Thoughtful Thursday: Frugal Patriotism?
Thursday, August 23, 2007

"Some of man's best qualities depend upon the right use of money – such as his generosity, benevolence, justice, honesty, and forethought. Many of his worst qualities also originate in the bad use of money – such as greed, miserliness, injustice, extravagance, and improvidence." - Samuel Smiles, Thrift
An article I enjoyed recently: Thrift and Liberty

The writer, Gil Guillory, argues that our liberty is derived from the virtue of thrift, and the government usurps our freedoms by scaring us into paying them to create Welfare programs, etc. The click-through on disintegrating traditional intergenerational familial obligations, is well worth the read, too.

Food for thought, considering savings are at an all time low and, IMO, there isn't a chance I'll ever see a penny of Social Security by the time I retire (at age 70, they keep upping the age in order to stay solvent). I'm homeschooling most of the children this year because I think the State did a poor job last year. Perhaps I should have more children to support my old age, since the State will probably mess that up too!

An aside: my MIL was on Social Security for several years before her death. She lived under the poverty line and ended up in government subsidized housing, which cost 33% of her check. Since the SSI was not enough to actually live off of, she also got Food Stamps. Every year her SSI was increased for "cost of living" (usually 1% or so) by the Federal Government. Her food stamp benefit, every year, was decreased by the State of Colorado for the exact amount of her "raise". Even though prices went up, her income did not.
Hmmm... there's that Catch-22 theme again!

The government actually discouraged her family helping her. Any income we gave her had to be "cash under the table". Any gifts had to be less than $100 or so, in order to not draw attention. We were not allowed to help her pay for television service or even caller ID on her phone. Her case workers scrutinized every bill to the penny to make sure someone didn't give her that extra $5.95 - her budget was balanced within and inch of its life!

Holidays, we gave her practical things she could not afford to buy for herself. Towels and a matching bathmat. A vacuum cleaner. A VCR, a radio.

It was cheaper for her to live alone in subsidized housing than to help chip in for a larger home to share with her children, because she would lose her food stamp benefits if she moved out. It was more costly to society, though!

Labels: , ,

posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 8/23/2007 06:40:00 AM | Permalink | |