Expressions to Heed

Burning the candle at both ends means one is overextending one’s self or being overwhelmed from two directions at once.   We seem to have that problem now with our economy.  On the one end we are facing the problem of credit.  We have as individuals and as a Nation relied on it too much for our own good.   Prudent use and application of credit for personal and business reasons is a sound use of future earnings and potential and a way to acquire and accumulate wealth.  The classic example is buying a house and keeping it for many years.  Over the long haul it will appreciate and an affordable mortgage is worth it.  Running up credit card debts into the thousands of dollars for disposables is not a wise use of credit and will negatively impact the ability to amass future wealth.  Instant gratification is fun for a few minutes but certainly not the way to plan a budget or build wealth.   On the other end of the candle we are not saving enough.   Too many of us have virtually no savings at all.   Change and unexpected events do occur and we should plan for them with savings.  After all you don’t expect a fire but you do have a fire department.   Further, those savings are used for capital investments.  When you save those funds are used by the bank or brokerage firm to make loans that fund new companies creating jobs and opportunities for others and also for you even though indirectly.   Remember money is never stagnant.  It moves.  Money in your money market is not sitting still it is at work.  Unless you literally take your money in cash and hide it under the mattress it is always on the move.   Historically, a subtantial portion of our savings has come from the little people’s money; and that money is in turn  being used to build our national economy.  Our Government has no savings.  It hasn’t for years.  The so-called Trust Fund for Social Security is not a trust fund at all.  That is a myth.  If it were a real trust fund the trustees would be prosecuted for fraud for cooking the books!   The Government quit saving decades ago and now merely prints more money when it is short.   Yeah, I know about the Treasure Bills etc. but the reality is that it prints money.  It doesn’t have a store of value to draw upon.

Another darn good reason to have savings and a balanced budget is Murphy’s Law.  You know if something can go wrong it will sooner or later.  If subprime loans can be a problem they will eventually won’t they.   The warnings went unheeded by those in Congress for too long.  A little forethought goes a long way when making economic plans and making Federal laws.   They will say they had good intentions because they wanted more marginal credit risky Americans to own a home.  We all know that those good intentions are the paving stones to Hell.  And no good deed goes unpunished as some wise man opined long ago.

Making a virtue of necessity is something that the politicians are very good at doing.   They come up with their plans and schemes but sometimes when faced with real world circumstances they will adopt a contrary position and sing its praises as though it were their own.   Of course it can also be said that necessity is the Mother of invention.  When faced with really hard facts we humans can suddenly become quite creative.  With our current economic woes you can be sure that proposals bandied about now by the politicians will be reversed or quashed entirely and they will act like the new direction is the greatest thing since sliced bread.   Naturally the new direction will be clothed to make it appear like something similar to their original idea even though it is not.  The original promise will be “delayed” or “improved”.   If you can deal with it, it is quite humorous to see those folks making  a virtue of necessity.  The dips and wiggles they make with the King’s English are often breathless in their obfuscation.

Lastly for today’s lesson we offer that old standby–Robbing Peter to pay Paul.  It means doing harm to one to allegedly do good for another.  Or to put it another way to  take from some for an announced purpose but then using those proceeds for another purpose.   That seems to be the order of the day for some politicians.    I remind you that Robin Hood was a myth.   He was in fact was a brigand, murderer and thief.  He definitely did harm to some then doled out only a portion of his ill gotten gains to his chosen “special  interest group” and it actually only hurt one group and didn’t ultimately help anyone else but his band of merry men (government).

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