Sunday, November 01, 2009

I Ain't a Baby Anymore!

Look, I realize that my generation got their immature nickname even before most of us were born. It was appropriate at first, but, given the grey hair (if any is left), the fact that the oldest of us are on Social Security, and the children and grandchildren we've brought into this world, can you cut us a break and drop that disparaging name?

I'm referring, of course, to the phrase, Baby Boomer.

While you're at it, stop thinking of us as monolithic in our thinking. Sure, some of us are ex-hippies and current liberal Obama-backers, but many of us are not. Some are still spending their money as though Mumsy and Daddums will bail them out of a jam, but some of us were more provident - we even saved for a rainy day.

And, boy, is it raining now! The Washington Spendthrifts (what a great name that would make for a professional sports team) are doing their best to make sure that those who are economic illiterates (and who blew through every one of their own dimes like they were in Vegas) don't suffer the natural consequences of their colossal stupidity. They are pledging every American's future on people too stupid to realize that you can't live like a millionaire on a less-than middle-class paycheck. And too dim to see the handwriting on the wall - that is, when job after job with "good pay" is in jeopardy, it's no time to take on another debt.

I've seen these rubes for years. They've had a job for years, lived to the hilt on every paycheck, and never bothered to plan ahead for that day when the money faucet might dry up. Even when others at their company are being laid off, the concept of making a Plan B (sending out resumes, taking classes so, if the ax falls on them, they might have be more valuable to another employer, or simply cutting every expense to the bone) is incomprehensible. It's like talking Greek - they simply haven't a clue what you mean.

What do I mean about cutting expenses to the bone? Stop ANY expense that isn't absolutely necessary - the necessary are: shelter, electricity/gas/water, and transport. If you have any of those that are high-end, trade down. Sell the house (or at least work to set up a separate room to rent - you'd be amazed at how that helps), let the lease run out, and buy a clunker, and cut utilities expenses (insulate, turn off lights, install water savers, etc.). I'm willing to be flexible about ONE phone/cell, but cut that plan to the bone. Talk to your internet provider - they are hurting for money, too, so see if you can't make a deal for a reduction in cost (we just did, thanks to my DH). Get rid of cable, lawn care, entertainment expenses, eating out - they are all luxuries. If your kid is in private school, make a deal for them to work after school for part of the tuition - it's a great character builder.

Above all else, build up that savings plan, that is, AFTER you start slashing the credit bills. If you have to, visit a credit-counseling agency. Read about debt-reduction on the Internet, or at the library. You'll last a lot longer if you have no bills other than the necessities listed above.

So, what does that say about our government spending? They need to do the same. Yeah, the arts are important, but not when the government is about to go under for the third time. NEA - dump it. Cut out the government ad council crap. Public service ads, too. Every congressman and senator should be given 10% less for office expenses. The franking privilege (that's what pays for the mailings to constituents) - gone. Government cars - gone. Travel expenses - who needs to travel that much? They should have to justify not using teleconferencing.

Every agency should have their budget cut 20% - EXCEPT for defense. However, there should be a reduction to the armed services "staff" in Washington. Let the paper pushers get back into the field, and earn their money.

Let us notorious penny-pinchers get in there and do our thing with the budget.

And, most importantly, make them actually READ every new piece of legislation. If they can't understand it, and be able to explain it to the American people, don't vote on it. There is a vote you can add your name to, easy to do, right here, that asks Congress to do just that.

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