So, Dave Ramsey...

dave_ramsey_ourteam this guy who makes his living giving other people financial advice.

And a lot of what he says has common sense and empirical evidence backing it up.[1]

But a lot of what he says reflects a smug I-am-richer-therefore-better-than-you attitude coupled with arrogant pig-ignorance on what it means to be poor in this country.

He recently posted a list from fellow blog-roller Tom Corley called "20 Things the Rich Do Every Day" which demonstrated to their satisfaction why God loves rich white people like them more than he loves poor non-whites. [2]

Here, let's dip our hands into their steaming hot mess:

2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.  (Maybe because the poor can't afford to hire gardeners and house cleaners and cooks and nannies and chauffeurs and accountants to take care of the day to day minutia such as jumping through hoops to make enough to eat and keep a roof over their heads.)

8. 80% of wealthy make Happy Birthday calls vs. 11% of poor.  (Wouldn't have anything to do with the wealthy having support staff to remind them of such things, or placing those calls not because they give a flying fnck about the person on the other end but just want to stay networked with them for future business deals, or when there is a no-strings attached personal reason they're calling people who are also wealthy enough to afford to live somewhere else and not just down the street like many poor people's relations & friends.)

11. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% of poor.  (Which speaks volumes about how much you can trust wealthy people, doesn't it?)

15. 44% of wealthy wake up three hours before work starts vs. 3% of poor.  (Because heaven knows sitting behind a desk ordering people about willy-nilly, playing slickee boi tricks to line your pockets, and being able to set your own pace and schedule is just like trudging across town in sub-zero weather to stand behind a fast food counter.)

I picked four out of twenty points, but I'm not being unfair.  They're all like that.

It would be bad enough if Ramsey was some money-grubbin' power-mad Randian who wished all the not-mes would shrivel up and die; that would be at least part & parcel with that psychopathic philosophy.

But Ramsey purports to be a Christian.

"Over the last two decades, my company has taught people what the Bible says about money...I have railed on things where the poor are oppressed in our culture—things like payday lending, rent-to-own, or our own government-sponsored oppression, the lottery...Because of this, I am amazed at how many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have attacked us because of a simple list posted on our website. Maybe it shouldn’t amaze me in our Twitter culture—where immature people now study, reflect, research and communicate in only 140 characters—yet it still does. The piece in question is a simple list outlining the habits of the poor versus the habits of the rich. It could just as easily have been a different list of the habits of the obese versus the habits of the physically fit."

Because it's not a simple list, and it certainly doesn't list things that are indeed genuine self-defeating behaviors.[3]

"This list simply says your choices cause results. You reap what you sow. Is the research perfect? No. It is a small sample, but it does pass the common-sense smell test. Does this research or the reason for posting it have anything to do with third-world countries? No. Anyone with good walking-around sense can see that this is a first-world discussion. Is this list a way of hating the poor? Seriously? Grow up."

Except that none of the cited differences in behavior are the cause of the wealthy being wealthy and the poor being poor, but rather the results of the wealthy being wealthy and the poor being poor.

You are blaming the victim, Dave, saying in effect "most healthy people don't spit up large volumes of blood vs many dying people who do" as if all the dying person has to do is simply decide to no longer hemorrhage internally and they'll be on their way to a full recovery in no time.[4]

Wanna know what poor people's lives are like, Dave?  Ask Linda Tirado, why doncha?

"Poverty is bleak and cuts off your long-term brain. It's why you see people with four different babydaddies instead of one. You grab a bit of connection wherever you can to survive. You have no idea how strong the pull to feel worthwhile is. It's more basic than food. You go to these people who make you feel lovely for an hour that one time, and that's all you get. You're probably not compatible with them for anything long-term, but right this minute they can make you feel powerful and valuable. It does not matter what will happen in a month. Whatever happens in a month is probably going to be just about as indifferent as whatever happened today or last week. None of it matters. We don't plan long-term because if we do we'll just get our hearts broken. It's best not to hope. You just take what you can get as you spot it."

Try walking a mile in the shoes of a non-white working poor person, which is easy to do because most of them can't afford cars, much less chauffeurs.[5]

"There is a direct correlation between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth in non-third-world settings. To dispute that or attribute hate to that statement is immature and ignorant."

Wait -- whoa -- what?!?!?  "Character in Christ" = "propensity to build wealth"?!?!?  Are we talking about the same Christ who taught “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions”


"Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven"


"where your treasure is, there your heart will be also"


"it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God"


 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money"?

There's a place for sound financial counseling, and there are doubtlessly specific tips and techniques that help people who are in poverty to break some of the bonds -- self-imposed or thrust on them from above -- that hold them down.

But Dave, that ain't what you're doing...

...and the beam in your eye is just too big for you to see that.




[1]  Such as paying off small debts first so you have more resources to bring to bear on larger debts.

[2]  And while we're at it, a big Bronx cheer for you, too, Tom.

[3]  Such as the aforementioned payday lending, rent-to-own, the lottery; all of which are brought about by better positioned predators to exploit the poor (but no matter, point taken).

[4]  Ben Irwin responds to Ramsey's thesis, deconstructing them point by twenty point.  Frankly, I think Irwin's response to Ramsey can be summed up thusly:

animated butch boot

[5]  "My wife and I started our lives with almost nothing, eating off a card table and driving two cars that did not total $2,000 in value."

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