When I was the Treasurer of the United States, I proudly took on the challenge of educating children and young people through the Treasury’s efforts on financial literacy.
I remember going to classrooms and showing students how to use simple math to calculate how much to save. I would tell them that with some money to spend, either from an allowance or from jobs such as babysitting or yard work, they could put aside 15 percent of that money into a piggy bank, or they could open a savings account. With those savings they could then acquire something they really wanted later on.
The Democrat-controlled Senate along with the White House has broken the law for the last four years by not presenting a budget to the American people as the law requires
- Rosario Marin, Former U.S. Treasurer
I would talk to them about the remarkable power of compound interest. I would share with them how compound interest has tremendous benefits when you save money, and very damaging effects when you owe money; especially in credit cards. I remember how wide their eyes would open when I showed them the charts.
Nowadays, I feel like I have to go to Washington and show those same charts to our venerable Congress and our re-elected President.
For crying out loud, how can they have the moral authority to tell the American people to tighten their belts when they don’t do that? How can they tell the public to save money when they refuse to do it, and how can they tell them to cut the credit card in half, when they can’t wait to borrow more money?
It is about time that Washington takes a hard look at where they are taking us. There has to be a willingness to make tough choices. There needs to be a major realization that we cannot spend our way into prosperity. There is no place in this world where that kind of economics has ever succeeded. It is usually through a significant reduction in spending that an economy can restore its viability.
Congress needs to exercise fiscal discipline but before they could even do that, they need to put a budget in place. Isn’t that a noble idea?
The Democrat-controlled Senate along with the White House has broken the law for the last four years by not presenting a budget to the American people as the law requires. The Republican Congress has presented budgets only to have them stall in the senate.
I presume it has been a lot easier for the Senate Democrat leaders and the President to dodge whatever criticism there has been if any for not having a budget, than deal with the backlash of the necessary measures needed to meet the ever-increasing deficit our nation faces.
For our children’s sake, I would encourage the Democrat Senate leader and the leader of the free world to take some financial literacy classes; maybe then they can come to grips with the fiscal fiasco they have exacerbated.
Rosario Marin served as the 41st US Treasurer under President George W. Bush. She is the author of "Leading Between Two Worlds Lessons" from the first Mexican-born Treasurer of the United States.