Christmas And Consumerism

December 5, 2011

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Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday; have you participated to the fullest?  We have been told to spend, and from the news reports we have.  The reports have not directly stated that the season is looking good for retailers, but since there are no stories on the collapse of the American economy, then by deduction, things are good.  Now if the Europeans would just start spending like Americans, the world economy will recover.  That was sarcasm for readers who missed it.

The news has been concentrating on the apparent melt down of the European economy that was “saved” by the United States Federal Reserve making it easier for European banks to convert U.S. Dollars and borrow more money.  I guess I need to go back to college to understand how borrowing more money will get people out of debt.  It has never worked for me, but then I am just a fool who tries to live within the salary I am earning.

I have heard several reports on various media claiming that the states that have implemented spending cuts over the last two years are either recovering dramatically from the economic slow down or collapsing even faster.  Since none of these reports include any source data, it is difficult to sort through the political posturing to figure out what is actually happening.  I am waiting form NPR or Front Line to put out a comprehensive report.  Those outlets usually include detailed references, but you have to wait until the noise has died down before they can complete the task.

I have always suggested living within your means, both at a personal level and through our representative governments.  I do hope that each of you did participate in the holiday push for retail sales, if you could afford it that is.  Spending, actually exchanging money for goods and services is how the economies of the world work and will recover.  We can each do our parts as long as we act responsibly.  This is true every day of the year, not just at Christmas, this is just when it is advertised most.

There is a second part to the holiday season, not just Christmas, but all of the major religious events of this season, and that is charity.  Charity is giving to the needy out of your perceived duty based on your code of morals, most often instilled through your family and church.  Charity, but definition, cannot come from government where the money is taken from citizens and then redistributed.  That is aid and is also necessary.  Charity is individual, both for the giver and the receiver.  Give what you can, support your favorite charities, but please, in the spirit of the season, do not tell people what the “have” to do.

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