Maxed Out is a documentary about the credit industry, particularly credit cards, that I’ve long wanted to watch. At the end, I looked at Courtney and said two words… “That’s scary.”
And it is.
The amount of debt in this nation is incredible, and while personal debt is certainly terrifying enough, the debt our government accrues is obscene. When the film was made (late 2005 I believe), our national debt stood at roughly $90,000 for every family unit. Today, the National Debt Clock stands at over $11.5 TRILLION dollars with every person owing roughly $37,500. For a typical family of 3.2, that means that each family now “owes” $120,000. We’ve gone up 33% in under five years.
The film did a good job of pointing out the idiocy of past presidents and governments and highlighting the simple fact that, in general, banks and credit card companies are some of the largest contributers to political campaigns today. The film was particularly, and deservedly so, harsh of some of GWB’s policies, especially the Bankruptcy Act of 2005. While that criticism may be deserved, I’d love to see the film updated to include the first six months of Obama’s administration. I have the feeling that the Stimulus and Healthcare proposal would outshine anything done by past presidents.
This film is a must see. I thought it’d be fairly boring in some parts, but I was riveted by the gross negligence our leaders have exercised in maintaining fiscal responsibility. And this isn’t just a democratic or republican issue. This is life. As of right now, we spend more than half our national budget maintaining our debt. Think about that…. The richest nation this world has ever seen spends more than 50% of it’s trillion dollar annual budget simply paying interest on money we spent that we didn’t have. We spend more on debt each year than we spend on health care, education, and defense COMBINED.
Dave Ramsey often talks about creating your own personal economy. By being wise, paying as you go, and saving money, you create an environment where you are sheltered from the storms of life. Courtney and I have seen that during the recession because of those principles. While we are not yet debt free, we haven’t had credit card debt in almost two years (including the pay-off-at-the-end-of-the-month kind), haven’t had a car payment since March, and currently have nothing but a student loan and mortgage over our heads. Our personal economy isn’t perfectly sheltered yet, but we are on track to own every penny that comes into our house within the next ten years.
For us, the recession is a myth.
It’s time to put your house in order. And when the next election rolls around, vote for someone who has the fiscal brains to end this nonsense. It’s time to put someone in charge who understands that the United States cannot declare bankruptcy without collapsing the world. It’s time to understand that we are fast cruising down that road.
And that’s scary.