Wednesday, Dec 17, 2014
Columns

Modern money management defined: Frittering on steroids


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In both the whorehouses of American governance and in your houses and mine, the word “fritter” means to squander away little by little. In practice these days, it has exploded from a misdemeanor to a murderous assault on the economic health and, potentially, the economic survival of our nation and that of our beloved descendants.

Fiscal management has always been a leaky bucket in government circles and in all but the most miserly of American households, but of late what had formerly been a trickle of waste and inefficiency has become a torrent that threatens to engulf our national future. Anyone with half a brain and a sliver of conscience must be aware that our country, as well as many of its households, is running on borrowed time and phantom (aka fiat) money.

That is to say, our continuing payments to Paul will eventually Peter out, much to the detriment of our heirs and theirs, if not to the total demise of the American dream.

Only those readers longest in tooth will recall a slogan during World War II, which admonished us to “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

This, younger folk, was the bygone era, during which shaving razors were stropped and diapers laundered for continued use.

Modern luxuries are enjoyed at a price, and this is one old geezer who would not turn back the Klock (sorry about that!) to his boyhood days in rural Pennsylvania.

He does, however and herewith, sound a loud alarm about the frittering of our assets that has now become a flushing of them down the plumbing tubes of irresponsibility.

Brushing metaphors aside for the moment, let’s spotlight two areas of excess that have gotten alarmingly out of control — namely, those of our citizens and of our elected reprehensibles at all levels of government. Area One: Easy credit has supplanted responsible budgeting as the major driving force in family finances.

Relatively few are the American households not trudging on a treadmill of revolving credit, frequently involving nonessential goods and services, which were bought before they could be paid for.

Mind you, necessary borrowing and the equally necessary repayment are genuine blessings in times of need, but our society has deteriorated from an attitude of “Someday” to one of “Why not now?”  (If not “What the hell?”)

So much for the Dutch Uncle talk, and on to Area Two: Those whom we have selected as stewards of our national wealth (what’s left of it) should be charged with gross betrayal of the trust invested in them by we, the “sheeple.”

With their eyes focused laser-like on the political power they are bent on either obtaining or retaining, they are blinded to one essential fact: The rate at which they are spending our (not their) money exceeds by a country mile our (and their) ability to manage the resultant burden of debt without raiding the piggy banks of our kids, grands and greats ad infinitum — and ad nauseam.

A symptom of this betrayal is the shameless manner in which they pander to the selfish interests of the electorate to the detriment of the common good.

One example — but only one among a myriad — of this is the continued masquerade of Social Security payments as an entitlement, rather than welfare without regard to need.

As originally designed, Social Security payments were to have been paid out of a solvent fund, into which beneficiaries had earlier contributed and which funds had been left intact.

Alas, that sacrosanct piggy bank was raided and ransacked over the years by our elected reprehensibles and replaced with IOUs, which are rapidly coming due.

Want it put more bluntly? That “set aside” money is GONE — like the promises made during a summer romance or a spring break fling.

What had been intended as an entitlement is now a welfare payment, being made without regard to the need or non-need of the recipient.

Were sanity to be involved in the process, recipients would henceforth be required to prove the necessity for such handouts in order to survive, rather than mere evidence that they have evaded the Grim Reaper.

However, no officeholder worthy of that designation of dubious distinction is likely to mutter such a suggestion, even under the stress of extreme torture.

The frittering, you see, is not only here to stay, but also presently on steroids.


Freelance wordworker Joe Klock Sr. (joeklock@aol.com) winters in Key Largo and Coral Gables.

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