When I get in the car after The Mister has been in it, the radio is almost always changed to newstalk/conservative radio. I tend to leave it on my FM transmitter or NPR. I’m saying this to preface the conversation regarding Dave Ramsey we’re about to have and how I have never gone out of my way to listen to him but I have listened to him.

His approach is interesting and it works. Obviously it works. Families have been saved by Financial Peace University. The radio show, though. Debt-free screaming. Ew. I just can’t. If it’s not someone with a HUGE income, just pissing it away, it’s someone with a huge income following his guidelines and celebrating.

This is fine. Yay people making money and getting out of debt. Unfortunately, our buddy Dave doesn’t seem to understand poverty, living in it, or struggling to get and stay out of it.

His advice on how to get out of debt is sound and it works for a lot of people. But he’s rich and he’s made his fortune telling rich-to-middle-class Christians how to escape their debt and build wealth. I’m sure he’s a good man. I’m willing to bet money (that I don’t currently have) that he donates to charity and he’s made the lives of many families so much better by doing the work he does.

However. Things I have heard him say about being poor in the American economy are along the lines of “grow up”, “make more money”, and “you reap what you sow.” To those struggling, this evangelical capitalist sounds like a smug butthole. The tough love seems callous and uninformed.

When someone on his show is able to save and pay off more money than I make in three years that’s not inspiring. That’s discouraging. You know that phrase “beyond my wildest dreams”? That’s what it is for lots of us. We would be happy to hoot and holler about not needing to sit down and brace ourselves for the power bill.

How do you engage in gazelle intensity when you’re already not going on vacation, not going to the doctor, not buying new clothes, not paying every bill on time every month? We can feel cheetah breath on our neck, Dave! These are things we need to write about and talk about here in the Just-Getting-By American population. Beyond couponing and menu planning. Beyond being compared to prey. What do we do about systemic injustice?

How about some Puma Mindfulness, Grizzly Dauntlessness, and Rhino Indomitability?

I will always link back to this post if I mention Dave Ramsey or talk about something he is known for (ie, Budget Envelopes). I don’t want readers to get the wrong idea. I’m not endorsing the man or his products but if they work for you, I’m not knocking them either.

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