Frugality for all

If someone wanted to learn how to handle money responsibly,
to whom should he or she go? The obvious answer is someone who understands
frugality, budgeting and some level of self-control. Maybe that expert messed
up earlier in life, but later learned his or her lessons well enough to help
others avoid, or grow beyond, mistakes.

One type of person who should not be sought out for advice
is one who continually fails to see the error of his or her ways, but that may
be just what is happening. It seems the government, the U.S. government, whose
debt is in the trillions of dollars, is ready to spend millions to teach
Americans how to handle their money responsibly.

According to, the money for the program comes
in the $849 billion health care bill. That bill sets aside $375 million to
promote responsible lifestyles that includes financial literacy.

Consider the words of U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, who
Politico quotes as saying: “The federal government is never going to encourage personal
responsibility and never has. Personal responsibility is a good principle – but
not the government doing it.”

Both critics and proponents of government spending have, for
generations, spoken out against fraud and waste in government, but even the
most ardent advocate must see the hypocrisy in having a government with a
$12-trillion debt tell people how to live within a budget.

Politico also quotes U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla, as saying “The
federal government, which is now $12 trillion in debt and riddled with hundreds
of billions dollars of waste, management, duplication and ineffective programs,
has little credibility educating Americans about financial responsibility.”

No one is denying that financial illiteracy is a problem, but members of
Congress, both in the House and the Senate, need to look in a mirror when they
talk about such things. Yet adding insult to injury is a story posted on USA
Today saying that six-figure incomes are growing for government employees.

USA Today analyzed federal salary data and learned that the percentage
of federal employees making $100,000 per year or more jumped from 14 percent to
19 percent during the first 18 months of the recession. And that’s before
calculating overtime pay.

‘Federal workers are
enjoying an extraordinary boom time — in pay and hiring — during a recession
that has cost 7.3 million jobs in the private sector,” wrote reporter Dennis Cauchon.

Also, according to Cauchon,
already highly paid federal employees are doing better. He said Defense
Department civilian employees earning $150,000 or more increased from 1,868 in
December 2007 to 10,100 in June 2009. The same increases show up in other
agencies and departments.

Seems to be a factor in giving credence to the statement
“War is the health of the state.”

Financial responsibility is good for individuals and for the
government. Achieving 100 percent is no more than a pipe dream, but these two
reports show how out of whack the government is, and how ludicrous it is to
have the federal government cry crocodile tears over an individual’s economic

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