Saturday, October 30, 2010

Live Small: THRIFT is dead, thanks to the usual suspects

According to ‘The Decline of Thrift in America’ by David Tucker, the Depression invited economists to recast thrift as “the contemptible vice which threw sand in the gears of our consumer society.”

THRIFT. Rest in peace, say some economists.

The book went on to reveal that a White House report in 1931 "urged parents to let children pick out their own clothes and furniture, thereby... teaching him that his personality can be expressed through things."

THRIFT. RIP, say some politicians.

Nancy Gibbs, in a two-year-old essay wrote, “Thrift is one virtue he (US President G.W. Bush) never invokes, and a restoration of restraint is a strain of conservatism he seldom promotes.”

“In fact, it was after the most tragic day in modern U.S. history, when Bush urged people who wanted to help to “go shopping,” that profligacy officially replaced prudence as a patriotic duty.” (Time Magazine, Oct. 2008)

Did not Prime Minister Harper give similar advice to Canadians at the height of the most recent recession?

According to an article entitled ‘Economic Crisis Slams Canada’, “As the financial decline broke over Canada that month (September 2008), Harper famously declared that it would be a good time to invest in the stock market. By November, Canada's largest stock index had declined 44%. In March 2009, it still stands 39% lower.” (by Roger Annis, March 29, 2009)

THRIFT. RIP, say US and Canadian leaders.

In the aforementioned essay by Nancy Gibbs I read that “Americans once saved about 15% of their income. By the roaring 1980s the rate was 4%; now the numbers are negative... the average American has nine credit cards with a total $17,000 balance.”

Whereas some early banks declared thriftiness a virtue, many today provide easy credit at the drop of a hat.

And consumers fall for it, abuse it, demand it, and blow it without looking back.

THRIFT. RIP, say some banks and reckless consumers.

In my opinion, the line up of ‘usual suspects’ must also include many large corporations.

More to follow.


Would you consider yourself a reckless spender or one of the usual suspects?

Do you know the cure?

Reduce spending. Pay down debt. Save money for tough times ahead.





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