Government Spending

Uncle Sam Tells Americans How to Get Out of Debt


After saddling the country with as much new debt as the rest of the world combined in one year flat, one would think that Uncle Sam wouldn't have the cojones to dish out debt advice to others. But one would be wrong. In an unwitting self-parody worthy of Froma Harrop on The Daily Show, the Federal Trade Commission has created a step-by-step web guide for Americans "Knee-Deep in Debt."

The first step, says the agency, which represents a government that went over 800 days without passing a budget, is: create a budget! Get a "realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend," it lectures those in financial doo-doo, seemingly oblivious of the fact that its own bosses have promised $60 trillion to a $100 trillion more in entitlements than the country has money to pay for.

It continues:

[L]ist your "fixed" expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums. Next, list the expenses that vary — like entertainment, recreation, and clothing. Writing down all your expenses, even those that seem insignificant, is a helpful way to track your spending patterns, identify necessary expenses, and prioritize the rest.

Prioritize! Who knew that the word even existed in the federal lexicon? But "irony" obviously does not because the FTC, with a straight face, goes on to offer advice for those who are not "disciplined enough to create a workable budget and stick to it."  And by this it doesn't mean our elected representatives.

And its advice is not that over-extended Americans call their credit card company and demand that it raise their credit limit every time they max out their card, as Uncle Sam has done 75 times since 1962. It suggests that they consider —wait for this!—"debt settlement." And if no one is willing to settle, then the option of last resort is bankruptcy, although it warns its repercussions can be "long-lasting and far reaching." No kidding!

No word on whether the White House of Capitol Hill have glanced at the guide. Or maybe they are waiting for the agency to create one for those "Neck-Deep In Debt But Too Stupid to Know And Too Obtuse to Care."

Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy's "19 percent plan" on how the federal government can live within its means, as it tells the rest of us to do, here.

Anthony Randazzo and Harris Kenny on how local and state governments are not living within their means here.

H/T: Harris Kenny

NEXT: The Obama Administration Halts 1600 Deportations

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  1. I got nothing.

    1. Then maybe you could parse this from the article’s opening sentence,
      After saddling the country with as much new debt as the rest of the world combined in one year flat,

      This appears to say our annual deficit is as big as the total debt for the rest of the world. Or is it that our deficit is as big as the rest of the world’s deficit?

      Either’s big, but A-bomb big or H-bomb big?

      1. My calculator doesn’t have the capacity for those numbers, so it’s hard to say.
        Sorta like when gas pumps had to add the extra digit.

      2. Take a gander at the use of the term “new debt”.

        Now, I dunno if the rest of the world’s governments actually took on $1.2TT in new debt last year, but it sounds plausible.

  2. Why do Americans of all stripes not openly mock the government at every opportunity?

    Seriously. Why?

    1. FBI

    2. The same reason the Keystone reps threatening landowners to seize their land didn’t just get shot in the face on the spot. They’ve managed to turn us into cowards all.
      I include me in that too. Even so, people around here think I’m a crazy old man because I occasionally remember my teeth are more like wolf’s than a sheep’s.

  3. And I get an ad with Elizabeth Warren whoring for money?
    What did I do to deserve this? Did shithead sign me up?
    Elizabeth Warren, I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire.

    1. Oh come on, now, don’t tell me you would pass up a chance to piss on Elizabeth Warren. It’s not like you could piss enough to actually put out the fire.

  4. If the fucking currency wasn’t based on debt, maybe there wouldn’t be a debt “problem”.

    Oh, and, fuck Ellen Brown and the neo-Greenbackers.

  5. Priorities:

    1. Cowboy poetry festivals

    1. Priorities:

      1. Get reelected.
      2. Dole out as many favors and pork as needed to achieve #1.

  6. Who was that crazy Bohemian author that wrote about this kind of thing oh about a century ago?

  7. Dude know that he is jsut totally rocking. Wow.

  8. Come on. Jon Stewart says that the CBO says that we could balance the budget by merely raising taxes by 3% on incomes over 250k! Budget problems solved!

  9. The gov’t telling people how to get out of debt, is like a child molester trying to tell people how not to fuck kindergarteners…

    1. Exactly,

      Cause there is no way NOT to fuck Kindergarteners.

      It’s like a Catch-69.

  10. Gubbermint debt is not like household debt – unlike them, WE can’t just print as money much money as we need to satisfy our debts (well, we could, but we’d get arrested.) I’m NOT saying their debt doesn’t matter, but just that it is counter-intuitive, it works differently than debt for other entities, including states. Unfortunately, large numbers of people do not understand this (probably most of the congress and the government itself) and the superficial irony of stuff like this makes them seem stupid and lacking self-awareness.

  11. The gov’t telling people how to get out of debt, is like Michelle Obama giving us diet tips…

  12. The problem is, Buck, when the fed prints MORE money that is backed by NOTHING of intrinsic value, it causes existing currency to be less valuable, hence inflation.
    Been to the grocery store lately?

  13. Did I miss something? When did the Democratic majority in the Senate pass (or even propose) a budget? The Senate has now gone over 1000 days without passing a budget, but of course it is the fault of the obstructionist Republicans in the House.

  14. If the Feds help people get out of *personal* debt, that only makes them more accepting of taking on a greater share of *public* debt…

  15. the Federal Trade Commission has created a step-by-step web guide for Americans “Knee-Deep in Debt.”

    I stopped reading after this. Anyone can walk in knee-deep anything . (OK, maybe not quicksand.) So the FTC is providing advice to people who don’t need it.

    The people who need help and advice are the people UNDERWATER, aka UP TO THEIR EYEBALLS IN DEBT. Naturally, the FTC can’t help them.

  16. Why not do what the feds do? When you spend a zillion dollars you don’t have, declare it to be your neighbor’s debt, instead of yours. Saying “national debt” implies that you and I owe a debt for what politicians threw away. Um, no. Want to really fix debt? Destroy the Fed, stop using counterfeit currency and fabricated, fiat debt. (By the way, Americans may be in debt to someone, but it is NOT the banks that fabricate money and then lend it out, via the “Federal Reserve System.” Federal Reserve member banks have a rightful claim to precisely NOTHING.)

  17. Thank you Larken Rose – You said what I was coming on here to say. Only thing is that I know that will never happen. They have too much control and all of those politicians are getting perks from them that would never let the right changes happen. Civil war is coming, the sooner the better so that we could either see the end of the world as we know it, or see those changes on the other side after the finish of the conflict. That is if you or I should live to make it through what is coming this way.

  18. When people take their longchamps, they will want to have a puff of wind very much. Why they want wind at that time? Because they think their sac longchamp pas cher can make them feel cool and the cool of wind can make then feel cooler.

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