Obviously, one of the biggest things in the news and in Washington, D.C. these days is what the government is going to do about the economy. There has been a great deal of bantering back and fourth between both Democrats and Republicans regarding this issue. Both parties have their own separate, and seemingly divisive, ideas on how to bring about positive change.
To my mind, both parties have some good ideas and some bad ideas. However, although economies of these scale are not exactly simply larger versions of the economy of any given single family, I do think there are inherently some similarities. Therefore, there are a couple of topics of interest to me that I do not see very close to the forefront of the current plans, as I’ve heard them thus far.
For one thing, I have heard discussions about how this spending plan, and its ensuing debt load, may affect our children and our grandchildren. There is, of course, talk about what this does to the national debt. While this debt is being considered insofar as how it will be impacted by the currently formulated plans, I believe it’s being addressed from the wrong perspective.
At the family level, if there is a large debt-load, the family must, if they wish to relieve the debt, make great sacrifices and cut a great deal of spending. Sometimes, this means that they have to cut out things that fall into that grey area between “want” and “need.” These sacrifices are often difficult and even discouraging. They have, in some cases, even led to divorce!
However, if we can stay the course as a family to make these sacrifices and work our way out of debt, I believe our government can do the same thing. This means that Americans will have to make some sacrifices and will have to step up to address the debt load. After all, what could we as a country do with the amount of money we pay annually on national debt (plus interest) if we were able to keep that money within our own borders and use it for things like our infrastructure, our schools, our healthcare, etc.?
The other thing I notice about this plan is the educational aspect. Sure, they’re talking about making schools more energy efficient to lower their operating costs. Yes, they’re talking about providing new equipment and better teaching materials. And that’s all good. But, are they investing in teaching our next generation about money? Are we implementing plans so that our children can better learn how economies work and how money works?
As it is, if we give tax cuts to the average Joe so he has more money in his pocket, where do you suppose that money is going to end up? In fairly short order, it’s still going to end up in the pockets of the people running the big businesses. Because Average Joe is going to take that money and buy something with it. A very small portion of that money will be distributed amongst the employees (other “average Joes and Janes) of the big company. But larger portions are going toward the top brass.
In the end, the rich are still going to get richer. It’s just how capitalism is designed.
But, what if we teach our children more about how money works? What if we teach them more about the dangers of debt? About the dangers of instant gratification? Yes, these things are supposed to be taught by parents, first and foremost. Unfortunately, most parents right now don’t know this, either. How do you think we got into this mess in the first place?
Ultimately, this responsibility is the parents’. However, since they can’t teach what they don’t know, perhaps a good place to start would be teaching financial responsibility within our educational system. I would expect that only a percentage of children going through this type of training will respond to it. But, with every generation, I believe more and more “next generations” will “get it.”
It’s a slow, long-term plan. You can’t turn a large ocean-liner on a dime. And you can’t turn around a multi-billion dollar economy around during one presidential term…even if that president serves two terms.
Certainly, this forum is not appropriate for discussing this in fine detail and there are many things to think about and take into consideration. All I’m doing is putting the idea on the table. This is by no means a “finished product.” But, it is an idea.
As an initial, rough draft, what do you think?