No. 756



Every once in a while we all need a good dose of reality. This is necessary to keep our feet solidly on the ground and not get caught up in a steady stream of politics that goes on around us for much of the time. The other day, a friend sent me something that might serve a useful purpose, as it presented a clear case of a good dose of reality.
It seems this middle age man and his wife had a young college-grad granddaughter they loved deeply, and had been there to help financially over some rough spots in her life. This granddaughter, whose name is Ashley, drives a flashy hybrid car, wears all the latest fashions, and loves to go out to nightclubs and restaurants. She also campaigned hard for our nation’s newly elected president. After the election she made sure her grandfather, who did not vote for President Obama, received a big “I told-you-so” earful, on how the world is going to be a much better place now that her party is taking over.
That was then. This is now. Ashley lost both of her roommates and ran short of cash and cannot pay the rent (again) on her three-bedroom townhouse. Like she had done many times in the past, she e-mailed her grandfather asking for some financial help. His response is the dose of reality that I mentioned earlier. In part, here is what he said, “Ashley, you know that I love you dearly and I’m sympathetic to your financial plight. Unfortunately, times have changed. With the election of President Obama, your grandmother and I have had to set forth a bold economic plan of our own… ‘The Ashley Economic Empowerment Plan’.
“Let me explain. Your grandmother and I are lifelong, wage-earning taxpayers. We have lived a comfortable life, as you know, but have never had the fancier things like European vacations, luxury cars, etc. We have worked hard and were looking forward to retiring soon. But the plan has changed. Your president is raising our personal and business taxes significantly. He says it is so he can give our hard-earned money to other people. Do you know what this means, Ashley? It means less for us, and we must cut back on our personal expenses.”
The grandfather goes on to tell her about having to let his wonderful receptionist of 22 years go, and that her grandmother will now have to work four days a week to answer the phone. He also reports that her cousin Frank will no longer be working summers in the warehouse. When he called Frank to tell him, he was upset because he will have to give up skydiving and his yearly trip to Greenland to survey the polar bears.
When I read this, I realized that it was highly partisan and, for the most part, I try to stay away from partisan politics. What tilted my decision in favor of sharing it was the dose of reality aspect that so many people need to hear, regardless of which party is in power and how our nation’s financial fortunes play out.
There is an old saying that goes, “The one who pays the fiddler calls the tune.” There is one thing that our government can do that we, as individuals, can’t do, and that’s print money. When we run out of money we are just out and it’s then that we have to figure out how we are going to get more to pay our bills and live the kind of life we wish to live. Older people who have worked hard and saved money know how they got it. If we choose to give it away that’s benevolence. If someone takes it, that’s robbery. For Ashley, it was a good dose of reality.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)