My wife and I went to Glacier National Park for our honeymoon exactly 13 years ago this next week. It was amazing. It was incredible. It was romantic. It was breath-taking. It was paid in full with a credit card.
I didn’t know any better. I just knew I wanted to take my bride on an adventurous getaway to one of the most majestic locales on the face of this now-there-are-tons-of-countries-threatening-to-go-bankrupt planet. And so I went all out. All out in debt that is.
Instead of going all out to save for our honeymoon the year prior, during which I made an ample amount of money, I went all out on the charge card. I could have at least saved enough that we could have driven three towns over and stayed in the honeymoon suite at the Super 8. But seriously, I actually could have saved enough to take her to Glacier, but instead I gave her the gift that keeps on taking – a $4000 debt on our wedding day!!!
And she loved me for it.
Ludicrous isn’t it?
Now you might say, “No, no, no. It is not ludicrous. You only get to honeymoon once. And you paid it back right?”
It is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. And the answer is yes. Within a year we had it paid off and have since tried to live credit-card and debt free (except for our mortgage).
Dave Ramsey would be so proud of us (we actually really dig Dave and his awesome co-worker Bill Hampton).
So why doesn’t this work for the US Government?
Simple. Because they don’t have a plan to quit spending what they don’t have while paying off what they borrowed.
We did. That’s why it worked. They don’t. That’s why the S&P today dropped the US’s credit rating from AAA to AA for the first time in history.
Come on guys in Washington. You are smart leaders. I am not going to be ugly and critical of you in this post. I am simply suggesting a very common sense plan, regardless of your political philosophy or party-line:
- commit to operate within the means of what you take in from taxes paid
- create a tax system that is simple and fair and easy and prosperous without crushing entrepreneurialism in the process
- make a plan to then actually operate with those means including a plan to pay off the debt with those funds in a reasonable amount of time, like 10 to 15 years
- pass a law that says any President or Congress or Senate that leads us to anything ever again above $10,287.62 of debt will be impeached
Some might say, “You are so naive Jason. That won’t work. The government is not your household budget.”
I get that. I assure you I do. But the government is also not outside the basic budgetary rules that every living human must abide by or face dire consequences if they do not. If I had not learned that it’s not good to spend what you don’t have just because you have credit available to use, then it most likely would have wrecked my marriage and family financially.
And so we are facing dire consequences – wreckage financially.
You might also say, “It’s not that simple Jase. What do you cut? It affects people you know!”
I get that. I have many friends in executive leadership roles who, over the last three years, have had to set difficult spending priorities that have forced some very hard cuts that have affected real and hurting people. They had the guts to do it, as hard as it was, some of them taking cuts and making personal sacrifices. And it’s time for our elected representatives at the local, state, and national level to have the guts to do the same, even if it costs them reelection.
Listen. This isn’t about being insensitive to anyone who needs help, and it’s certainly not about disliking President Obama. I honestly get frustrated with the “Christian Conservatives” who degrade as though some idiot lunatic.
Politicians need a lesson in unity. It’s not unanimity. That’s what makes the USA great. We can be unified even though we often disagree because the cause of living as we thought our Maker intended us to live as a free and united people is worth coming together for.
No, this is not a bash Pres. Obama or Pres. Bush or Pres. Clinton post.
But I would suggest that the move to allow the Federal Government to encourage / elbow in the back banks to lend for mortgages on homes to people who couldn’t afford them was a bad idea (which happened under Pres. Clinton). And I would suggest that cutting taxes without a plan for a balanced budget was a bad idea (which happened under Pres. Bush). And I would suggest that continuing to borrow and borrow and borrow and borrow without changing spending habits or creating pay-back intentions, which is happening under Pres. Obama, is a bad idea.
The government leaders need to take the 13-week Financial Peace University course from Dave Ramsey. Then there would be hope for a balanced budget one day.
And it would be hard. On all of us. Probably for a long time.
But it must be done.
Like Dave says, “You have to live today like no one else in order to one day live like no one else.”
Or something like that.
And we could all celebrate at Glacier National Park in 2025 and have a credit-card / $14-Trillion-Debt-is-gone-party!!! There’s a cafe there called Cafe Max with some amazing Tomato Bisque Soup that I would give anything to taste again. I bet Dave Ramsey would like it.
“If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, & are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand.” ~Dave Ramsey