Thursday, February 08, 2007

To invite in a new era of prosperity

The US is the richest nation in the world, yet Americans are some of the poorest in the world.


Yup, you read what I wrote correctly.  We make a ton of money.  We have a ton of stuff.  But generally we’re worthless.  It’s not even that we don’t have means, its just that our means are generally controlled by the bank.  So, the Bedouin who has no home and no money is actually wealthier than Jim Condo in Dallas with a quarter million dollars worth of stuff, but $300,000 in debt.  The one guy’s got nothing and owes nothing, the other guy’s got everything and owes even more.  The Bedouin is, by right of net worth, richer than Jim Condo.

To be fair ALL Americans don’t have negative net worth, but most of us have a net worth that is merely a fraction of our annual income and would throw a party if there was a comma included in the figure.

(Net worth is figured by adding up all you own AT THE PRICE IT CAN BE SOLD and subtracting all you owe.  That car that’s worth $5,000 and you owe $10,000 on adds negative $5,000 to your net worth.  Add the bank account, investments, house, etcetera and subtract the credit card(s), student loan(s), mortgage(s), etcetera and you’ve got your net worth.)

The problem for most people is that a good portion of our income is tied up either paying interest or minimum payments on stuff we don’t really need.  Sure, we spend a good chunk on food, but most of us don’t really own anyTHINGs, just a bunch of stuff that we can maybe sell for $5 in a garage sale. 

We have stuff.  Not assets.

So, to invite a new era of prosperity to America I challenge any of the wannabe Presidents to consider the following:

Should any citizen of the United States of America (and his/her corresponding spouse) agree to take a financial counseling class that stresses the value of staying out of debt, and is willing to sign a pledge to never take another usury loan out again on penalty of imprisonment (that would be anything with a stated or implied interest rate), then the Federal Government will extend a grant to pay off every penny of every debt owed by said citizen as of the end of the last fiscal year.

That means no more borrowed cars.  No more borrowed houses.  No more borrowed stereos.  No more borrowed big macs.  No more borrowed 6 packs of beer.  No more borrowed gum.  No more borrowed vacations.

In return, a check for the full amount of your mastercard, visa, discover card, mortgage note, second mortgage, home improvement line of credit, GMAC note, student loan, other student loan, other student loan, other car note, at the balance owed on December 31 of the year past (that way you don’t run up bills now to get the feds to pay them off, besides if you’re doing that you’re not really going to be breaking the habit anyway).

The net effect will be your chief wealth building device will suddenly be free of any encumberances and instead of blind consumption you’re going to be forced to actually purchase things and spend money.  So, rather than just buying stuff you’re actually going to be forced to spend money.  Instead of accumulating piles of crap, you’re going to be forced to consider the value of what you’re buying making you more likely to accumulate piles of wealth.  People with “rainy day” funds don’t need government assistance.  People with “emergency funds” don’t need debt.  People who build wealth are suddenly free and are no longer indebted to … well, anyone.


So come on, you sissy little wannabee presidents.  Who’s man enough to offer a check to people willing to break the habit?


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