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What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty
Financial advisor Dave Ramsey is also an evangelical Christian.
November 30th, 2013
09:59 AM ET

What Dave Ramsey gets wrong about poverty

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, special to CNN 

(CNN)– Dave Ramsey is rich. And he makes his living telling other evangelical Christians how they can get rich, too.

Host of a nationally syndicated radio program and author of multiple best-selling books, Ramsey targets evangelical Christians with what he calls a “biblical” approach to financial planning, one that focuses primarily on the elimination of consumer debt. His for-profit Financial Peace University is billed as “a biblically based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God's ways."

Much of what Ramsey teaches is sound, helpful advice, particularly for middle-class Americans struggling with mounting credit card bills. I have celebrated with friends as they’ve marked their first day of debt-free living, thanks in part to Dave Ramsey’s teachings and all those white envelopes of cash he urges his students to use instead of credit cards.

But while Ramsey may be a fine source of information on how to eliminate debt, his views on poverty are neither informed nor biblical.

Take, for example, a recent article by Tim Corley posted to Ramsey’s website. Entitled “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day,” the article presents some dubious statistics comparing the habits of the rich with the habits of the poor, including:

“70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.”

“76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. 23% of poor do this.”

“63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% of poor people.”

One need not be a student of logic to observe that Corley and Ramsey have confused correlation with causation here by suggesting that these habits make people rich or poor.

For example, a poor person might not exercise four days a week because, unlike a rich person, she cannot afford a gym membership. Or perhaps she has to work two jobs to earn a living wage, which leaves her little time and energy for jogging around the park.

A poor family may eat more junk food, not because they are lazy and undisciplined, but because they live in an economically disadvantaged, urban setting where health food stores are not as available: a so-called “food desert.”

Critics were swift to point out these discrepancies and among the critics were some of Ramsey’s fellow evangelical Christians who also noted that, though the book of Proverbs certainly heralds success as a common return on faithful labor, nowhere does the Bible guarantee that good habits lead to wealth.

The writer of Ecclesiastes observed that "under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all."

And far from having contempt for the poor, Jesus surrounded himself with the needy and challenged the excesses of the rich. “Blessed are you who are poor,” he said, “for yours is the kingdom of God. … But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:24).

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle," Jesus famously said, "than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

It’s hard for the wealthy to flourish in the kingdom that Jesus inaugurated because the economy of that kingdom runs so contrary to the economies of the world. It rewards the peacemakers over the powerful, the humble over the proud, the kind over the cruel, and those who hunger to do the right thing over those whose wealth has convinced them they already are.

Ramsey responded to the pushback with an addendum to the original post calling his critics “ignorant” and “immature” and instructing them to “grow up.”

“This list simply says your choices cause results,” he said, again committing the false cause fallacy. “You reap what you sow.”

The list, he said, applies only to people living in “first world” countries, where Ramsey believes economic injustices are essentially nonexistent. While the poor in developing countries are so as a result of external circumstances beyond their control, the poor in the United States have no one to blame but themselves.

“If you are broke or poor in the U.S. or a first-world economy, the only variable in the discussion you can personally control is YOU,” Ramsey says. “You can make better choices and have better results.”

America, he argues, has prospered as a direct result of its “understanding and application of biblical truths” which have led to “life-changing industry, inventions and a standard of living never known before on this planet.”

“There is a direct correlation,” he concludes, “between your habits, choices and character in Christ and your propensity to build wealth.”

For Christians, Ramsey’s perceived “direct correlation” between faith and wealth should be more troubling than his other confused correlations, for it flirts with what Christians refer to as the prosperity gospel, the teaching that God rewards faithfulness with wealth.

Ramsey’s particular brand of prosperity gospel elevates the American dream as God’s reward for America’s faithfulness, the spoils of which are readily available to anyone who works hard enough to receive them.

But such a view glosses over the reality that America was not, in fact, founded upon purely Christian principles (unless one counts slavery, ethnic cleansing, gender inequity, and Jim Crow as Christian principles), so we should be careful of assuming our relative wealth reflects God’s favor. (The Roman Empire was wealthy, too, after all.)

It also glosses over the reality that economic injustice is not, in fact, limited to the developing world but plagues our own country as well.

When medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the United States, there are systemic injustices at work.

When people working 40-hour weeks at minimum wage jobs still can’t earn enough to support their families, there are systemic injustices at work.

When approximately 1% of Americans hold 40% of the nation’s wealth, there are systemic injustices at work.

When the black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for the past 50 years, there are systemic injustices at work.

And throughout Scripture, people of faith are called not simply to donate to charity, but to address such systemic injustices in substantive ways.

The 17-year-old girl who lives in a depressed neighborhood zoned for a failing school system who probably won’t graduate because her grades are suffering because she has to work part-time to help support her family needs more than a few audio books to turn things around.

People are poor for a lot of reasons, and choice is certainly a factor, but categorically blaming poverty on lack of faith or lack of initiative is not only uninformed, it’s unbiblical.

God does not divide the world into the deserving rich and the undeserving poor. In fact, the brother of Jesus wrote that God has “chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him” (James 2:5).

God does not bless people with money; God blesses people with the good and perfect gift of God’s presence, which is available to rich and poor alike.

And that’s good news.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "Evolving in Monkey Town" and "A Year of Biblical Womanhood." She blogs at rachelheldevans.com. The views expressed in this column belong to Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Business • Christianity • Ethics • evangelicals • Faith • Leaders • Money & Faith • Opinion

soundoff (2,299 Responses)
  1. Jon

    I cannot disagree with this article more.

    Dave Ramsey's teaching is not about getting rich it's about having the right habits so you can get out of debt and save for the future. He teaches you to do things like don't use credit cards so you don't buy that tv you can't afford and setting a target for when you want to get out of debt and making a plan to put away money every month to get there.

    What are you implying with the verses you sited? Are you saying that a person who exercises such restrained is now unfavorable with Jesus and will have a harder time going to heaven? And the person who decides to buy that tv is now a saint and "hungers to do the right thing"?

    Also, it's clear from the quote you sited that Dave is saying you can only control yourself so you have to choose what you are going to do to change your life. He's not saying that there are no injustices in the US at all. That is a completely different thing.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  2. OhYeah

    Unless you've steeped into a mans skin and walked around in it a few days, you are in no position to judge him or presume what you believe to be his best course of action.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  3. Mike

    It seems more people on here are concerned with ripping into sound advice than taking responsibility for their own lives. Eventually, we will have squeezed out the middle class and there will be no one left to pay the bills. Everyone who thinks that doing everything their own way instead of following the moral and ethical codes we've been given (in the bible) will be left wondering where we went wrong.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Gord

      "taking responsibility for their own lives" is antithetical to Christianity. Your suggestion is very un-Christian of you.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • Jim

        Snoozers.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:43 am |
        • Ben

          Wow, cutting response there, Jim. You must have passed at least 1st grade. Now let mommy take the keyboard back from you.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  4. Keith

    Its not that people who work a 40 hr job can afford to support their family cause they don't get paid enough, but rather cause they buy things they don't need and rack up debt. The young 20 something at McDonalds could support his family if they didn't put $1000 rims on their beater of a car, they could support their family if they didn't go and buy a 65" TV to watch the PPV fight they just ordered....the list goes on. People need to quit saying they don't get enough.....and learn that they should make due with what they have, OR make a move to better their situation rather than buying luxuries they can't afford

    December 1, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • RV

      Keith,

      You should look up the budget that McDonald's put out itself. Even they acknowledge the need for a second job while not accounting for needed goods, like groceries.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Hawk in Texas

      Keith you have no idea what you are talking about, plus you are being racist by your comment on the wheels for a car.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • sanjosemike

      LIVING ON MCD'S WAGES?

      In fairness to the situation Keith, it is usually impossible to live on MCD's wages for income, unless you live in a very inexpensive part of the Country. In the Bay Area of course that is impossible. In some areas of FL, it is possible, but you still would be very poor.

      I think it makes more sense for poor people to improve their English and communication's skills. That said, I know many Hispanic people who have wonderful remodeling and construction skills who do very well. (They also have a very intense work ethic).

      A second income is almost always necessary for fast food employees, unless you can become a manager. But that takes additional skills most FF people don't have, like accounting, managing employees, balancing books, etc.

