Twelve years ago Puff Daddy (a/k/a P. Diddy) released his hit song, “It’s All about the Benjamins,” referring to Benjamin Franklin’s image on the $ 100 bill. While I don’t always understand the slang used in rap songs, the message in this particular lyric is pretty clear: If you don’t have money, you’re not a “playa.” In the same song, Diddy goes on to ask, “You want to be a baller? A shot caller?” Well, you’d better make some money. And one of America’s big problems is that our representatives in D.C. want to be shot callers…but they’re calling all the wrong shots for all the wrong reasons.
This election, pretty much the entire country is in agreement that it’s all about the Benjamins, or more accurately, the lack thereof. In poll after poll, Americans rate the number one issue in this election as the economy. James Carville’s famous line, “It’s the economy, stupid,” has come back into fashion. Rasmussen shows that only 32% of Americans believe that we are on the right track.
Economic indicators paint a less-than-rosy picture for the future of America. The massive mortgage meltdown is surely not helping consumer confidence. Baby Boomers, who have always had pretty much everything that they’ve ever wanted, are asking the same question that was asked of President Obama by Velma Hart, “Is this my new reality?”
It may be that Boomers can no longer expect to live in an expensive house, drive an expensive car, eat at expensive restaurants, and go on expensive vacations. As Dave Ramsey preaches, it’s time to “Act your wage.” Americans are going to have to start, perhaps for the first time in their adult lives, living within their means. Our children and grandchildren’s prospects have dimmed considerably under the mountain of federal debt and unfunded liabilities.
Our politicians have sold us down the river with their assurances that everything is under control. On the contrary, our national debt is so large and growing so fast that it is unfathomable - $ 13 trillion. The only way to remedy this situation is to cut our budget down to bare bones necessities and to allow taxpayers to keep their own money rather than throw it down the government rat hole. This applies to national, state, county and city budgets. Which politicians have the stomach and the backbone to do that? We are living through a crisis of government gone wild: it has become intrusive, incompetent, and negligent. When you vote on November 2, choose carefully. Watch out for those office seekers who are running only because they want to be a shot caller. We need elected officials who will do what’s necessary even if it’s unpopular. Those types of candidates are not “playas”; they seek to serve out of a sense of duty. While the Benjamins are important, this election is about much more than money; it’s about our country’s survival.