The American Way

Posted: January 9, 2009 in culture, economy, money, soap box

toilet-roll-of-moneyI’m having trouble understanding economics, bailouts, and the American way of life.  Actually, struggling might be a better way of putting.  I’m struggling with these concepts.  I’ve already written my thoughts on the auto bailout (against).  And I enjoyed getting our extra tax refund last year as much as anybody.  But I’m still struggling.

It seems as though Washington is hell bent on keeping The American Way of Life in tact.  I get this feeling that, unless Americans are relatively wealthy, able to freely spend money, and can all afford to buy homes that are bigger than they need, then somehow, as a nation, we are not fulfilling our historical destiny.  This ideal is starting to make me sick. 

Just 30-40 years ago, people HAD to live within their means.  Credit was an almost foreign concept.  20% down payments on cars or homes were the norm.  Buying only what you needed at the grocery to eat for that week was typical.  A 2000 square foot home was huge. 

Part of my struggle is that I’m envious of those who have money, and have little to worry about financially.  I have a nauseous desire sometimes to drive a bigger vehicle, to take great vacations twice a year, to eat out more frequently at places classier than Cracker Barrel, to see a $150.00 pair of sunglasses in the mall that would frame my mug perfectly, and just be able to get them.  These desires are also making me sick.  When I look at them in the right frame of mind, they even bring me to appreciate what I have and don’t have.  It helps to understand that there’s a reason I drive the cheapeast car Hyundai makes, a reason we still rent a small townhouse, a reason we’ve taken 1 real vacation in the last 5 years.  The main reason is because that’s what we can afford.  I made mistakes.  We made mistakes.  I struggled financially for a few years and built up a mound of credit card debt that we’re still chipping away at.  And as much as I’d like someone to come along and bail me out, I appreciate the lesson I’m learning in the struggle.

I just wish our country could appreciate the struggle a little more.  To understand that a capitalist market should not allow for bailouts.  To know that the sense of entitlement is becoming a curse.  To see The American Way of Life through lenses other than wealth and power.  And to realize the need for a change in the curve of our culture.

  1. hpx83 says:

    Your desire of a bigger vehicle, vacations twice a year, eating out more frequently and buying $150.00 sunglasses is what drives the economy. Capitalism grants you anything you want, but you have to work for it yourself. Nowadays people believe in the thesis of “something for nothing”. The government thinks value is created by printing dollars.

    Be proud of your ambitions, it is what keeps the world going. Wasn’t that the American Way of Life?

  2. I think we need a balance of discipline and desire. I read an article today with a simple concept: keep expenses low and revenues high.

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