I was reading through some information recently that had some great advice for money management. Here's how it began:
"Developing a Budget: The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend."
Those are wise words indeed written by none other than the Federal Trade Commission in a packet of information for consumers.
I found it ironic that the federal government, which is in debt to the tune of some $15 trillion, can offer such sage advice to families about how to develop a budget and manage their money.
The FTC information, which you can find on line at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer..., is helpful for individuals who are having problems managing their household budget and I apologize for poking fun at them, but it really is ironic.
Here, a powerful branch of the federal government is offering advice on creating a budget and managing debt at a time when Congress has been unable to pass a budget and the country is dealing with record debt that is seemingly uncontrollable, despite the best efforts of all the so-called experts in Washington.
There've been several attempts to get the debt under control and all have fallen short, most recently the Joint Select Committee on debt reduction, commonly referred to as the Super Committee, which recently abandoned its efforts to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion.
I voted against creating the Super Committee because, while I had hoped it would succeed in working out a bipartisan plan to cut spending and bring down the deficit, I had serious doubts that its members could find common ground because Washington is being consumed by bitter partisanship.
I'm disappointed that they failed because now who knows how much longer it will be before the extreme elements in Washington stop pointing fingers and causing gridlock and failure. Nebraskans tell me they want the nation's lawmakers to come together for the common good, not bow to the political agendas of those on the radical right and left.
In that FTC information on creating a budget, they didn't advise families to be uncooperative and not work together. It doesn't advise them to put it off and kick the can down the road for the kids to deal with later.
They do offer helpful tips on how to balance the checkbook, save money, cut expenses and pay down debt all for the common good of the family.
It's too bad that Congressional leadership and the Administration can't follow the same advice put out by one of their own government agencies. It just might keep the bill collector away, raise their approval ratings in the eyes of the public, and keep the nation from drowning in a sea of red ink.