We Are Our Own Worst Enemy
Today my friend sent me an article titled "We Have Met the Enemy" by Knight Kiplinger , the Editor in Chief of Kiplinger publications. It is a blunt article pointing out that America's current economic woes are caused by none other than the American people and its elected government.
Many of the American problems with fiscal irresponsibility Kiplinger pointed out are what we have been writing about at Wise Bread for years. For example, he states that Americans "mistake wants for needs", and that is a topic Sarah Winfrey addresed in her article on how to tell the difference between wants and needs . Kiplinger also talked about how Americans would demand that the government do something whenever things go wrong, but the government "would probably make matters worse". A prime example of this is the now passed housing bailout bill .
Beyond personal overconsumption, Kiplinger wrote about the excessive borrowing of the government. America is already a country that is operating on debt that has to be paid by many future generations. Ironically, the citizens still want lower taxes and also more services, and the government simply grows larger with each passing moment. Kiplinger pointed out that elected politicians who want to control spending are "as rare as the ivory-billed woodpecker". I think that means that the national debt will continue to grow as long as Americans continue to demand something out of nothing and politicians continue to fulfill promises with our descendants' money.
Finally, I agree wholeheartedly with Kiplinger's assertion that when something goes wrong, people naturally lay blame on others and do not evaluate their own actions. For America to remain globally competitive in the future Americans must step up to the plate and stop the downward spiral of debt starting from their own households to the highest echelons of government. Each individual does not have to change very much to make a big difference as a whole and secure the financial health of a nation.
What do you think? Are you your own worst enemy in managing your finances?