Are You Smarter Than The United States Government?

Today I decided to present you with my version of Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader with an EOD twist of course. What I want to know though, is Are You Smarter Than The United States Government?

On the regular…I hear average people complain about the current state of our economy. I hear average people complain about Government spending and how wasteful and inefficient it is. I hear average people complain about the rising U.S. debt, which is now over 12 trillion dollars. I hear average people complain about the U.S. budget which seems to be compiled of massive debt and lots of red numbers. In a nutshell, I hear average people complain about the basic financial decisions made daily in the U.S.

Guess what?

The average person is just as broke, just as bad, and just as irresponsible as the U.S. Government when it comes to financial matters. Yep, 7 out of 10 people are broke, so what does that tell you? Not certain what it tells you, but what it tells me is that the average person is NOT smarter than the U.S. Government.

EOD Tip: Monkey See, Monkey Don’t – Stop doing the same things with your money, that our Government does with theirs ours. Want to be financially well-off? Do what financially well-off people do.

Are you the average person?
Government answer: YES! Average is good, follow our lead.

  1. Yes, and I like it that way.
  2. Yes, but I am ready to be extraordinary.
  3. No way, common sense is King.

Do you have an emergency fund?
Government answer: NO! Who needs an Emergency Fund when you collect taxes?

  1. Yes, and it feels GREAT!
  2. No, but I am ready to get one.
  3. No, I have my credit cards.

Do you have and maintain a monthly “balanced” budget?
Government answer: NO! Who needs a “balanced” budget when using tax payer money?

  1. Yes, and it helps me stay focused!
  2. No, but I would like to give it a try.
  3. Nope, who needs a budget?

Do you spend more than you make?
Government answer: Of course! Thank God for taxes!

  1. Yes, why do you think I love my credit cards so much?
  2. Yes, but it’s time to gain control of my behavior.
  3. Nope, not anymore.

Do you have debt not including your mortgage?
Government answer: YES! Got to keep these failed programs going so we can continue to raise taxes to pay for them.

  1. Yes, we have tons of debt, who doesn’t?
  2. Yes, but we are working to eliminate it!
  3. Nope, no debt for us please!

Do you have, or have you ever thought about funding your own retirement?
Government answer: Of course not, tax payers fund ours, but you need us to fund yours.ย  (Ironic eh?)

  1. Yes, but I haven’t started just yet.
  2. Yes, my retirement is growing slow but steady.
  3. Nope, that’s what the Government is for.

What do we take away from all this? Well, if you are spending other people’s money it doesn’t really matter at all apparently, but if you are spending your own it better matter!

EOD Tip: Government Reliance Vs. Personal Responsibility- Wait Or Create? – If you want to be smarter than the U.S. Government, you should focus and try as hard as you can to become more self reliant. Taking personal responsibility for your life and your actions, is one of the most valuable attributes to becoming who you want to become.

Your money should matter to you as much as, if not more than, what the Government is doing with the money they take from you. The Government has proven time and time again that it has no real grasp on how to manage money. In our society debt is seen as good, mostly because it allows us to buy stuff we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. I am screaming at the top of my lungs here to tell you it is a lie. You can have anything you want with a little discipline, sacrifice and an actual financial plan that isn’t void of common sense.

If debt was the answer to prosperity, why is our economy suffering SO BADLY, even after the Government spent HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of our tax dollars?

Common sense? It’s not as common as you would think.

As the Government has proven, you don’t need common sense when you are using tax payer dollars. It doesn’t take much to do it their way, but being smarter than the United States Government gives you control, security, dignity, and a much better quality of life. Be smarter than the U.S. Government and take control of your money, instead of continuing to spend on auto-pilot.

So are you Smarter Than The U.S. Government?

Looking for more to read? Be sure to check me out over at the Self Reliance Exchange.

About Brad Chaffee

16 Responses to “Are You Smarter Than The United States Government?”

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  1. Right on Brad, the government is becoming a black hole with a huge budget deficit, pork barrel spending, buying votes and special interest deals that are just eroding our economy away.

