Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Dave Ramsey says more people worry about finances, perhaps thinking that politicians will improve their fortunes

Financial guru Dave Ramsey advises millions of Americans to gain wealth by paying off debt, via his weekly radio show, a book, and classes. He says he's worried about what he's hearing these days from people who are in debt, Tim Alberta writes for Politico. Ramsey's radio show is the third-most popular on the airwaves, right behind Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and has an obvious appeal to rural Red-Staters with his Tennessee accent, homespun sayings and bootstrappy approach to financial discipline. Perhaps coincidentally, high personal debt tends to cluster in rural and disproportionately rural areas such as the Central Appalachian coalfields, the Mississippi Delta, the Black Belt in the South, and rural Texas. (Politico map from Urban Institute data)

Map colors show each county's percentage of population that is the target of at least one debt collector.
Ramsey told Alberta that he hears from a lot more people, both Democrats and Republicans, who are terrified about their finances than when he started his radio show 25 years ago, and said part of it is because people seem to have lost hope in their ability to dig themselves out of financial problems, instead looking to the government to fix things. He believes the elections of both Trump and Obama were driven by voters' beliefs that their candidate would increase their financial security, a notion Ramsey scoffs at, but believes is a direct consequence of the Great Recession.

"I now have to spend more time talking someone into believing they control their own destiny than I used to,” Ramsey told Alberta. "I don’t know if I blame that all on 'hope and change' from Obama, or 'Make America Great Again.' They’re both hope slogans. Different ideologies, different politics, but both hope slogans: I’m going to deliver something for you that you can’t do for yourself."

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