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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. Steve MoneyPlanSOS Stewart

    I am not poor nor do I pretend to know what it would be like to be poor. I am rich when compared to 90% of the world but not when compared to my own country where most people have access to their own vehicle for transportation, 2+ TVs, and clean water piped into their home. I consider myself well educated, but not equally among my peers where my C+ high school average and lack of a college degree automatically disqualifies me from getting past the 15 second mark when HR looks at my resume. Yet, my wife and I still make a good amount of money, provide for our family, and give more than 10% of our income to charity (which includes the poor).

    Maybe I haven't found it yet but Jesus did not qualify "poor" with a dollar figure or inflation-adjusted net worth. Nevertheless, In this country there are fewer poor people per 100 and much more opportunity for them to at least obtain middle class than ever before.

    I don’t understand the purpose of this article. A good majority of it bashes Dave Ramsey for a study Tim Corley did. He used it to encourage people to change their habits.

    Is this article supposed to convince the poor that they SHOULDN'T try to change their behaviors because it's not their fault? If so then Ms. Evans' message won't be delivered because according to her they are working too much to be able to read her blogpost.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:44 am |
    • Mike

      The point of the article is to exactly what is written in the article.

      1. Do not confuse correlation with causation. Just because the poor don't have certain habits does not mean the habits are the reason they are poor. Correlation/causation confusion is one of the most common rhetorical fallacies used in arguments.

      2. Dave Ramsay has embraced this "study". He not only blames poverty entirely on the people who are poor, but also insinuates they are poor because they aren't good enough Christians. This is not only a Biblically unsupported and dangerous theology, it is the exact opposite of the teaching of Christian scripture.

      December 2, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • Dale

      uhhh, Steve MoneyPlanSOS Stewart....."In this country there are fewer poor people per 100 and much more opportunity for them to at least obtain middle class than ever before."

      Never mind the economic facts. Ever check those actual facts? Put simply, they say "Nah".

      December 2, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  2. Economic Thoughts

    While I was growing up, my dad told me that if you want to be rich, you do what a rich man does. If you want to be poor, then simply do what a poor man does. My dad knew this first hand because he grew up in a well off family but he made some personal decisions that resulted in him having to bust his rear end to earn a meager living. However, he did save his money and even wisely invested his money so that he could retire early from his manual labor job.

    Growing up, I lived in a rickety house that was paid off. I went to college on scholarships and did not have loans. I paid off my 30 year mortgage in under 10 years – on a teacher's salary and I pay for cheaper new cars in cash every couple of years with money that is set aside every month. I have never asked my dad for money as I have never needed to because I was taught that financial independence is the way to go.

    While I am not a church-going Christian, I believe that Dave Ramsey has it right for most health people. If you follow seemingly unrelated Christian principles such as getting married before having kids, not being gluttonous (not just with food but with everything), and not being materialistic, you will find yourself in a much better financial situation. It is just common sense. If you have a bunch of kids before you graduate from high school and you have no job skills to support yourself and your kids, you will be poor. If you drink or abuse drugs, you will be poor. If you are into criminal activities you will end up poor or in jail and poor. Remember that poor also includes poor in spirit. Your choices affect your wealth plain and simple. A rich person who makes poor choices will soon be poor as well.

    I grew up somewhat poor. In the summer, I wore the same pair of cheap flip flops all summer, even after they started to wear out. Guess what, we ate well because my dad grew a garden. He even saved money on seeds because he would save seeds from his previous gardens. Exercise, you bet. If you walk to the bus stop you are exercising. If you do housework, you are exercising. If you garden, you are exercising. You do not need supposed gym memberships and you do not have to run around your neighborhood. Many urban areas are rather unkempt. If you walk around your neighborhood and pick up trash, I bet you will loose some weight and make your neighborhood a little nicer at the same time. You can also did what I did and join the military. That way, you can get all the exercise you want and a personal trainer (aka drill sgt) at no cost.

    See you can either make excuses or make things happen. I could not find a teaching job right out of college so I worked 3 part time jobs and went back to school for another certification which made me marketable. I joined the military at a time when not too many "girls" served. My mom was a high school drop out as well. The odds were against me from the start but I wanted to succeed and have so far. I do not have a mansion. I do not have an expensive car. I do not have designer duds. I do not have a smartphone. However, I do not have credit card debt, outstanding bills, a car payment or even a mortgage. What I do have is peace of mind and financial freedom. Think about money as time. If it takes you 100 hours to earn enough for something, is that 100 hours of your life (time you will never get back) really worth the cost? Turn off the tv/merchandise propaganda. Go to your free local library and read. Don't think about what you do not have and remember that you cannot take even the smallest of your material goods with you when you die.

