America's Federal government's politicos are going through the same sort of reality check.
I'm not surprised at either situation: except maybe that it took this long to happen.
'Buying Things You Don't Need...'Back in the '60s, I was doing what many teenagers do. Most, I'm told. I was taking a long, hard, look at what my parents had told me; what they actually did; and doing the same for the culture I grew up in.
My folks were okay, and I still think there's a lot of good in American culture. On the other hand, there's the crazy notion of 'success' that was endemic: thinking you need to 'buy things you don't need, with money you don't have, to impress someone you don't like.'
That didn't make sense to me then, and it still doesn't.
Money's Okay: Worshiping it Isn'tAnother way of defining success is to find a way to serve other folks: one that will be rewarded in some way. In America, we call it 'earning a living,' and reward folks with money: same as most cultures that trade with each other these days.
There's nothing wrong with money, or having money. What matters is our attitude toward it, and what we do with what we have. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1723, 1928-1942, 2534-2550, and more)
The Great Depression, Common Sense, and All ThatMy parents remembered what's called the Great Depression. Some folks learned that banks weren't absolutely reliable - and spent the rest of their lives stuffing mattresses with currency. My parents learned that the unexpected happens, and
- Avoided debt
- Didn't waste
- Bought what they needed
- Not necessarily what they wanted
One of the advantages to the old-fashioned notion of 'living within your means' is that sometimes there's surplus at the end of the billing cycles. Also, it makes conventional charity a whole lot less painful - and more possible.
- "South Africa, Swaziland, Catholic Bishops, and Social Justice"
(July 7, 2011)
- "United States Federal Budget, Congress, and Getting a Grip"
(April 19, 2011)
- "Earth Day, Captain Planet, and Getting a Grip"
(April 11, 2011)
- "Success, Wealth, Poverty, and Getting a Grip"
(September 27, 2010)
- "Work, "Giving Back," and a Saint"
(July 7, 2010)