Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dear Dave Ramsey...

I like you. I used to listen to your radio show when we lived in Louisville and we have been following the basic principles you teach before I ever heard of you because, well, for the most part it is common sense. Besides our mortgage we don't have any debt. We don't carry any credit card debt. We pay cash for used cars.

I don't know if your becoming a millionaire is more a comment on your sales abilities or our country's lack of common sense.

Today I read your Dear Occupy Wall Street ...

First, you say "The only problem is that I have no idea what their demands and goals are. And neither does anyone else." Now I don't know if you say this out or ignorance or so that you can ignore those and define the group the way you want. Because it didn't take me long to find Occupy Wall Street's Plans For A National Convention That Could Change The Face Of America

But let us assume that it was just ignorance. I want to look at just a couple of things you said.

You tell about a country music friend who has made a bazillion dollars and bought a $400,000 car. You talk about his hard work writing music and his long hours on the tour bus. Then you say, "I didn’t do one thing to contribute to his success, so why would I be entitled to a share of his wealth?"

But the truth is you did, and so did I and every other American tax payer. Who do you think payed for those roads his tour bus rode on? We likely paid for his education where he learned to read and write. Who paid for the military to allow him to work under this freedom? Has he played any arenas? Most of those are at least partly built through public financing.

Does that mean I want the government to take a majority of his money so he can't buy a $400,000 car? No. But there is a reasonable amount expected to pay forward for the next country music star in the making riding his tour bus around.

We still had rich country music stars under Ronald Reagan when the top income brackets were paying more than they are now.

Then you say, "My problems aren’t his fault. And my problems aren’t McDonald’s fault or Home Depot’s fault or Walmart’s fault, either. My problems are my fault!"

As someone who lives a relatively trouble free life I wish that was true. And there are people who abuse the system. I have seen them first hand. But that doesn't mean everyone does. It doesn't mean we throw out helping everyone because someone might abuse that.

But I have also seen the kids growing up in the not so nice part of town, attending crumbling schools, with parents who suck. And they will have to work a lot harder to get where I am than I ever did growing up in my middle class small town.

Perhaps the main thing I see you doing as a Christian author, as someone who sells his programs to churches, is you remove God from the equation.

Hopefully your bazillion dollar country music star friend never thanked God at the CMAs. Because as you regularly point out in your piece, it was your friends work, dedication, talent that made this possible. Because if we put God into the mix then we might have to admit that I am somehow more blessed than someone else. We would have to deal with "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."

We can ignore those teachings about everything being God's and us being stewards. As you point out, what I have I have because of myself. And what problems you have, they are your problems, your fault.

By the way, you may be shocked to learn that a lot of the Occupy Wall Street people agree with you about God not playing a role in a person's success or failure.

So to summarize, I still like you, but I was not very impressed with your article. It came off as whinny and "I've got mine and FU." It didn't strike me as very patient or kind. It came off as arrogant and bragging.

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