    December 2, 2013 at 1:05 am |
    • val

      well written, thanks

      December 2, 2013 at 3:27 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      " He even saved money on seeds because he would save seeds from his previous gardens."
      Don't tell Monsanto!

      December 2, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • Economic Thoughts

        You are right about Monsanto. They have been real Grinches with seeds that blow from their fields and they get a patent for everything under the sun.

        December 2, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  3. Pearl B. Lee

    Dear Ms. Rachel Evans, I would recommend that you actually listen to more than one of Dave Ramsey's talks or read about his life history. Mr. Ramsey wasn't always rich; as a matter of fact, he and his wife went bankrupt (mismanagement of money in their 20s) before his discovery of monetary principles in the Bible. Ramsey shares his experiences with other Christians so that they, too, can get out of debt and then be able to use their money to help others. The point is not to be rich and make money.

    Poverty is a complicated issue. But for many Americans with $10,000+ of debt, they simply are not (and do not want to) live within their means. There are pockets of our population that want to "buy what they want, and beg for what they need." I've met people who would rather stay on unemployment than get a job, or take out $10,000 each year of student loans for 10 years so they could "buy their kids Christmas presents."

    You say that the simple fact that medical bills are the #1 reason for bankruptcies in America demonstrates that there are other injustices at play. However, you fail to mention how much of it is due to preventable illnesses caused by obesity. When I was in college, a biology professor (atheist) gave a frightening statistic that 3+ billion dollars were spent each year on preventable illness caused by obesity – that "America was eating itself to death." I think this has more to do with laziness and irresponsibility at play.

    Last, are you a CFA or an economist? or a student of theology? Your article seems like a very shallow and inaccurate assessment of a man and his ministry based on superficial observation and hearsay (random pieces picked up here and there from what your friends have said).

    December 2, 2013 at 12:31 am |
    • VelveteenLady

      In 1998, my husband (at the time) and I attended Ramsey's 13-week workshop at his Brentwood, TN headquarters. Although Ramsey has always implied his Christian beliefs, they never entered into any discussions at the workshop (which, was NOT given by Ramsey). Nor, at that time, did he beat folks over the head with his beliefs, on his radio show, as he now does. As Ramsey has become more well-known, thanks to his FoxBusiness, he has become a Rush Limpballs clone. His rhetoric mirrors that of Limpballs, in the respect that both men look down their noses at those, who are not as fortunate to have been born with a "silver tongue". Regardless of Ramsey's background, it was not hard work that got him his wealth. It's his glibness and his ability to schmooz. I challenge you on your assertion that you have "known people who would rather stay on unemployment than get a job, or take out $10,000 each year of student loans for 10 years so they could 'buy their kids Christmas presents.'" It is more likely that you have formulated your argument out of your own beliefs. I have been on unemployment and it is only a fraction of what I could make working. Did I want to be unemployed? No! And, regarding those parents who take out student loans to purchase presents . . . "If you owe money on a student loan, it doesn't matter how long ago you were in school. A 2005 U.S. Supreme Court case (Lockhart v. U.S.) determined there is no statute of limitations on Social Security offsets to repay student loans. The government can shave off up to 15 percent, provided your remaining monthly benefit doesn't drop lower than $750." They can levy the debtor's possessions, put a lien against real property, attach bank accounts and take tax refunds. Do you seriously believe that folks would rather purchase gifts with student loan funds and risk the wrath of defaulting on the student loans?

      December 2, 2013 at 12:49 am |
      • oldsarg

        I take it you just hate to hate. . .

        December 2, 2013 at 5:55 am |
        • oldsarg

          just like me i'm bitter and twisted and type comments unrelated to the previous

          December 2, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  4. jeremy

    this guy has such a huge ego that it's pitiful! I have actually got some laughs from his reactions to situations. more like comedy lol. suze orman is more tolerable. i'll tune in to her instead. btw, this guy looks like my grandpa, and he was born in the 60's. oh well.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Maude

      Really???? A male ego in radio?!?!? (que exasperated gasp) Say it ain't so!!