      Poor people can start out by taking an English-improvement class on line or at a community college. Nobody will hire you when you only speak Ebonics, and use the 12 letter word in your speech. (Not being racist here, just being honest).

      sanjosemike

      December 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
  5. HenryB

    Anything to make a dollar and to appeal to the mindless Christian who are the most un-Christian of all of us.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Ed

      "mindless" and "Christian" are essentially congruent.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:22 am |
      • Fletcher

        so are ignorant and Atheist

        December 1, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  6. Jill

    Dave also advises to stop your 401k contributions while paying off debt and give up your free company match. I totally disagree with this.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • Mike

      Its because the ROI on a 401k will be less than the interest rate on most credit cards or even mortgages. And because you gain peace of mind when you have less bills to worry about. It's financial and psychological. It worked for me. I am a believer.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:25 am |
      • RV

        Company match is a 100% ROI immediately, not to mention any ROI on the actual funds. Ignoring that to pay even 30% interest is a loss of money.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:30 am |
        • Jon

          That's mathematically wrong RV because you have to take into account the entire lifetime of the investment. You cannot take money out of your 401k immediately. For example, if your 401k normally returns 10% and you got a 100% match, that would bump the return to 13% over 30 years (just did calculation in excel really quick). That's much smaller than a 30% credit card loan.

          December 1, 2013 at 10:51 am |
        • jo

          We stopped contributions, paid off $40k of debt, bought a house for cash and are working on a second home, mortgage free. Focus all your powers on the task at hand and stuff gets done.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • RV

          Jon,

          That only works if you also keep the credit card debt for 30 years. Also you can take out the 401k money immediately, you just pay the 10% penalty and taxes.

          So for example,

          I borrow $100 @ 30% interest and put $100 in my 401k with a match

          CC: $100
          401k : $200

          Take the match out immediately, and pay off CC.

          CC: $0
          401k: $100
          Taxes owed: $35 (assuming 25% tax bracket)

          Net $65.

          Do this forever.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  7. Kefty Eaton

    Only someone who has never been broke would say you can not work out or eat or do other self improvement things like read how influence people and make friends or learn leadership skills without having money. Here is a clue the bourgeois writer needs. Anyone can do sit ups pushups burbys crunches and sppedwalking for free just about anywhere. Most of the country has a 99cent store close by where produce is fresher and cheaper than most other places and eating is not expensive. (This means a meat high veggie bean diet). Thrift stores are full of self improvement books and the same books on cd. One of the other things is if you are a christian one of the things you try to do daily is improve yourself and your life in some way. Focus pays off.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  8. I-Dont-Have-A-Humble-Opinion

    Dave is the consummate good ole boy. He's enjoyable to be around, intense at times, but usually as big as life itself.
    He's generous, genuinely caring about those in his sphere of influence, and hot tempered and quite uncaring about your feelings if you're on his bad side.

    Dave Ramsey is not the Devil... He's also not a very good business owner, judge of Character, or someone that I would go to as a Biblical Scholar... and I'd also never let him work on my car... that's a whole other tale!!

    I feel that, though genuine, his program is really only for middle income white Americans who have been naughty with their income.. Once you fall outside of that bracket, well, there's issues with his doctrine.
    I feel that he, like many, bend the scriptures and partial quote scriptures, to fit the product he's selling. His philosophy, while great for those in the 'target area', make people who are struggling due to income deficits, medical conditions, and other areas of socio-economic diversities, feel as though they are second rate in God's eyes, and that the only way to get close to God is through a striving to become wealthy.
    That the only way God shows his blessing is through financial blessings, and that if you're not getting them, it's because you're a sinner (financially speaking.)

    Dave, like his philosophy, is black and white. There is little grey in his world, and that comes through in his teachings. But the issue is, is that this world is 90% grey.
    His doctrine alienates, belittles, and destroys the confidence of anyone who is on the fringes of society. It's a dangerous poison to those it indoctrinates because it removes a strong biblical principle from them, and instill in them a disdain for those in poverty..

