Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Consumerism vs. Sufficiency

Advice from Rush Limbaugh about finance and economics is like advice from Hugh Hefner about dating, especially now that Limbaugh has a network deal that will pay him $400 million over the next few years. To put it mildly, he’s not hurting one damn bit, but that doesn’t keep him from trying to identify with his listeners when it comes to hard times. For those who don’t know, Rush is on board with the Republicans, pushing tax cuts as a way to save the nation from another depression.

I, myself, have absolutely no expertise in finance, economics, or business, but I am an expert on frugality. You often see those bumper stickers on ancient VW minibuses or old Volvos— they say, “Simplify,” and while I don’t display such a bumper sticker, I do support the sentiment wholeheartedly. I have my own opinion about the depression based only on what I see and read. I believe that it will get very bad and stay very bad for a very long time, and I believe that most people in government share this view but are prevented by political considerations from ever saying what they actually know in their hearts. The Democrats will get their massive spending, and the Republicans will be denied the pork reductions and bigger tax cuts which they want, and none of this will work the way it’s intended because the thing is so overwhelming that it’s like trying to shoot a housefly with a gun from 50 feet away. It doesn’t matter if you decide between using a rifle or a shotgun.

The people who survived the 1930s, and that includes the 75% who DIDN’T ever lose their jobs, were never able to part with hard-earned money as easily as the generations that came after them. I believe that as we go forward from this current depression, all of us will become experts on sufficiency, and less concerned with consumerism. That probably doesn’t apply to Rush Limbaugh, however.

No comments: