Last night, I was invited to appear on Fox Business Network's Money with Melissa Francis to discuss the following story about Americans' personal savings:
28% of Americans Have No Savings
Nearly half of Americans -- 49 percent --don't have enough emergency savings to cover three months expenses - up from 46 percent last year, according to research released Monday by Bankrate.com. Only one quarter of the people surveyed said they had saved six months' expenses, the generally recommended cushion, according to Bankrate.com, a Web-based financial content provider. That figure climbed by one percentage point compared to last year.
It turns out that these numbers are actually improved over 2006, when the economy was humming along; people tend to save more and husband their resources during economic downturns. My first reactions to this story were (a) to take inventory of my own savings to see how I stack up, and (b) to think through some back-of-the-envelope calculations about how I can allocate a responsible percentage of my income in future years. Beyond that, I ruminated over the long-term trend of far too many Americans living far above their means in "fat" years, which can have a devastating impact when lean times unexpectedly hit. Only then did I finally consider politics and the government -- and only in the context of the horrific budgeting example Washington is setting for its citizens. When the segment began, the first question went to David Mercer, a Democratic strategist. He seemed like a pleasant enough fellow when we chatted off the air, but once the lights were on, Mercer spun the conversation into a dizzying tornado of DNC talking points:
Remember, this segment was supposed to be about Americans' personal savings. What this gentleman wanted it to be about was Bain Capital's "outsourcing," and Big Oil. Needless to say, the intended discussion was completely derailed. This is how the Left will operate for the next four months -- with a series of loud, indignant, cheap shots and non-sequiturs designed to detract from topics they'd prefer to avoid. Incidentally, the Washington Post fact-checker awarded the Obama campaign 'Four Pinocchios' for its dishonest "outsourcing" attacks, and AEI's Jim Pethokoukis made mincemeat of a subsequent hit piece on the same subject. Mitt Romney helped create well over 100,000 American jobs during his tenure at Bain, a record that Bill Clinton has called "sterling," and former Obama adviser Steve Rattner labeled the company's dealings "superb." As for subsidies to Exxon, or whatever that yelling was about, I'm sure many conservatives would agree that both parties should try to scale back corporate welfare, but the tax treatment the energy industry enjoys is no different from a host of other industries -- so that buzzword-heavy attack was also misleading, in addition to being irrelevant. Also notice that when he condemned "subsidies" for the energy industry, Mercer failed to mention the president's green jobs initiative. I wonder why. Surely it's not because it's been a massive failure; it can't be! Obama just said he wants to "double down" on the program in his second term. Goodie.