    This is our tax dollars being spent so poorly that any normal person who would have done this would have been broke years ago. This promoted me to start taking action in fact I recently signed up to the Americans For A Balanced Budget Amendment. You can read more here:

    I believe it is a noble cause that we need to stand up as Americans and take action and not sit on the side lines anymore and watch the government spend our hard earned money.

    Great Post!

  2. Abigail says:

    Hmmm… I feel kind of uncomfortable with the broad, broad generalizations herein. I’m sure some of this was just meant as comedy (if black comedy because it’s depressing and painful while still funny).

    I’m also struggling like hell not to rattle off various points that would refute some of this stuff, because it will become a political argument, which is not useful on a PF blog.

    I feel like this post has a particularly right-wing attitude. Maybe that’s just a result of teasing about the government money. Or not. I don’t know. I just know that there are a lot of arguments I want to make but I fear that it will degenerate into a huge political finger-pointing campaign.

    I hardly agree with everything the government does. And I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually supported the bailout. But now that the deficit exists, I’m getting really tired of people complaining about being taxed. If they’re that indignant about it, they should homeschool their kids, never step foot in a library, never drive on paved roads, never accept Medicare, and certainly never call 911 — or the police in general — if they or their property are in imminent danger.

    Yes, I know that was bitter. But I’m just so sick of hearing people complain about things that can’t be undone. And people who expected the government programs to work instant miracles.

    I hope this doesn’t degenerate too much into a us vs them argument. Sorry. Trust me, if I had written freely about politicians, budgets, spending and deficits, it would be a LOT worse.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hi Abigail! Thank you for your comments. I welcome all kinds of point of view as long as the argument is respectful—which yours was. Thank you, because as someone who actively speaks his mind about politics outside of Enemy of Debt, I know how difficult it is for two points of view to come together peacefully.

      I’m not sure where the “right-wing slant” is coming from, although I admit I am a Conservative with Libertarian tendencies. However, I am not married to any party, and would vote for a Democrat in a second if their principles were close to mine. The reason your take makes me scratch my head is because it is both the Republicans and the Democrats that are ruining this country, and who I was referring to. Both parties have lost their way and quite frankly have done their part in causing the current economic climate we find ourselves in. George Bush started the bailouts, and had a hand in trying to make buying a home for first time home buyers easier, which you could say had a lot to do with the housing bubble popping. He didn’t do it alone though, there were plenty of Democrats before him, namely Barney Frank and Chris Dodd and even as far back as Jimmy Carter. (they forced or pressured lenders to give loans to people that normally wouldn’t qualify, in the name of “helping” the common good.) We see how that turned out.

      Now for the taxes. I can tell we COMPLETELY disagree on taxes, but that’s alright. I do not plan on forsaking you because of your point of view. My view is that we should have taxes, but we are far above and beyond having a tax system that is fair for everyone. I personally like the consumption tax (fair tax). People are taxed on their consumption, and maybe, just maybe, people would take a second look at their spending habits if it could lower their tax bill. It’s hard for me to imagine how someone could see how wasteful and irresponsible a Government can be with the money WE pay them, and still take the argument that taxes are needed for ALL of the wasteful projects and programs that are bankrupt already. Here’s a thought: If the Government was more responsible—wishful thinking I know—then wouldn’t they be able to logistically take less taxes from us and STILL get basic infrastructure projects funded? I think so.

      The Government (local and federal) is currently taking close to 45% of our total annual income when it is all said and done. On top of that, after 2010 you will then be taxed up to 45% on what you saved and invested in when you die. Are you trying to tell me that the Government doesn’t get enough already? I do not even understand a little bit; your argument FOR more taxes, which was that we wouldn’t have libraries, roads, end of public schools, police and rescue etc. You apparently have more faith and trust in a Government that has proven it cannot be trusted or responsible with our money. I also wonder why you have excluded the private sector from being able to provide some of those same services to us for a much more reasonable cost and without the waste that our Government is so good at funding.

