Last time, the blog focused its time on chapter one of Glenn Beck’s book “Broke.”  The chapter focused on the history behind the fall of three well-known empires:  the Romans, the Greeks and sixteenth century Spain.  The lessons from those empires were applied to the issues related to the modern U.S. situations.  Today’s chapter focuses its lens on…

Chapter #2: Frugal: A Four Letter Word
Many people know the story of Ebenezer Scrooge from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carole.  Many would call him a tightwad or thrifty, when in fact he was just greedy.  Most people don’t know the differences between those two terms, thrifty and greedy, anymore  Frugality may go in and out of style depending on the economic of the day but it is a virtue that many people espoused through out history like, Lao Tzu, Seneca, John Wesley, Confucius, as well as our Founding Fathers.  Frugality yields a person more personal liberty because debt ties that person and their wealth to others.  Saving gives you liberty to do more things, help more people.  Professor William Nunn said that thrift it is a “moral virtue” and a “cornerstone in the development of capitalism” and the philosophy of individualism.  Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, argued “savings is a basic tenet of economic progress” (Beck 16).

Through out history, Progressives have vilified wealth and associate it with greed; they make “profits synonymous with corruption” so that people will no longer want to be wealthy.  When their are fewer wealthy people their are fewer jobs and more people are reliant on the others, and Progressives want that “others” to be the government, instead of wealthy philanthropic people (Beck 16-17)

A cornerstone of republican government is that of virtue, which requires morality, which requires to adherence to religions that recognizes a higher power than government and embraces charity.  The U.S. being based on Judeo-Christian principles which emphasized voluntary charitable giving in the service of God.  That is until Progressives came in and replaced God with government as the way to be charitable, through taxes (Beck 17)

In the book there is a side bar that has a cute adaption of the Aesop’s fable of the grasshopper and the ant.  The story remains the same where the ant works all spring and summer to store food for the winter while the grasshopper plays and relax.  When winter come the grasshopper does not have any food.  He leads helps elect a leader who promises to feed the hungry and then proceeds to confiscate half of the ant’s food and gives it to the grasshopper.  The next summer instead of working the ant joins the grasshopper and plays all day (Beck 17).  From whom do they confiscate next to survive?  And why should we labor if our wealth is given to others who have not worked for it.

“Andrew Carnegie advocate wealth creation as a key driver of private charity.”  He lived below his means, not to be the richest man on earth but to help others.  He stated the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.”    As an example to other wealth of the time , he gave away ninety percent of all his wealth, over $350 million, before he died.  The wealthy at the time, not just Carnegie, realized they must help people with the wealth they had made, so many gave away their fortunes before and at their death.  The American tradition of thrift is not about being greedy or hoarding, it “frees the person to be generous in giving to God.”  You may not agree with “trickle-down economics” but trickle down charity is very effective, but this does not fit into the Progressive agenda.  That means government remains limited.  So Progressives made frugality a synonym for greed and make those wealthy feel guilty “because there are so many with so little” (Beck 18-19).

The primary goal of frugality and seeking wealth was to as Franklin said “to achieve freedom to do as he wished.”  Progressives have tried to lead American to believe that “government spending  is an indicator of our national compassion” when it in actuality it is an “erosion and encroachment on personal freedom.”  Washington spends more of your money, so you have less to do with it to help other people in a tangible way (Beck 19).

American’s don’t save anymore.  Lord Alfred Keynes thought thrift and saving undermined prosperity and turned it into a social vice.  Columbia history professor Richard Hofstadter said his theory marked a shift from an ethic of working and saving to an ethic of consumption, leisure and pleasure.  Senator Everett Dirksen, head of a savings and loan, noted that “thrift and opportunity have been the great horsemen of progress in America,” contrary to what the Progressives tell us, which are out dated rules and theories and that only the experts today are correct (Beck 20).

This new view on savings is a cancer on our system.  Consumption has increased and led to the American people putting themselves in debt and convincing politicians the only way drive the economy is through spending.  The way forward is clear but is also difficult:  “more savings, less spending, more private charity, fewer public handouts.”  It was the basis of our country in the past, but it can bring back real growth.  “Frugality ignites freedom.”  This means rejecting spending out way out of economic trouble and rejecting material things.  We must remember the economics of those who founded this nation because they are worth remembering (Beck 20-21).

The next chapter focuses on the founders view of debt during the beginnings of this nation.

I always welcome comments and questions from my reading audience, even views that run contrary to my own.  Lets have the discussion and talk this out.

Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Class dismissed.