      December 2, 2013 at 12:54 am |
  5. Gary

    Rachel- you're sure on the "make excuses for the poor" and pull that old race card as a top excuse as well. It's a real old line and we've heard it before....over and over again. I'm Indian....should I not make anything of my life because my ancestors were persecuted? Poor old me......BS. There is NO EXCUSE to be dirt poor in the USA unless you choose to not better yourself. Period. Mr. Obama would love to have you running one of his programs-you think alike........

    December 2, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • VelveteenLady

      My Mama always told me, "Beware of folks, who make glaring generalities and spit them out as though they were truth."

      December 2, 2013 at 12:50 am |
  6. noillusion

    Eliminate credit card debt? How about not buying anything with a credit card. Cash, debit card, or don't buy it. No seminar or books needed.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  7. Maude

    Ramsey always quips that he is "better than he deserves". Sounds more like a humble servant to me. Yeah, he can rant sometimes but hey, it's his show.

    I think your critique is better suited for somebody like Benny Hin, Donald Trump or maybe Jay Z.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  8. Rosemary Key

    My husband & I went to Dave Ramsey's group for some financial counseling. NEVER were we taught any if this that you are speaking of in this article. I've NEVER heard Save Ramsey teach a " health & wealth" prosperity. He DOES teach financial responsibility which includes eliminating credit card debt. He DOES teach on saving & having an emergency fund. He does teach on giving as The Lord provides. I think your missing the principle here of what he is saying- you don't have to be rich to work out... If you can walk, you can exercise. You don't have to be rich to read... Ask Dr. Ben Carson.... You don't have to be rich to eat healthy... just willing to be flexible & eat what's on sale... In the perimeter of the grocery store! What He does teach is to not become a slave to Debt! It makes it harder to help out those who need it when you are bound by a snowball- called debt. This article is irresponsible & proves that you don't "really" know Dave Ramsey at all or what he teaches!

    December 1, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • snickatnite

      I'm a follower of the Dave Ramsey plan and have taught several sessions of his Financial Peace University class. My wife and I follow his plan thoroughly and have no debt at all. With that said, Dave Ramsey often comes across as a mean-spirited bully. Anyone who listens to his radio show or podcast would probably agree with that. His financial advice is sound ... no argument there at all. But Rachel Held Evans is challenging the posting from Dave's website that 'implies' that rich people get rich by following a certain regimen, and that if poor people only would do the same, their poverty might be alleviated. This line of thinking is not a healthy or realistic way to look at the systemic issues of poverty. I know Dave Ramsey didn't write the article about which this blog responds, but he should have had more care and discernment before posting such an uninformed list about wealth and poverty.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
    • VelveteenLady

      "You don't have to be rich to eat healthy." Seriously? Do you know how much "healthy" food can be purchased by SNAP benefits? Do you know that there are seniors, who get SNAP benefits, who cannot make it to the third week of the month, on what they get in the form of benefits, let alone be able to purchase healthy food? If you have never been in that position, count yourself as blessed. There are many of us, who purchase cheap carbs, along with a few pieces of fruit and vegetables, because it's all we can afford. If you have figured out the magic of eating healthy (including dairy, fruit, vegetables, and lean protein) on $150/month, please write a book and share the information.

      December 2, 2013 at 12:55 am |
      • Mike

        It is really easy for people who live in relatively well off areas to forget what a truly downtrodden area is like.

        Where I am, there are four grocery stores within a short drive, ranging from higher end/higher price to the discount variety. But I have also lived and preached in the most rural (and poor) areas of this country. In those areas, there is nothing but a small convenience type store with nothing but the most basic goods— not even wheat bread. In those areas people eat "junk" because it is all that is available.

        It was even once suggested that gardening could be the answer to their nutritional problems. One of my congregation asked "My wife and I work 10-12 hours a day, when would I garden?"

        As I said, it is really easy to sit in comfort and wonder why poor people just don't "stop being poor".

        December 2, 2013 at 8:12 am |
  9. michelleaxtonkelly

    I'm shaking my head at your article. So you basically took the time to try to discredit Ramsay? For what purpose? If you know anything about Dave Ramsay's teachings then you should be aware that his primary goal is to teach the rich and poor to be good stewards of our money, according to God's commands in the bible. He has given a hope and a future to many who were caught in a spiral of consumerism that threatens to destroy plenty of futures needlessly.

