Thursday, July 24, 2008

Phil Graham Called Us Whiners... Was He Right?

by Guest blogger – Mrs. Frances Smith;
Louisiana Republican State Committee Member District 100

Senator Phil Graham, former adviser to Republican nominee John McCain's presidential campaign, recently called Americans "a nation of whiners?" Although he was sorely reproved for his comments... the question that begs to be answered: "Was he truthful"?

Without a doubt... the answer is a resounding: Yes! Absolutely. Now granted, Graham did not demonstrate much compassion in his expression. But it is high time truth is placed squarely in the public debate!

Today, Americans are faced with so much debt and inflationary costs, primarily because we have not demanded accountability from our political leaders. But, more so because many have not, and will not exercise fiscal discipline with our own household budgets.

Americans have been sucked into a "buy now pay later" mentality... and most of today's purchases are for unnecessary "junk and stuff". Unfortunately, when monthly bills become due, too many Americans are forced to delay payments... opting to pay those debts–– with additional late charges–– some time in the future.

Our spending habits have gone too far out of whack, and it is time we (as a nation) admit that our spending is out of control and get to work to get out of debt. Many of us are our own biggest problem–– having made 'bad' purchases, and continue indiscriminate buying... and actuated some ill-thought-out financial decisions in the past. The seriousness of today's fiscal situation calls for drastic measures to be taken which will lead to long-term solutions.

During a recent speech, I shared with the audience this fascinating perspective from noted writer, Eric Snow:

"...empires experience similar cultural developments. [And] Each stage helps lead to the next, as the values of the people change over time as influenced by military, political, religious, and economic developments". [The Life Cycles of Empires and America's Destiny; Snow]

The audience added education to that list.

So, let's put this into context. Senator Graham's comments, harsh as they may have seemed, was an accurate assessment of where we are right now today–– using the above referenced "developmental stages" model. It is time for the instant gratification generation, who want what they want... when they want it... regardless of if they can afford it... to stop whining and get a grip! If this generation does not begin immediately exercising discipline and individual responsibility in the area of personal finance... then what financial carnage will we leave to the next generation?

The government can only do so much. It is time for all of us to roll up our sleeves and sacrifice to knock down our individual and national debt, as the financial well being of all of of us, lies within exercising sound fiscal decisions by each of us!


Anonymous said...

Barbara P. - Toulouse, France:

I respectfully disagree. It was NOT individuals who were “sucked into” the buy now, pay later mentality. Rather, this mentality was pushed by a combo of corporate interests (e.g., credit card companies) AND indeed, Bush’s government (i.e., it’s not patriotic NOT to buy…). Finally, unnessary junk and stuff gets called for what it is—junk. This may challenge capitalism at its core, which is one reason why Bush and company, among others, have not sponsored vast campaigns to Save & buy recycled stuff (e.g., clothes) rather than spend spend spend. Also, the sub-prime mortgage disaster, which has hit poor people, particularly people of color, more than those with good credit, were responding to the so=-called American dream of home ownership. IF, however, we passed legislation that gave Renters write-downs, rather than owners, it would quickly change the nature of the dreams….


Anonymous said...

Robert R. - Jackson, MS:

This is good.
You can NOT go wrong focusing on the money with a good plan.

We should not have fears to focus on MONEY, to asking for MONEY, to demand the same amount of MONEY as others are compensated for what they do. We need to create and leave 500 companies for our next generation.

Anonymous said...

Marilyn T. - Columbus, OH

Ms. Berryhill. I do enjoy reading this Soul Voice blog site. You post some great stuff. This money piece was very informative. I will copy this and pass it around to all the youth in my Sunday School class!