My husband and I have been in a bit of a funk lately. Like many others, I was laid off from my corporate, college-degree-justifying job back in January and have been trying to figure out what the road ahead should look like ever since.
I know that my story is not unique, and I don’t say this in some misguided quest for sympathy. Most of us have had to make adjustments to living in a time of recession. Some more than others.
For my family, this means eating at home, clipping grocery store coupons and keeping a close eye on our budget–all things we did very little of before. We don’t shop for superfluous extras like unnecessary clothes or gadgets, and we’re much more likely to be camping or relaxing at home on the weekend instead of taking an expensive get-away.
In all honesty, I’ve learned to appreciate this new perspective. It makes me grateful for the rare times that we do “go out” and more careful of our possessions. I’m more likely to bypass unnecessary luxuries and recognize that my life is full and wonderful despite the lack of professional pedicures and designer purses.
Countless Americans are in the same position. Learning to do with less, remembering how to save money and control their consuming impulses.
So here’s my question. Why, when we’re pinching pennies and clipping coupons, is our government not following suit?
Oh, I know the answers about how health care reform will cut costs. I know that we’re supposed to be stimulating the economy with the stimulus bill and resuscitating the car industry with Cash for Clunkers. But is that what is actually happening?
When you found yourself in this new economy, perhaps with a shaky future, did you run out for a shopping spree to make yourself feel better? Most of us probably didn’t even stop at a Starbucks for a four-dollar latte, but kept on driving, thinking we can make coffee for a fraction of the cost at home. Suddenly our savings accounts and spending habits need review, and we are willing to make sacrifices for the good of our futures.
The disturbing thing is that even though we are doing all we can to save and get through this, our country may be in even deeper trouble, because of overwhelming debt and spending. Take a moment to look at this website: http://usdebtclock.org/.
It’s mind-boggling, the amount of money that we are hemmoraging as a nation, and instituting more government programs will only make the problem worse. Right now, the estimated Medicare fraud is at just over $39 trillion dollars. If fraud is this out-of-control with a relatively small program, how can we hope to keep it in check with a larger health care overhaul?
Besides health care, the Waxman-Markey climate change bill passed a few months ago has been largely ignored by an overwhelmed American people. We’re busy saving money and worrying about our jobs and families, so ill-conceived, economy-draining bills get shoved through Congress. The president himself admitted that under cap and trade “energy prices would necessarily skyrocket.” Is this what we need right now?
Contrary to what you may think, I’m not writing this as an upset, vindictive Republican. I’m well aware that many of these mistakes were begun during Bush’s tenure.
However, I’ve realized the value of saving money and looking to the future in the last six months. I’ve seen how fiscal responsibility is important in my own life, and I’m wondering what makes it so different on a national scale. I know that I include a lot of links in my blogs, but take a moment to click on them, and make up your own mind.
Personally, I think we need to approach government spending similar to that of our private lives, as I shared in the beginning of this post. Even though we are in a recession, we have inherited great wealth as Americans and have been able to do plenty of good with it. Now, let us be careful with how we proceed toward the future. Proverbs 21:20 says: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Many of these recent bills and ideas in government have been pushed through quickly, and I think it’s important that we slow down and strive to be wise and diligent in our resources. As Proverbs 21:5 says: “The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty.”