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Why I Think America Is Very Weak Right Now

18 November 2009 No Comment

I’m a 20-something with a baby.  I want a strong and safe country for my children.  I say this so that you don’t think I’m criticizing America for some stupid idea of worldly appeasement.  After doing much research and giving much thought to this, I’m going to lay out a case for why I think America is very weak right now.  The purpose of this is to identify reality and hope that others see the same so that Americans can change the course that we’re currently on.  With that said, let’s get into it..

We Are America

Well, of course we are America.  No, you don’t understand.  America is us and only us.  There is no other way to put it.  Yes, we have a government, and some people think that is America.  It’s not.  Government has nothing (anything it gives, it takes from somewhere else).  This must be clearly understood.

The people of this country are what make it up and what it strong (or weak).  The wealth of our country or the level of prosperity of our country is simply the wealth or prosperity of the people.

The State Of The People

Sadly, Americans as a whole are in terrible shape.  While I’m going to focus on the financial state of the people, you could make similar arguments for moral, spiritual, emotional states, physical as well.  But, that is for another day.  Let’s look at the financial state in particular.

Tune into Dave Ramsey‘s radio show and you will get a good glimpse of what regular people are going through.  It is absolutely incredible how many people are such a deep financial hole that I don’t see how in the world they can ever get out of it.  I mean you can’t listen for 15 minutes without hearing about someone who is $100,000 in debt, without a job, with 3 kids, and without a skill set that makes them attractive for employment, especially any high paying employment.  It’s really sad and depressing, yet this is what America is as a whole.

Yes, there are segments of society that have been frugal and responsible, saving instead of opting for the bigger house, working hard instead of looking to others to support them.  But, these people are the minority, and they are also the ones being punished because all policies that bailout or extends benefits to those who were not as responsible first take those funds (or make them worth less through inflation) from the people who have it – remember, government has nothing.

And then, there is the segment of society that benefits from being members of the elite.  These are the Goldman Sachs employees or the government elites that enact inflationary policies that rob from the poor and benefit the rich and powerful.

Other than those two small segments, the rest of America is fighting against financial destruction, and frankly, we’re losing the fight.

Bondage

Americans have overwhelmingly chosen to be slaves to debt and consumption.  They’ve been encouraged by a government that views easy monetary policy and high debt levels to do so, and Americans have overwhelmingly agreed to go for the ride.  The result has been nothing short of an absolute disaster.

The pain that you hear in the voices of those calling Dave Ramsey looking for some nugget of wisdom that will change everything in their lives is real.  The problem is, there is no easy way out.  Dave Ramsey’s advice is pretty basic (only in America can you make millions by providing advice that is basic, common sense): cut your expenses and get out of debt, after that, save money and lots of it.

We have the opportunity to enjoy real financial freedom.  It might mean a less flashly lifestyle, but guess what, the people who have been “partying” for years are going to have to accept a lower standard of living anyways, and they have tens of thousands of dollars in debt to go along with it.  Freedom is incredibly underrated.  Imagine being independent.  Independent from debt, potentially even from an employer.

Real Financial Independence

Financial independence has nothing to do with how much crap you can buy.  It has everything to do with being self sustaining and financially healthy.  You have money to fund a lifestyle that you enjoy and makes you happy.  And you can afford that lifestyle indefinitely.  The marks of financial freedom are frugality, savings, and cash flowing assets.  The opposites of financial freedom are excessive spending and liabilities.

The Path I Hope America Finds

I hope that people realize that path to real financial independence.  Independence means not being dependent on government and not being a slave to debt.  America is not currently wealthy despite the illusions of it.  America is broke and on the edge of real crisis.  Unfortunately, there will be some serious headwinds as we fight to find the path: government intervention, dangerously smooth political rhetoric, high inflation and higher costs of living, a terribly weak economy even if the Dow is over 10k.  When people need assistance the most from economic circumstances, they will get none.  We are on our own and it won’t be easy.

20-somethings have an opportunity to pursue this financial path immediately.  Sure, you may have some student loans and some credit card debt, but you’re young and have the flexibility to significantly alter your lifestyle and make real financial freedom happen.  Just don’t wait too long and don’t dig yourself too big a hole.  Otherwise, you will find yourself like the 40-something calling into Dave Ramsey desperate and nowhere to turn.

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