My Italian father-in-law and I used to argue over cultural and political differences between Italy and the U.S. He would issue a charge, I would deny it, and a debate would inevitably ensue. In one of our early debates, he warned me: “your economy (the U.S. economy) will collapse once its debtors begin calling in their chips.” We overuse credit cards, spend more than we can afford and consider ‘budget’ a dirty word, he would always say.
If this credit crisis has taught me anything, it has showed me that his assessment was pretty accurate. The saddest part isn’t his vindication or that I have to admit, once again, he was right… It’s that we haven’t learned. Just this weekend, while watching an Italian soccer match, an advertisement flashed across the bottom of the screen:
Your country needs you. Help the economy and spend your government stimulus. Check out cool gear at Foxsoccershop.com
Appealing to the patriotism of Americans by encouraging them to spend their government checks is appalling. Most of the blame, however, belongs to the President and politicians who, by their actions, have continued to promote our irresponsibility by implying that the best action we can take, to recover from this credit crisis, is to spend more. Isn’t that what brought us recession and foreclosures? Shouldn’t they be promoting saving, conservation and paying off our debts? If they need to give a economy a boost, why not cut the corporate tax rate? How about addressing the affordability of healthcare, the ballooning price of oil as it relates to a pathetically weak dollar and the out-of-control federal spending that has created the dollar crisis?
Why do we, as Americans, need to act irresponsibly to cure what Washington has created? Me, I’ll be banking my stimulus check to start a trend, a trend I hope other Americans continue. Spend only what you can afford and save for that rainy day you know is coming.