I stayed up tonight to watch Jim Cramer on The Daily Show. For the most part Jim Cramer just sat and nodded his head while Jon Stewart calmly and rationally criticized a financial news network that makes a game of making money. At one point while Cramer attempted to justify his antics, Stewart said, “I know you want to make finance exciting, but it’s not a f*cking game.”
Later he railed on CNBC for airing shows that make people believe they’ll become rich with very little effort.
“Isn’t that part of the problem selling this idea that you don’t have to do anything. Anytime you sell people the idea that… sit back and you’ll get 10 to 20% of your money, don’t you always know that that’s gonna be a lie. When are we gonna realize in this country that our wealth is work. That we’re workers and by selling this idea of ‘hey man, I’ll teach you to be rich,’ how is that different from an infomercial.”
I played this clip at least two or three times, because I completely concur with the sentiment. I honestly believe that a big portion of our society has somehow been brainwashed into believing they’ll become millionaires through get rich quick schemes. Maybe this was brought into the forefront during the dot-com boom. Somehow people have come to believe that one lame-brain idea will earn you millions and millions of dollars and all you have to do is create the idea and then step away before others realize your idea is not quite so brilliant after all.
I’m with Jon Stewart on this one. I think there are far too many people out there lured in by the idea of making a whirlwind of money for very little effort. After all, how lazy can you be to think that you’ll become a millionaire by purchasing a home and sitting it in, and isn’t this part of the reason the housing market is now in so much trouble? We now have an inordinate number of homes on the market, in part, because of investors who overbuilt and flipped homes.
I can’t tell you how many people I personally know who honestly believe they’ll make money from some ‘get quick rich’ scheme or who previously thought they’d make hundreds of thousands of dollars off the equity in their homes.
I hope that this recession will bring people back down to earth. Of course, a few people will become millionaires by selling brilliant ideas, but most of us will have to learn to save money and live within our means.