I wanted to wait until today to address President Obama's announcement on Monday that he is declaring April "National Financial Capability Month". I held off because we all know that Monday was April First--and that it's a great day for practical jokes. And an administration that has run up the national debt to $16-TRILLION is now going to teach people how to budget their money would certainly qualify as a whopper of a joke. But since there was no retraction with a wink and a grin yesterday, the declaration is apparently legit.
I immediately assumed the "Financial Capability" recommendations would be "Do everything the exact opposite of what we have been doing the last four years." Namely, basing your budget on what you actually make--rather than making out a wish list of things you "want" (under the auspices of saying it's something that is a "need")--and then scrambling for ways to pay (or not pay) for them. The President could also tell Americans not to borrow 60% of what they spend--which is the only way the government is paying its bills right now. And then there is the recommendation not to take on commitments that promise to add even more debt in the future (say, like trying to pay for everyone's health care for the next few decades.)
Actually, the President's proclamation didn't detail any specific ways it was going to teach everyone how to budget. There are some links to previously posted websites with very general (and very sketchy) financial advice. The first bad sign is a link to a Federal Reserve site (again, not the best example of financial responsibility} with advice on how to manage your credit cards. If you are properly budgeting, you shouldn't need to use your credit cards ever again--BECAUSE YOU WON'T BE SPENDING ANY MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE!! If they wanted to send people somewhere to really learn how to budget, they might want to try www.daveramsey.com
Regardless of the means or efforts the Obama Administration employs to get Americans to better manage their money, it will still require a sea change in the attitudes of today's younger generations. These are twenty and thirty-somethings that never heard "NO" growing up--they were special and they "deserved" to have everything! They still live with Mom and Dad, are still on their parents health insurance and are even still on their parents cell phone plans. They sincerely believe that anything they want they should get--either with someone else paying for it--or with good old Uncle Sam footing the bill. To willingly deny themselves material goods and pleasurable experiences just because they don't have the cash at this moment will be uncharted territory for them.
You know, they didn't get the name the "Entitlement Generation" by just sitting around and having stuff handed to them. Oh wait. I...I guess they did.