Sunday, September 28, 2008
This photograph was taken in Oregon, near Grants Pass, in 1939. The woman works as a hops picker, and is purchasing supplies at the "Company Store". On the morning the photograph was taken, the woman made 42 cents. She spends the earnings at the store, and buys one pound of bologna, a package of cigarettes and a small pastry. I worry we have forgotten just how tough things were back in the Great Depression.
It looks like we have made it through another week without a complete collapse of our financial institutions. Even with this, I saw that another one of the largest banks, Washington Mutual, went under. From news reports, I wonder if Wachovia will make it through this upcoming week or if it will be the next bank to fail.
After a lot of consideration, I have actually decided that I am against the bailout plan that they are trying to push through. I fully realize that the $700 Billion bailout is needed in order to avoid a financial meltdown, but as I see it, it just pushes out the inevitable. The whole problem has been too much money. Executives who do a poor job getting tens of millions of dollars per year in compensation. People who can not afford a home being given "Jumbo" loans, and purchasing homes well beyond what they can afford. People who should be saving continuing to borrow money against the appreciating value of their home in order to fuel an excessive lifestyle. We got into this mess because of greed, excess money, and excess credit. The last thing we need to do is to throw more money into the system to try and keep fundamentally bad behavior going. What we need to do is to all spend less, give more, and save more. A financial meltdown could encourage all of us to live more financially responsibly.
Folks, we need to spend less. Here are some simple points for your consideration.
1) As a child, Abraham Lincoln was not in the Youth Soccer Program, and his mother did not have a big SUV. He turned out OK, and in fact accomplished a great deal.
2) As a child, Teddy Roosevelt did not have a cell phone. He did OK as well.
3) When Martin Luther King was a boy, he did not have Cable TV in the home. This did not slow him down at all.
4) I am pretty sure that George Patton did not have an Xbox 360 as a boy.
5) Charles Dickens grew up in a home that did not have a 60 inch plasma TV.
6) Booker T. Washington never had an iPhone.
7) When Neil Armstrong became a Junior in High School, his parents did not buy him a new Ford Mustang.
8) Sam Houston never played golf.
9) Jim Thorpe never wore a pair of Nike shoes.
10) Clara Barton never paid for a manicure.
Folks we are spending too much money on things that don't matter. It is time to tighten our belts, and refocus on the things that do matter . . . faith, family, and friends.