Home > Government & Politics > Your Money vs. Other People’s Money (The Value of Money – Part IV)

Your Money vs. Other People’s Money (The Value of Money – Part IV)

Let’s be honest, you value your money more than other people’s money.  You may not be a thief, but it’s easier to spend other people’s money than your own.  You’re probably a lot more likely to order an appetizer, dinner and dessert if your employer or client is picking up the tab. Why not? It’s not your money.

It’s hard to appreciate the value of money if you spend someone else’s all the time.  The cost of something means nothing to you.  Even when it comes to giving money away, it’s a lot easier for me to pull cash out of your wallet than it is for me to write a check for the same amount… because it costs me nothing.

The Members of Congress are probably the worst culprits when it comes to spending other people’s money.  The current U.S. debt is over $13 trillion.  The 2010 U.S. budget deficit is projected to be over $1.5 trillion.  That is over $1.6 million of excess spending each minute. 

There are a variety of reasons that we are racking up debt, with arguments coming from the left and the right.  However, I believe a primary factor is that Congress is spending other people’s money. 

No President, Senator or Congressman runs their finances the way they run the government. If they did, they would be bankrupt and broke, but they’re not.  Most leave office financially more well off than when they were first elected.  Too bad, the fiscal health of the government wasn’t better when politicians left Washington, than it was when they first arrived.

Spending the taxpayers’ money (your money) is easier than spending their own.  This attitude even filters down to the local level.  How many state and local highway projects are presented to the taxpayers as “only” costing X, because of federal matching funds?  It’s like the money from the federal government is free.  It may be free to the city or state, but it’s not free to someone.

Our leaders must begin to manage the financial affairs of the government the same way they manage their own.   It won’t be easy, because this is the way Washington has worked for decades, but it needs to be done.  However, if they won’t change, it’s up to the voters to elect leaders who will. 

Arguments about debt to GDP, etc. will eventually become meaningless.  You can’t spend more than you make forever, and neither can the U.S. government.  It’s common sense… or at least is should be.

Coming up… Kids, Work & Money (The Value of Money – Part V)

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