    The Bible tells us pretty plainly that we should not strive to be rich. It does not however say if you're rich you're sinning.
    We should strive to be able to care for ourselves, our families, if need be our relatives, and to not be a burden on society.
    If we are loyal and faithful, and God sees in us a generous spirit that he can use, and then HE chooses to bless us financially with wealth because we can spiritually handle it... then GREAT!! ... if He sees that for some reason we could not handle great wealth and keep our spirits, and so chooses to bless us in other ways, GREAT!!

    But saying that if you do x, y will 100% of the time be the result, is foolish in it's inception, and dangerous in it's implication.
    In Christ the Poor and the Rich are on equal ground as long as their hearts are right.
    If you're teaching anything other than that... I just can't support you as being doctrinaly sound.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  9. Yeah but look

    These "food deserts" really don't exist as such. What we really have are food education deserts. Knowing how to cook food deserts. If you want to see what I mean, work the register at a super walmart in a poor area sometime. Watch what people buy who are on food stamps/welfare. Frozen pizza, donuts, sugary cereals, candy, soda pop, frozen tater tots and french fries, frozen dinners...at least 75% of the average grocery order for someone on food stamps is pure crap. Not a vegetable in sight. Not a fruit. You can not tell me that it is because these things are unaffordable because I see the prices they pay for the garbage. A bag of fresh carrotts is less than a dollar. A sack of apples about the same as that 2 liter bottle of soda pop. If you must have potatoes, get a sack of potatoes–you could get two for the price of a sack of frozen french fries. Rice and beans, the ultimate poverty foods, are always cheap...but they aren't on the menu. People have forgotten how to cook and how to eat good food.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • judi

      Oh please….go spread you selfish, hatful, "I am better than you" remarks over at FOX.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:06 am |
      • Yeah but look

        Where did I say anything of the kind? The only person behaving in this way presently is you, Miss "go over to Fox." Did I hit a nerve? Do you blow all of your food stamps on soda pop and frozen pizza this week? Please articulate which part of what I said is incorrect.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:22 am |
      • Yeah but look

        ...and I've never been full of hat even once in my life, for your information.

        December 1, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • Pangie

      I've not read the DR article being discussed- but having been poor and uneducated about food choices in the past- I can tell you I survived off of junk food when I could have been buying healthy food. Eating so much crap for so many years probably caused some of the medical problems I had. I

      December 1, 2013 at 10:08 am |
      • Yeah but look

        I'm pretty sure a lot of people could tell that story.

        December 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  10. thinker

    Christians offering advice on money is laughable. How about the billions they spend building places of worship that only get used for a few hours a week. These buildings like cathedrals etc. take up alot of space and only function for a fraction of the week. Now that's a waste of money.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Pangie

      Are you referring to Churches? A few hours a week is laughable. At my church we host classes, children's activities, community meals, I could go on. I'd say the building is rarely not being used. Your argument is invalid.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:09 am |
      • Jim

        Thinker should change his name to predictable.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:14 am |
        • Gord

          Jim should change his name to ad hominem.

          December 1, 2013 at 10:31 am |
        • Jim

          Solid Gord. I am just so bored of the atheistic opinion I don't want to waste more energy on it then I have too. So much safer.

          December 1, 2013 at 10:41 am |
        • Sue

          Jim, from your posts, it looks more like you lack the fortitude as well as the ability to put together any substantial criticism of the atheist viewpoints. You are welcome to try, but so far you show no evidence of being able to do much other than sling insults and condescension. We could say in return, that what you have shown so far is very typically Christian of you.

          December 1, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Voluble_Windbag

      Private Money may be used and "wasted" as desired.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:14 am |
      • Claimsneedevidence

        If it's all private money why do churches want tax exempt status?

        December 1, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Who to follow

      Yeah- really smart thought here Thinker. I would rather take the advice of some moronic politician who all they can think about when they run out of money is "Let's raise the debt ceiling!" Money management has nothing to do with being a Christian or Hindu or Atheist or whatever...It's about being wise enough and responsible enough to manage the money we have, which would explain why our country is in the position it is in.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:26 am |
      • RV

        I'm pretty sure you don't know what the debt ceiling is if you believe that's how it works or its purpose.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  11. Bill Davis

    Your body is like a temple, you taker care of it, and it will take care of you...
    Junk food, junk actions are just like weds in a garden, taking away the better life,

    December 1, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  12. Roberto

    My wife and I have listen to the show and we've both commented that the folks who call in with their stories and questions have a common factor. THey make stupid financial decisions for the most part.

