Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The debt thing

This, I know, is Economics 101, but I've recently started thinking in terms of the agreement I've implicitly made with my wage-master, i.e., we've agreed that it will pay me X dollars in exchange for every hour on the premises. Putting coins in the vending machine becomes two or so minutes of work, for example. It helps keep things in perspective and, I hope, will give me one more layer of thinking before I make an impulse buy.

It's an eye-opening exercise. I find, for example, that the federal and state governments routinely seize the fruits of 10+ hours of week before I can touch it, of course, but the real interesting (and somewhat depressing) thing is the extent to which I am paying out for things I already "own." It seems I spend about 14 hours a week working to reduce the debt balance on property, vehicle and credit cards, and of course a substantial number of those hours goes to pay the interest, rather than pay down the debt. About two hours goes to the 401(k), one hour to insurance, a little more than two hours to fill the gas tank ... but when the credit payments are taking up more than amount Big Brother confiscates, you have a problem.

It's nice to have all of the comforts and toys I bought on the "let's have it NOW" plan, but make no mistake: Many decisions and positive changes are being delayed because of decisions made sometimes years ago. A word of advice from a wage-and-debt slave: Save your money. Pay with cash.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would slightly alter your last two sentence and make it into one, even simpler sentence: Save your cash.
That, I believe, is slightly better advice.
J.N.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Reformed Patriot said...

Saving your cash is almost as dangerous as investing it right now. But yes, the government currently takes a paycheck from me every month. That extra money would go a long way to increasing my standard of living; the bastards. Thieves, the lot of them.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous CK said...

1) All government spending is theft.
2) Some of that government spending benefits you directly; some indirectly. You are a recipient of stolen goods.
3) You allow yourself to be stolen from. You are complicit in the theft.
4) Democracy is the system whereby you and your group try to make sure you receive more of the stolen goods than you have agreed to allow to be stolen from yourself and your group members.
( congressional districts call this "earmarking".)
5) Your debt is someone else's asset.
6) Taxation is direct theft, brazen even, they tell you how much they have taken every paycheck.
7) Fiat money printing ( M3 in economic speak ) is indirect theft. Every dollar printed dilutes whatever dollars you have in you accounts or possession.
8) The purpose of a central bank is to allow the printing of fiat money ... those who print the money obtain first call on the tangible goods of the productive.
It is pretty simple really, we all have to consume to survive. The trick is that not all of us have to produce something tangible or anything at all to be able to consume. In a democracy enough non-producers will always win.
You can always barter, it's fun, healthy, and doesn't require you to use fiat money. It is fairly easy to find productive people with which one can trade value for value without the intermediary of FRNs.
Barter is not part of the quotidian.

6:02 PM  

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