest rates go down debtors don’t have to pay as much, but savers don’t get as much return on their investment. What the Fed is basically doing when they lower interest rates like that is taking money away from people who are trying to save it and giving it to people who want to spend it.

(You will also sometimes hear about The Fed lowering interest rates “to combat inflation.” That’s because lowering interest rates, and making more money available for people to borrow, is inflation, and every now and then it’s necessary to give the appearance of doing something about that.)

I don’t really know why the US Government wants its people to keep spending and go deeper into debt, but I can speculate. It probably never occurs to them that the economic well-being of individuals and families matters. Families just have mortgage and car payments, groceries to buy, and college tuitions to pay for, after all. They don’t have ticker symbols and trade on Wall Street.

Ordinary people, in other words, only matter in-so-far as they affect those stock prices, by giving their money to some company or other (or — horror! — not doing so). Perhaps I’m being overly cynical, but try listening to any day’s financial news, then tell me I’m being too cynical.

Of course, if you want to have money to send your kids to college, or to retire on, you have to save anyway. Just be aware that everyone’s hand is against you. You are, in your quiet way, an enemy of the state.

Be proud.

Happy Thanksgiving

A few weeks ago, I had to make a brief stop at a client’s office on the weekend. Nathaniel and I were going to go on adventures that day, so I brought him along. He likes going to the office he calls ‘the snacky place.’ I took care of what work I needed to do while he had some cookies in the break room, and we were getting ready to go when he asked me, “What’s that?”

‘That’ was a food-bank box, with a few cans rolling around forlornly in it. I considered for a moment how to explain this to a three-year-old, then said, “There are some families out there who don’t have enough food to feed their little boys and girls, so other people give food to help them out.”

Then I thought about what I’d said, while Nathaniel stared at the box and munched on a mini fudge graham, and said, “You know, daddy complains a lot sometimes, but I guess we don’t have it so bad. Whatever else, we always have food in the house and never have to wonder where our next meal is going to come from.”

Then I tousled my little boy’s hair and said, “Let’s go have some adventures, little guy.”

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Be thankful for what you have, and not just on one day each year.