      So yes, I hate someone forcefully stealing my money so that they can go and waste it in the name of providing infrastructure and “needed” services. I can help out others much MUCH better and more efficiently if I was able to make my own decisions with where it was going. You have labeled my distrust and anger on taxes as being a right wing stance. You’re probably right in that assumption but I must point out that if Democrats believed in paying more taxes then how come they do not fill out the extra portion of their tax papers to donate more to the inept Government? It seems to me that they must not believe in giving like they claim to unless their well off neighbor has to give more too. (I give regardless, but I would give a whole lot more if I wasn’t robbed each and every month.) Giving to the Government is like giving to a charity that has proven to squander the funds—why would you want to do that. most people don’t, so why is this different?

      People hated Dick Cheney and I surely wasn’t a fan of him, but the man gave over 50% of his annual income to charities, while Obama didn’t even touch half of that. I’m just pointing that out because Democrats always want to make it seem as though republicans want to hoard their money and not HELP out those less fortunate, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. They just believe in doing it more efficiently through different methods. There are more than two ways to do anything and the US Government has proven that more taxes doesn’t work, so I would like to try another way.

      Furthermore, IF people that are struggling so bad right now due to our failing economy, had more of their own money to pay bills, invest, start businesses, hire more people etc, the economy could have started to return to a prosperous economy long before now. To me stealing taxes is no different than me walking into my neighbors house, robbing and stealing from them, and then justifying it by saying I was planning on giving to someone less fortunate than themselves. It’s theft. We work hard for our money and we should be able to do with it what we please. I have faith in wealthy America, as they have proven to be more than generous over the years.

      BTW, I plan to home school my children because our public school system is the perfect example of how our money is wasted in this country. If you look at the numbers a majority of Americans have come to the same conclusion. Private schools and home schooling produces better educated students. They have thrown so much money at our public schools and how has that helped exactly? The problem is that even Americans that decide they do not want to use the system that we are taxed for they still have to pay the taxes for that broken system.

      My question to you. If a system is currently broken or bankrupt, and it has been proven that our Government has a problem managing it, when do you draw the line and say enough is enough? With all do respect it sounds like you are saying I should just accept being taxed and shut up without question, all because the Government appears to have good intentions. Good intentions have nothing to do with successful policy or financial responsibility. Nothing

      I hope we are still friends Abigail. I just wanted to share my opinion on the matter since you did. I am really glad you did too, and am even more glad that you were able to do it respectfully. Since I do not believe in political correctness AT ALL, your “harsh” statements did not bother me at all. (I didn’t see them as harsh) I respect your opinion no matter how different it is from my own.

      The big thing for me is I believe in smaller Government. A smaller Government would not need to tax me to death in order to pay for their pet projects that end up being nothing more than a way to buy votes and special interest groups. Both parties are responsible for this and I plan to vote against them all come November.

      Sorry you took offense to my dislike of our massive tax system. If it were a company it would have gone under long ago, but since it has us to fall back on it will never happen. There comes a time and a place to say enough is enough, and I believe that we have made it to that point. It’s time for REAL change in America, not some sugar coated dream that we are being sold! Republicans and Democrats are both responsible and their jobs are on the line. Finally America has awoke, as seen in Massachusetts.

      I for the most part keep my political posts rather neutral, although it is somewhat difficult to hide them based on my core principles and values which do happen to fall more into line with the right. I’ve thought about starting a political blog but would rather spend my time here helping others become debt free. I still love my very liberal friends because political affiliation doesn’t determine my friendships.

      The point of this post was to get people to think about the model they follow when it comes to their own finances. You may disagree with me about the politics of the matter but it would be hard for you to disagree with the fact that our Government is totally and utterly irresponsible when it comes to OUR money.

      Wow I didn’t mean to write a book. Sorry. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Abigail says:

        Well, I’m glad we agree that both parties are screwing up this country. To my way of thinking, a lot of this comes from politicians trying to appease all of the people all of the time.