    We've been financially fit for decades and we've done it without the help of the Dave Ramsey's of the world based upon common sense techniques for money management. Here's a few:

    1. Spend less than you make.
    2. Invest in knowledge.
    3. If a deal seems to good to be true, it is.
    4. Education is the best investment you can make in yourself.

    I retired @ 51 years because of those princicples.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • thinker

      Notice a common thread here, these Christians who take his advice need help because they aren't educated. And if they were educated, they would less likely be Christian.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:02 am |
    • judi

      Also: don't get divorced, don't have kids, don't lose a job, don't have a severe medical emergency, don't be female, don't be a victim of a tragic natural disaster, don't get old, don't give you kids any help when they have educational or financial problems, don't be any race but white, don't be any religion besides "Christian", ……..

      fixed it for you.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:10 am |
      • Fletcher

        "Don’t get divorced, don't have kids, don't lose a job, don't have a severe medical emergency,"
        Ramsey probably spends 30% of his time speaking to these issues. Most of what he talks about is preparing for the future, a future that contains these possibilities, so you must save and be ready.
        “don't be female, “
        Please demonstrate where he says anything like this. You cannot. He has a lot of specific advice for women, single moms, and single dads. This flippant remark has no basis In fact
        “don't be a victim of a tragic natural disaster, :
        Again, much of what he talks about is preparing for disasters in life, natural or man made
        “don't get old,”
        He has written entire books about preparing for retirement
        “don't give you kids any help when they have educational or financial problems”
        If you mean, don’t bankrupt yourself for your children, then you are right. He advocates saving for college and educating your children on how to handle money. But we could have an intelligent discussion about how much help is appropriate. But it would require you to be thoughtful and logical.
        “don't be any race but white, don't be any religion besides "Christian", ……..”
        These two are just idiotic and ignorant. Please offer a single shred of real evidence this is true. And if you can’t, shame on you for casually libeling him

        Fixed it for you.

        December 1, 2013 at 11:05 am |
      • Roberto

        How about don't have 8 kids if you can only afford 2? How about having insurance in case you have a mediucal emergency. If you get divorced, invest in a good lawyer. Make sure you have insurance before the natural disaster.

        You see Judi, most of it is good planning, not luck. If you can't afford something, don't get it. Whether it's kids or a giant pickup truck.

        December 1, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  13. 3eyedjohnny

    Ramsey at times is a PITA and other times his advice is superficial and shallow. However, the author of this hatchet piece is an absolute idiot. One doesn't need to join a gym to exercise – walking is free. Books, CD's etc are free at the local library.
    I've been poor and I've been not poor. I was raised on welfare and until my mom understood that welfare is a trap, a prison, an endless abyss of pain and misery we were destined to repeat the same lunacy.
    So Rachel get your head out of the clouds and do some real research.

    Actually, I haven't been poor because there aren't poor people in the USA. We simply believe because someone has more than us we're poor – that's not poverty that is envy.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      No poor, just the envious?
      Trolling right?

      December 1, 2013 at 10:08 am |
    • arkywildcat

      Walking might be free, but not if one lives in a drug infested neighborhood, where gun play is frequent and random.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • Pangie

      ^agree

      December 1, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Link

      Right on.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:34 am |
      • Link

        (Three eyes)

        December 1, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Christine

      It is so sad to see professing Christians rip apart other professing Christians and in this case Mrs. Evans is in the wrong. You don't need a gym to workout, you don't need to live by a Whole Foods to eat healthy and you certainly don't have to continue to be "poor". It is all about personal responsibility and choices and Mrs. Evans has chosen to speak ill of a man that gives great advice for changing bad or unproductive habits. Grow up Mrs. Evans, Dave's sound advice is the reason I am no longer poor and finally able to give like never before.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:40 am |
  14. PeterVN

    Ramsey always reminds me of a favorite quote:

    "Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the stupid, and the cowardly, and for those who would profit from them."

