I first wrote the following in an IntegrityWatch Blog post back in November, 2008, regarding former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. As a result of my return appearance today (March 3, 2009) on Phil Mikan’s show, The Corner, on The Talk of Connecticut radio, I have reprised below the part of that post that is as relevant today as it was last November.

The Real Reason People Are Distressed About the Economy… and What to Do About It

It is time for us, as Freesponsible Citizens, to start demanding of our elected officials that they find the backbone to do what is really needed to rebuild the fundamentals of our economic system around the Four Fundamentals of Financial Integrity:

  1. Emphasize Stability Over Growth: Economic stability must become a greater priority than economic growth because obsession with financial growth is what caused us to replace Capitalism with Debtism. This means that we as citizens need to take responsibility for re-tooling our careers to make money in new ways, and re-tool our finances around building toward financial independence.
  2. Eliminate Debtism: Productivity, not Debtism, must fuel economic growth.
  3. Give Money Meaning: Money must again be given meaning that people can believe in, such as being backed by a return to the gold or silver standard. Inventing money that doesn’t exist must come to a halt. Click here for more.
  4. Reward Building Toward Financial Independence: Building toward financial independence (known to most people as retirement) must be made at least as important as making purchases today.

Only by rebuilding our economic system around these Four Fundamentals of Financial Integrity will we be able to resolve the pervasive-yet-unspoken underlying economic angst that citizens feel.

It is therefore time that we, as Freesponsible Citizens, take four particularly important actions for the sake of both ourselves and our country:

  1. Eliminate Debt: Do whatever you must do to become as free of consumer debt as possible as quickly as possible (this does not include responsibly-made home mortgages, education loans, or car loans). If this means changing your lifestyle, do it while remembering that the secret to true life fulfillment has almost nothing to do with lifestyle.
  2. Become More Productive: Upgrade your productivity, as an employee and/or entrepreneur, so you can generate the income you need in order to make both purchases and investments without relying on debt (again, other than responsibly-made home mortgages, education loans, or car loans). Purchases stimulate the economy while giving you goodies you want. Investing stimulates the economy while building you toward the financial independence you need.
  3. Make Building Financial Independence a Priority: Purchase only to the extent that you don’t sabotage your ability to build toward financial independence as rapidly as practical. What is financial independence? It’s something all of us reach sooner or later if we live long enough. It’s the ability to pay our bills through the money our investments and other streams of passive income generate for us rather than through working. Most people call this retirement. Plan your finances around the assumption that you will sooner or later become financially independent, based on taking responsibility for preparing to retire with the lifestyle you want to be able to maintain.
  4. Require Governmental Financial Integrity: Demand of your local, regional and national elected representatives that show the backbone to require that our economy be rebuilt around these Four Fundamental Principles of Financial Integrity. Demand that your media regularly promote stories about these principles and that they advocate these principles in their editorials. You as an individual citizen don’t need to know to rebuild our economy around these principles in order to be entitled to speak up. You simply need to start requiring your elected representatives to convene panels of collaboration-oriented experts to develop those implementation plans in place of the dangerously short-sighted unsustainable strategies that are currently being used.

By upgrading your understanding of what life fulfillment really is, and the real secrets to attaining it, you will find the motivation you need to take the difficult but profoundly rewarding steps necessary for rebuilding your own life — and our society’s economic system — around principles of Financial Integrity. The more all of us understanding what is really required for life fulfillment, the easier it will become for us to make the temporary sacrifices necessary to rebuild our own and our country’s Financial Integrity.

My five-award-winning book, The New IQ: How Integrity Intelligence Serves You, Your Relationships and Our World, shows you precisely how to do this.