Thursday, April 17, 2008

Perhaps a Bundle of Money Would Be More Appropriate

Apparently ABC's World News Tonight is undertaking a series called "America's Kitchen Table" or some such thing. As best I can tell, the idea (can you guess it?) is to show us how Actual Real Americans (read: financial skills = questionable) are making it from day to day.

A recent episode cast ABC's spotlight on the Cramers, of Palmyra, PA.

"If Lisa Cramer had her choice, she would be a full-time stay-at-home mom to daughters Kate and Lindsey," ABC tells us. "Her husband Michael, a manager at an auto glass store, would be the breadwinner. But for now, the only way this Palmyra, Pa., family can make ends meet is for Lisa to work three part-time jobs."

ABC News Video: The Cramer's Kitchen Table

For once I'm going to withhold much commentary on the Cramers' situation, and just let the video speak for itself.

One thing we know: The Cramers don't do the Baby Steps.

You'll want to check out the comments, too. As I write this, apparently Ms. Cramer has responded (04-16-08 @ 8:22am) to all those folks posting "negative feed back" and such. (I've saved her purported comment here, in case it gets yanked; more on this below.)

I find it interesting that yesterday morning, when my wife and I first saw this video, there was a comment posted by someone who seemed to indicate that he/she knew the Cramers, and that ABC had conveniently left out a lot of details regarding the story — details that were fairly unflattering to both ABC and the Cramers. That comment, however, was greatly edited sometime during the day, removing the vast bulk of the derogatory info. Then, last night, it was eliminated entirely.

Oh, how I wish I'd have screenshotted it.

Who "edited for content" that comment? The original poster? ABC editors? I dunno. Was it even true? Don't know about that, either. I just find it very, very interesting that a comment like that — specific, detailed, and unflattering as it was — somehow disappeared.

Curiouser and curiouser...

Labels: , ,

— Posted by Michael @ 10:24 AM


After that debacle of a "debate" last night, ABC and Charlie Gibson have zero credibility. But yeah, having a third kid and buying a house don't seem to be the smartest decisions when you're living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Their tax refund and rebate checks should be paying down their debt, not ultimately putting them further in debt by being used as a down payment on a home. I hope they understand that the monthly cost of owning is greater than the monthly cost of renting.

What did the deleted comment have to say about this family?


I find it sad that people are so quick to judge others. The comment from someone who supposedly knew them was probably taken out because it was some idiot who has never known the family but wanted to make them look worse. People get off on that kind of stuff. Yes, this family has a lot to learn but I get by your tone and the tone of many of the commenters on the story that people think this family needs to be judged. They are not taking handouts or going into foreclosure where we all end up paying they are just telling their story. Years ago, I told my story that was similar to their story. I told the story after I got out of debt and shared how I did it. I hoped to help others. It was a story in the newspaper. I was shocked by the comments, people calling me a fat slob (I am a size 4 and 5'6 hardly fat) bashing that I got help from a church program, how I had used their hard earned money(no one knew but through my debt repaying I tithed to that church and still do, equally thousands more than my counseling ever cost). The story became a place for every pompous idiot to spew his/her hate when inside all I wanted to do was let people know they are not alone and hope was possible. This couple probably had hope that kind people would have shared their story of getting out of debt and taught them a thing or two but from what I could see it the comments were mostly ways for people to make themselves look better than them. I just stopped by from Mary Hunt's Blog so maybe I didn't see the real side of your blog but this first article made me never want to return due the very judgmental tone - I will read a bit more before I exit permanently.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 7:50 AM, April 19, 2008  

@ Matt:
Among other things, the deleted comment suggested that the extra jobs taken on by Ms. Cramer were done largely at the behest of ABC News -- because it would create a more sympathetic angle for the story. There was more, but my wife and I will keep the details of what we saw to ourselves.

@ Anon:
I put myself out in the world for judgment every single day. At my job, my performance is scrutinized, as it should be. When I screw up, I hear about it. In my personal and financial life ... well, anyone can read and comment on this blog. The only comments I slice are spam-related. Fair is fair, after all. I comment on others, when the urge strikes; others are free to comment on me in kind.

I don't believe in coddling people. And I certainly see little benefit in creating a sympathy play for folks who apparently have ZERO desire to look critically at their own situation and remedy the ignorance that's put them where they are. I try to apply this logic to individuals, families, businesses, investment banks ... whomever it fits.

For the family in question, putting in an extra 2 or 3 nights per week is a start. But to do so while still making dubious financial decisions (get back to me when the Cramers figure out that owning a house isn't, in fact, cheaper than what they're paying in rent now) and relying on a kind-hearted fate ("The next good thing's just around the corner!") to get out of a financial hole?

That ain't gonna get it done.

** Comments Closed on this Post **

Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
[About Our Debt Paydown]


Savings Goal: $15,000
Currently: ~$15,115
[About Our Liquid Savings Goal]