    He's clearly on the profit side, and just loving the gullible all the way to the bank.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Jim

      Ugh. So boring. It would be much more refreshing if you thought for yourself.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  15. Ben Johnson

    So, the bottom line is that even though Dave Ramsey is right, she doesn't like him anyway.
    Move on, there's nothing to see here.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • judi

      Have a comprehension problem, or just RW?

      December 1, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Jim

      Fellow Christians who disagree with this opinion piece should read it again but with a more objective eye. I, too, thought it was going to be an attack on Christianity, but after reading it is clear that Ms. Evans is challenging the thinking that America is a nation under God when it is not, at least not any more. I have studied under Dave Ramsey and he has helped me to execute on common sense decisions that I would have not done otherwise, but to profess that in this morally bankrupt country we can all avoid poverty is jingoistic, narrow-minded and flat out wrong. Our system fails thousands of Americans every day as it rewards greed which has led to wide spread corruption and a pandemic abuse of power. And until we go back to a true nation under God it is only going to get worse. The United States is not much unlike the Roman Empire and I believe our trajectory is following suit as well.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:17 am |
      • Sue

        That is exactly what you pasted on the last page, Jim, so again, I'll respond:

        Wrong, Jim. You have no causal connection there. I think that it is partly the belief that some sky creature is going to save you that is a part of the problem.

        People need to work to fix their own problems and to use reason, not rely on some god for which there is no evidence – although that isn't the whole solution. I'm suggesting that the problem does not rest entirely in flaws in the "system", but also with individuals, and their unsupportable beliefs and expectations.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • Jim

          You are correct, Sue, I cut and pasted from the other page. Too lazy to re-write my opinion. You and I can debate the existence of God all we want, but I am speaking to fellow believers who feel that this country is a Christian nation when it is not. There are far more of you then there are of us, and your numbers continue to grow. We Christians should not equate the USA with Christ and/or hope. I think you would agree with that.

          December 1, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  16. Nancy

    David Ramsey gives good advice. I doubt he knows the details of the lives of some poor people. The transportation, childcare issues, the hinderances. If you are a guy going to work in a poor neighborhood and you get stopped by the police everyday due to the quotas they have to fill for stop-and-frisk, that is going to hinder you getting to work. Some guys have gotten stopped 50 times due to how they look (young, minority). If the police don't stop a certain amount of guys, the officer will not get a good job evaluation or promotion. And those hinderances are real. However, poor people do spend too much money on haircare, due to constantly being told you are less than. Like Suze Orman says, people spend MORE when they feel LESS THAN. I like Suze better than David Ramsey. But I do like both of them.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  17. Anna

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ&w=640&h=390]

    December 1, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Robert Jones

      If you ever listened to his radio program, he isn't very sympathetic to those who have financial problems. Is it their fault? Perhaps in many cases it is...in others, they are victims of the economy like many people have been. I find it rather hypocritical of him to discourage someone from bankruptcy to save their home while he has filed himself. Sometimes people are in a corner and have no other choice and shouldn't be condemned.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  18. pockafrusta

    Dave Ramsey is wealthy because he takes money matters seriously. He teaches people HOW TO GET OUT OF DEBT... which is sorely missing from our society that is DROWNING in debt.

    The writer would do more justice in spreading that message instead of arguing semantics. Regardless, free advertising for Dave Ramsey.

    December 1, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • RV

      Paradox of Thrift, or Fallacy of Composition if you wish.

      December 1, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  19. $TEWpidonomics

    1. The rich do more drugs / and die from them.. prescription and otherwise.
    2. "low income".. minimum wage earners with kids are in the 100% tax bracket... At minimum wage they receive other streams of tax free cash flow... so when you raise the minimum wage those other streams go away.. net ZERO.
    3. Single Soccor Mom at $28000 a year nets the same amount as married soccor mom at $56000.... insane.
    4. The college of taxable knowledge is more important than budgeting / or debt elimination.
    5. Debt elimination... no way around it .. the feds and states are cranking up debt way faster than you could any day of the week.. YOUR personal portion over $100k and doubling every 3 years.

    Ramsey provides plenty of America's News that's Stewpid:
    Doesn't apply
    Obsolete
    Outright Lie
    Propaganda

    aka D.O.O.P. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 1, 2013 at 9:19 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.