Financial planning the ‘Washington Way’… or, ‘Do as we say, not as we do’…

Do you believe in irony?

The government provides debt counseling before you take out a federal student loan, to ensure that poor college students are educated on debt management and don’t end up drowning in student loans for the rest of their lives.

Washington could learn a lot...

However, Washington seems to live by the motto, “do as I say, not as I do” when it comes to its own spending habits. Take the below quiz to see if you can match Washington’s debt counseling advice with its own actions.

“Managing your spending is key to minimizing debt.” Has Washington managed its spending recently?

Yes: In the last year, Washington has tightened its belt and is running a budget surplus for the first time in 5 years.

No: The United States has run a budget deficit for seven out of the last ten months, and currently has an overall budget deficit of $608 billion.

“The first step to managing spending is to borrow less.” Has Washington followed this advice?

Yes: Washington has drastically reduced its spending since the recession began in December 2007, helping to lower the national debt and balance the budget.

No: In 2013 alone, the federal government borrowed one-fifth of every dollar spent.

When applying for a federal student loan, you’re asked “whether your budget is realistic.” Is Washington’s budget realistic?

Yes: Washington essentially lives within its means, only spending what it takes in.

No: Washington spent much of the last four years without a budget, and in 2013 alone, the Government Accountability Office identified billions in wasteful and duplicative government spending.

You can “only borrow up to the school’s cost of attendance.” Washington has a debt limit as well, but does it adhere to this limit on borrowing?

Yes: Washington has a debt ceiling, and stops borrowing before it hits that number.

No: Washington has a debt ceiling, but in the last 10 years, it’s raised the debt ceiling 12 times in order to continue borrowing and spending.
(The correct answer to each question above is NO.  However, if you missed any of these questions and answered with a YES, you are obviously qualified immediately for a well-paying government job. )
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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