"Get Poor Quick and Avoid the Rush!"
We created this bumper sticker in the days of the 1970's double digit price inflation.
that time our theory was that reducing one's wants to frugal levels was
rational because it lessened the need to go deeply into hock merely to
maintain a living standard that looked and felt good but was not
sustainable in the long run. Logic and reason never caught on,
although Fed chief Paul Volcker slammed on the money lending breakes
with high interest rates and the U.S. weathered the 1970s inflation
Once upon a time folks were urged to live
within their means. The idea of buying things with little or
nothing down was a 20th century concept that gained popularity when the
Federal Reserve was in its youth. But it had its comeuppance in
the great Wall Street crash in the autumn of 1929. It led to
nearly a decade of doing without or doing with less. That was
followed by half a dozen years on a wartime footing in which people
lived with rationing and shortages in order to help support the high
cost of war. Then came the post-war inflationary boom along with
the arrival of the famous "Baby Boomers."
Now we are once again in an economic
jam. The props have been knocked from beneath our system by a
serious virus scourge and large numbers of people are suddenly
unemployed or underemployed. Government is trying desperately to
bridge the plunge with a helicopter drop of cash but it must do so by
placing a huge lien against the economic future. That is,
borrowing from tomorrow to limp through the shortfalls of the
Business-as-usual has shuttered its doors and
when some of them open again life will not be able to immediately
return to the
high flying level in which people lived happily on the hope and promise of escalating incomes.
"Getting poor" doesn't mean living on the streets
or in dirt-floor hovels. In a majority of cases it merely means
making do with less. It means separating NEEDS from WANTS.
Maybe you don't "need" a
bigger house with its bigger mortgage. You might get along with
an older car instead of saddling yourself with an 84 month mortgage on
a new one. And, as an oldtime sailor told us some sixty years
ago, "If you have to borrow to buy a boat
you can't afford one." We believe vacations and hobbies should
never be financed. We also believe any government that will pile
on debt to an extent it can never be paid is on a path to
April has essentially been "canceled". Now,