    In addition, part of being good stewards with our money according to biblical principles which Ramsay outlines over and again is taking the blessings God has given us ...and forwarding them in Christ's name to the poor and organizations that assist the poor. As an advocate for some of the world's poorest and oppressed peoples I can't understand why you would attack Ramsay's position? Why not go after some celebrity with the thousand pairs of shoes and twenty cars? What good is a millionaire who does absolutely nothing to better this world we live in? I am sure you can find many examples of selfishness in our society but I demand as a reader that you do more research on Ramsay's philanthropy before you trash his good intentions.

    In closing you said, "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...." True, every good and perfect gift comes from above. But please don't fool yourself into making the poor rich by accepting the mere presence of God. Surely you mean that it is salvation through the sacrifice of Christ as the priceless gift available to all?

    December 1, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • VelveteenLady

      I have followed Ramsey's budget formula for getting out of debt, and I must say that I am a believer in his financial advice ONLY. I can attest that, like a 12-step program, it works if you work it. However, I become dubious when someone purports to equate what he/she thinks God would do, or wants us to do, based on his/her interpretation of specific biblical texts. I agree with you, in that Ramsey should edit, or have a trustworthy employee edit, what he puts forth for public consumption. He should stick with his sound financial advice and leave the religion up to the preachers.

      December 2, 2013 at 1:00 am |
      • JimmyJam048

        GREAT points VL.

        December 2, 2013 at 1:26 am |
      • Mike

        As a religious man, I find this trend very disturbing. In the last ten years or so, I have seen many books and seminars that have purported to tell you exactly what "God's opinion" is on certain matters— particularly personal finances. I believe that any man who claims to know the "correct" interpretation of the Bible without also expressing his own doubt that he might be completely wrong, should be considered a false prophet.

        December 2, 2013 at 8:47 am |
  10. Just Saying

    Rarely do I comment on things like this, but I have listened to Dave Ramsey for years. This blogger is looking at a piece of the teachings and information flow from Dave Ramsey and his website. Most of what she quoted came from another individual that had written a piece found on his website. Look at how she starts the blog, – "Dave Ramsey is rich. And he makes his living telling other evangelical Christians how they can get rich, too." He does not teach people how to get rich. He teaches people how to get out of debt and to live on less then you make. He is someone who went through bankruptcy and climbed back out of it using what he teaches. One of his sayings that I absolutely love and think about daily is "Live like no one else, so you can give like no one else" Living like a "crazy" person while getting out of debt so you can give more to those that need it. His class is also taught in countless businesses, churches, and through other organizations to reach the people of all living classes, because all living classes have a problem with making poor or uneducated choices. As far as the people that are the "least of these" I have never heard Dave talk poorly about those people. There are a large group in this country that definitely need help. We have the opportunity to be Jesus to them and help them. Just my thoughts… This writer is coming at this from a certain preconceived viewpoint, she gives herself away at the beginning. Before jumping on any band wagons, look further into what Dave Ramsey, his business, and his ministry do.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
    • snickatnite

      I'm a follower of the Dave Ramsey plan and have taught several sessions of his Financial Peace University class. My wife and I follow his plan thoroughly and have no debt at all. With that said, Dave Ramsey often comes across as a mean-spirited bully. Anyone who listens to his radio show or podcast would probably agree with that. His financial advice is sound ... no argument there at all. But Rachel Held Evans is challenging the posting from Dave's website that 'implies' that rich people get rich by following a certain regimen, and that if poor people only would do the same, their poverty might be alleviated. This line of thinking is not a healthy or realistic way to look at the systemic issues of poverty. I know Dave Ramsey didn't write the article about which this blog responds, but he should have had more care and discernment before posting such an uninformed list about wealth and poverty.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
  11. duh

    I d I o t e s

    December 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  12. Sam

    One doesn't have to have a gym membership to exercise. That is hilarious. Playing basketball, running, doing push-ups, sit ups etc don't cost a penny. Anyone (including the rich and the poor) can do it.

    Someone advised that they don't have time to exercise because they work two jobs. Everyone has time to excercise. Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. The people that you see running on the side of the road simply prioritize excercise. I see them at all times of the day nearly every day. Too poor for running shoes? Ask someone who has an old pair....

    Where there is a will, there is a way...

    December 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      While not denying your basic point about self-responsibility – everyone may have the same number of hours but time-management gets a lot easier when you have wealth or higher income. You tend to not need a second job and although many of us work over 40 hours there is no travel time to another job.

