Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Whose Money is it Anyway? Why You Should Care About the Shutdown

Whose money is it anyway and why does it matter? How the government shut down is all about your money.

In honor of election day, today, I want to ask you a question that we should always ask ourselves when thinking about who we vote for and how those elected officials are doing. That question is, WHOSE MONEY IS IT ANYWAY? How you think about this question is fundamental to your world view.

Several years ago I wrote an article that appeared in several newspapers and other publications. You might even remember it because it was discussed on various media. The article was about another dust-up in Washington when another issue about taxes and federal spending captured our attention for several moments.

In that article, and again here, we discuss the arrogance of politicians when it comes to how easily they forget whose money they are fighting over. This is a non-partisan article, just like the earlier one. Both sides are guilty of this and there doesn't seem to be any ideological side that is worse than the other. Both sides, and seemingly every politician forgets when they are elected two important things:

1. Who elected them and
2. Whose money are they dealing with while they are in office.

I'm going to leave the first issue for another day but you may want to give it some thought anyway.. But the second, well, that's what we are discussing here. So let me pose the question to you, whose money are politicians spending? Some might debate this, and they would be wrong. You see, the only money that politicians ever deal with IS YOUR MONEY!

This is so fundamental to  how the government works that it is surprising that so many people forget. What is even more serious, perhaps even insidious, is that politicians act as if they never were aware of this simple and elementary civics lesson. The money they deal with, the money that they spend, the money that even pays their salaries and perks is your money.

Let's take the latest fracas in Washington, the current showdown over the shutdown at the politicians' corral. While many have forgotten this as they pay attention to only the latest news cycle, here we are on election day and very few are even mentioning the shut down. The issues are numerous and perhaps even complex. But, the argument, the actual bottom line argument is who gets to control and dictate the use of your money. The politicians are playing chicken with your money and pretending that the whole thing is about ideology. It's not and never has been about ideology, it's about power.

So who do you want to be in control of your money? Politicians? Big Banks? Corporate executives? Yourself? Let me know your thoughts and who you think your money belongs to. My answer is that your money belongs to you. Whether you give control over it to someone else is up to you.

I look forward to your comments.

Bernie Greenberg

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