        I should have revised the “right-wing stance” remark. What I meant was that it was obviously more in keeping with conservative values. And that’s fine. I think, at this point, we’re all kind of sick of politicians and lack of progress in a lot of ways.

        By the way, I don’t have a problem with home schooling. I respect anyone able to take on that big a responsibility. I had a great education in public schools, but since apparently they suck here in AZ, I’ll just be making sure to encourage my kids to expand their education.

        At any rate, yeah we disagree about taxation. I don’t, however, expect anyone to sit down and shut up. We’re all entitled to voice our opinions. As for privatization, I don’t trust it much. No, the government doesn’t do a great job, but think what would have happened if we had completely privatized Social Security, as was proposed. When the economy tanked, we’d have been completely in trouble.

        I understand being burned out on government and being angry at how your taxes are being used. And, by all means, protest that. But the fact is that no matter how small the government, taxes will be necessary. Sometimes I wonder if people forget that. I feel like common sense is getting lost in the rhetoric.

        Similarly, I worry that conservatives are too eager to get rid of social programs. They fling around words like welfare state, but the fact is that 99 percent of the people on welfare would prefer not to be. I’m collecting disability and I’d give almost anything to be able to be able to work a regular job. No one wants to live on $741 a month, which is what I get after Medicare is taken out. (Because $36,000 a year for two people is too much to qualify for help.)

        Anyway, we’re getting off into politics and money. I can imagine how it feels to see how much of your money disappears. I think part of the key is to find middle ground. I think some fo the trouble comes from politicans trying to keep everyone happy. So even conservative, small-government politicians feel free to stuff pork into every bill. (Ted Stevens was a master at it.) If we’re not demanding such disparate things, maybe, just maybe the politicians will stop trying to please everyone.

        That’s my theory today, anyway. Tomorrow? Could be something else entirely.

        And I don’t take any of this personally. If you were to rant about welfare state and people leeching off of hard workers, then I might get my back up a lot. Because, as I said, I have yet to meet a person with a disability who hasn’t wanted to work. And most of the people who are on welfare (yeah, not all, but most) hate it and would love a job that would take them off it.

        But you strike me as a more compassionate guy than the stereotypical conservative. Perhaps libertarian, which I think you mentioned. Anyway, this is a long reply to a longer reply to a long comment so let’s give it back to the people who want to talk about the ACTUAL article.

        Catch you later,

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          Well said Abigail! I like you! Thanks for having a conversation with me. (Sometimes I have to completely remove myself from politics, just to keep myself sane.) LOL

          Have a great week! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Oregonsun says:

    Hey, I liked this article…especially when we compare our own actions. I am so glad we are living far more balanced financial lives than we used too. What I see going on by our government is really scary stuff. Anyhoo, thanks again!

  4. I kinda tie the two together (government and personal) when I did my guest post on Wise Bread.

    Keep in mind some of the government policies incentivize taking on debt.

    It also obvious you shouldn’t be modeling your personal finances on the US government.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I know I read that post IJ, it was a good one. I think it is real true that they manipulate policies to get people to act the way they feel is appropriate. They definitely want us to be in debt which is why the credit score way of determining financial responsibility has worked so well for them. If people weren’t scared of having a crappy score they wouldn’t go out and get debt in the first place, or at least nt as many people would. Great comments man!

  5. Joan says:

    “Similarly, I worry that conservatives are too eager to get rid of social programs.”

    Abigail, most common-sense conservatives don’t want to get rid of social programs; they want them to be solvent, which they are not. Because of the wastefulness by our government of our tax dollars (as Brad covered in his post) the social programs are in trouble. If you think it’s hard to live on $741/month, wait until there is no money to pay even that to you – and everyone else. The day is coming when our government will default unless common-sense conservatives take over Congress and CUT enough spending to balance the budget. That will be painful to a lot of people and organizations – but it just has to happen. Growing the deficit cannot go on!

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