Tallahassee Democra⁠t⁠: Our Op⁠i⁠n⁠i⁠on: Thr⁠i⁠f⁠t⁠

By: The James Madison Institute / January 20, 2014

The James Madison Institute


January 20, 2014

When you think of the word “thrift,” what comes to mind?Perhaps you think of a thrift store, like Goodwill, where you can’t actually buy thrift but where you might exercise some of its principles. You might think of being careful with your money. You might even give thrift a negative connotation, as in a characteristic of a tightwad or miser.Well, this is the week to be thinking about thrift. Jan. 17 (Ben Franklin’s birthday) through Jan. 23 is National Thrift Week, a time to educate the public on the theory — and benefits — of thrift.The James Madison Institute, a think tank based in Tallahassee that promotes Thrift Week every year, says the foundation of thrift is: “Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can.”The word “thrift” comes from the same root as the word “thrive.” It’s not about refusing to spend money; rather, it’s about the wise use of money. Thus, a thrifty person still can be a borrower and a generous giver. Though it may be counterintuitive, a thrifty person may end up spending more — not greedily stockpiling wealth, but creating it, using it and sharing it.It’s why the Scout Law includes the word “thrifty.”“Being thrifty is a smart strategy to help reach your long-term economic goals,” said Florida CFO Jeff Atwater, who sponsored a resolution, signed by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet, to recognize Thrift Week. “The thrift mentality was once commonplace in American society, and I encourage Floridians to get back to those principles which will ultimately provide more economic freedom.”National Thrift Week was first celebrated in 1916. Over the years, largely depending on the economy, the inclination to be thrifty has waxed and waned.You probably recall that, after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it practically became a patriotic duty to spend money and prove that the terrorists hadn’t won. Today, thrift is hardly built into our economic system, which tempts us with payday loans, lottery tickets and daily letters from credit card companies. It’s easier to get a bank loan than it is to open a savings account for a child.So, each year, the James Madison Institute distributes a publication “All About the Benjamins” to schools throughout the state. (You can get it online at http://bit.ly/1dplmtA.) There’s still time to teach a new generation about thrift.http://www.tallahassee.com/article/20140121/OPINION01/301210001/?nclick_check=1