A good long while ago, money was identified as the last taboo. I'm not sure by whom. In 2005, Liz Perle wrote a book, Money, a Memoir: Women, Emotions, and Cash., which was reviewed in Maclean's Magazine under the title, Women and Money: the Last Taboo which suggested that not talking about money is a problem peculiar to women.
One theme that recurred was that women tend to associate money, consciously or not, with love. "For most of recorded history, we weren't allowed to have money of our own," Perle writes. "Our path to financial security lay through men." This legacy, she says, is one reason that even confident, successful women like her have been known to hand over responsibility for money matters to the men in their lives. Being taken care of - being loved - in that way is still something of an unspoken cultural ideal.
But, the current economic crisis has made it clear that it's not just women who shy away from confronting the issue of money. Which may well account for why financial predators have been so successful relieving everyone of it.
Why this should be is a little hard to fathom. After all, as Shira Boss points out,
It's Time To Break the Money Taboo
The Bible has plenty to say about money. Why are pastors and religious communities silent about it?
Scripture has plenty to say about wealth, poverty, making money, giving it away, what is virtuous about having money, and also how love of it can be our downfall. Bauman reports that one-sixth of Jesus' words recounted in is the Gospels address money. Only the Kingdom of God, he says, is a more popular topic.
But, I'm not here to preach a sermon, only to point out that money needs more attention. Indeed, it's one of the things our new hero, Rep. Alan Grayson, of Florida has been focusing on. And finding where the money from the U.S. Treasury went during the bailout of the banks is one of the reasons he's suggesting that Ben Bernanke not be confirmed for a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve until he tells us more than that it went to fourteen foreign central banks, including the Central Bank of New Zealand.
Just coincidentally, Bloomberg is reporting today that the U.S. dollar is again worth less, relative to the New Zealand dollar. So, why exactly did we exchange three billion of our dollars with New Zealand? That's not a question I'm capable or even interested in asking. But, Grayson thinks an answer is important. Oh, and Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont wants to have the Federal Reserve audited by the GAO and has a bill in the hopper to bring the Fed into the sunshine and the twentyfirst century. S. 604. It seems the Federal Reserve is exercising authorities it was given in 1913.
Other money matters in the news include an announcement from President Obama that, since the drop of the consumer price index, to which Social Security payments are linked, means that there's no automatic increase in pensions for 2010, he's proposing that each retiree get a little bonus of $250 to help with necessities.
Since the money sent to Wall Street seems to have been sequestered by the gnomes, sending lump sums to our elderly and mostly frugal population makes eminently more sense. At least they'll use the money to lubricate the economic engine and, maybe even change the oil in their cars, so they'll last longer.
No doubt Republicans will raise a clamor about where the money comes from. Perhaps we should remind them that the bailout money is due to be repaid.
Also, the IRS seems to be doing good getting some rich people to pay up as the Wall Street Journal reports today, the end of the amnesty period:
IRS Touts Its Amnesty, Trains Sights on Evaders
By LAURA SAUNDERS
The Internal Revenue Service said more than 7,500 U.S. taxpayers with undeclared offshore accounts had stepped forward under its limited amnesty program, and the agency announced a new push to stop tax evaders from moving funds between foreign countries.
The accounts ranged in size from just above $10,000 to more than $100 million and were in several hundred banks in 70 countries, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said. Several years ago, only 1,300 taxpayers stepped forward under a similar program.
Clearly, our moneyed elite are feeling more patriotic than they did! Thanks be to God, etc.
The Obama budget also calls for funding for an additional 800 IRS agents.
Never mind that Wall Street is on track to award record pay. That report is available only to subscribers. But, it does seem worth noting that the verbiage has shifted from "bonus" to "record pay." Lets just hope it will all be taxed at a fair rate.
Well, that looks like enough about money to get you started. Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments. Perhaps there's some good news here.
"Button, button, who's got the button?" If you haven't got a button, your britches will fall down.