      'Where there is a will, there is a way..." True but that doesn't make it easy.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Steve MoneyPlanSOS Stewart

      Sam, good point. I don't remember hearing about gym memberships in the 1950s when fewer people were obese. Nike was still 15 years from being created so how did they keep fit? Maybe their faith was stronger. 😉

      December 2, 2013 at 1:50 am |
  13. Dave

    A lib making a bunch of excuses for the poor and lazy.

    December 1, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Jinx

      A partisan hack showing his contempt for poor people.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  14. duh

    Test

    December 1, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  15. Maximus Anglicanus: The Old High Churchman

    Do you all take this as rocket science?

    December 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  16. Reality # 2

    R. Evans went to Bryan College where she majored in English Literature. She received her Bachelor of Arts in 2003. And somehow she is now a biblical exegete. Give us a break!!!

    "Ramsey was born and raised in Antioch, Tennessee. He was a 1982 graduate of the College of Business Administration at University of Tennessee, Knoxville. At the age of 26, through his brokerage firm, Ramsey Investments, Inc., he built a rental real estate portfolio worth more than $4 million and became one of Tennessee's youngest brokers to be admitted to the Graduate Realtors Insti-tute.[6]

    Ramsey's success soon came to an end as the Tax Reform Act of 1986 began to have a negative impact on the real estate business. One of Ramsey's largest creditors was sold to a larger bank, which began to take a harder look at Ramsey's borrowing habits. The bank demanded he pay $1.2 million worth of short-term notes within 90 days, forcing him to file for bankruptcy relief.[6]" Give us a break again !!

    Considering the credentials, why are we being subjected to the thoughts of these two unqualified individuals?

    See p. 13 of the commentaries for added details.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • Andy Klein

      Because you don't need to be highly educated to recognize that statistical correlation and mechanical effect are often mutually exclusive.

      December 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • snickatnite

      He was also bankrupt at age 26...

      December 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        And considering the Christian con he is pulling, he is still morally bankrupt !!

        December 2, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  17. Tired of Excuses

    The author lombasts Ramsey for telling people to take personal responsiblity for their situations and providing some ways of doing so. Article ends basically blaming everthing bad on the "system".

    I'm prettty sure someday I'll be supporting her kids with my tax dollars. They clearly won't amount to much as Mommy tells them nothing is their fault. The only"systemic issue" she should whine about is failing to teach people about personal responsibility.

    PS If I had a minimum wage job I'd sure work more than 40 hours a week (actually I work much more than 40 hours a week already...apparently to support people who have been systemically victimized according to the author and can't be bothered to work more than 40 hours a week themselves).

    December 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      a) That's not what the author said.
      b) Generally people on minimum wage work when their employers say not when they want which is one reason why they often can't take multiple jobs.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
      • Tired of Excuses

        1. That is what the author said. It was her big finish, the "so what" of the article that "systemic" issues beyond anyone's control are the root of financial problems. I thought the article would take issue with some of Ramsey's recommendations but it was a political diatribe.
        2. I guess they can't work two jobs (like me)?

        December 1, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          She does cite systemic issues, but I see nothing to justify your "They clearly won't amount to much as Mommy tells them nothing is their fault." comment.

          It's not always that easy to work two jobs – some employers expect you to be available when they want you.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
      • k

        Do you even know what commas are for?

        December 2, 2013 at 1:58 am |
    • tallulah13

      Reading comprehension is apparently not a strong suit among those who are defending Ramsey.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
      • Tired of Excuses

        I'm not defending Ramsey, I'm attacking the author. Below is an extract from the article and is a political diatribe.
        I guess your reading comprehension needs some work. Don't worry, not your fault. It's another "systematic injustice".

        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.

        December 1, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • Jinx

          Is anything she said false? No.

          December 1, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
  18. A

    A great read, recommended by my minister (who also happens to be a Dave Ramsey fan), is Ruby Payne's A Framework for Understanding Poverty. She explains things like food deserts and why it is difficult for some to break the cycle of poverty (generational poverty vs. situational poverty). I attend church in an impoverished area and volunteer at the local food pantry, and this book really helped me understand those I try to help.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • rockyfort

      Ruby Payne is fantastic. I had a chance to hear her many years ago as part of an in-service at school. Part of breaking the cycle of poverty is understanding the causes of poverty and why people are entrenched in it.

      December 1, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  19. Brenton

    Dear Rachel,

    Same team.

    December 1, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
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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.