Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Americans donít budget

    Now we have a clue why President Obama and Congress have failed so miserably to bring federal spending under control, starting with a federal balanced budget. Gallup polling has revealed that only about 1 in 3 Americans have a household budget and even fewer have long-term financial goals.
    In the survey conducted in early April, Gallup asked respondents about how they plan household finances and track spending, and found that very few do it. What’s interesting is that pollsters discovered it mattered little whether the respondent was politically conservative, a big earner or college educated.
    Regardless of all those factors, only 32 percent of respondents said they have household budgets. About 30 percent said they have long-term financial plans.
    If only 1 in 3 Americans use a budget at home, it’s possible that two-thirds of the people elected to lead the nation aren’t budgeters. No wonder federal lawmakers can’t get the nation’s fiscal house in order.
    They can’t get it under control on Capitol Hill because they can’t get it under control at home—at least that’s what Gallup’s survey suggests.
    Poll findings are a wakeup call on the personal and national level. Americans need to live within their means at home and set aside savings for emergencies, their kids’ education and retirement. Bad things happen when people aren’t careful and don’t plan for a rainy day. Eventually, they may have no choice but to break out the credit cards and hope that better times are ahead.
    However, just as credit cards are no way to keep a household afloat, borrowing is just as risky to keep our federal government afloat. Borrowing $1 trillion per year to cover Uncle Sam’s spending problems won’t work forever. Eventually every poorly managed house and government reaches its date with destiny.
    We all have heard that failure to plan is planning to fail. Americans and their federal government need to get back to basics. That means living within our means at home and in our government.
    “Budget’’ is not a four-letter word, but “bust’’ is.

The Kearney Hub (Neb.) published this editorial on June 6.

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