I’ve mentioned before that at our house, when I was growing up, we sometimes were admonished with quotes from The Bible that were actually from Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac.” One such example may be this: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”
Wherever it came from, it is stunningly good advice. Not buying something until you have the money for it provides delayed gratification, and a deeper appreciation for what we have. Not loaning to friends and family helps keep relationships good.
Of course, few people have the resources to buy a home or a car without borrowing money. But, it’s true too that many people buy as nice a home or car as they can, based on the maximum amount the lender will let them borrow. That puts a lot of pressure on a family.
Our national family borrows a lot of money. I looked at http://www.usdebtclock.org/ today to see how we’re doing in the borrowing department as a country. Frankly, it’s not looking very good.
Keep in mind that the numbers fly by pretty fast, and change every second, but here are some I picked out for your reading pleasure:
US National Debt: $18,385,961,800,000. That’s 18 trillion dollars, and growing every second.
US Debt Per Citizen:
US Debt Per Taxpayer:
Total Personal Debt:
Personal Debt Per Citizen:
Unfunded Liabilities Per Taxpayer:
Unfunded liabilities are the money we’re going to have to spend on Social Security and other entitlements at some point, but which we don’t have.
As a frame of reference, the total net worth of the top 400 billionaires in the entire world is only $4.1 trillion. Taxing the rich is a nice slogan, but they don’t have enough money to bail us out of the mess we’re in. Not even if we take everything they have from all the rich people in the world.
So, what do we do? Well, we can cut back on our personal debt to bring some peace of mind.
For the national debt problems, when politicians talk about all the things they’re going to do for us – at least those things that involve money – keep in mind that we are really, really broke.
Eventually there will be a reckoning, for us, for our children, and our grandchildren. The lenders will be unwilling to lend us more, or if they do, it will be at very high rates, and cost us even more.
Unfortunately, talking about these budget issues is very risky for politicians, because nobody wants to give up anything we get from Uncle Sam.
Maybe, just maybe, it is time for us to ask what we can do for our country instead of asking what more our country can do for us.