The Reagan Speech Preservation Society

Musings on Money Review

Modified: Tuesday, 20 July 2021 22:00 by admin - Categorized as: Podcasts
The following is a collection of the materials used in creating the tenth episode of the Citizen Reagan podcast about the Reagan's Radio Commentaries.





Welcome to the Citizen Reagan podcast. As you may know, what I do with this podcast is discuss the contents of the Ronald Reagan Radio Commentaries produced between 1975 and 1979. Sometimes, I may decide to talk about some other topic, but with over 1000 of these Commentaries to cover, the bulk of my work will be on them.

Today, I've got a book review for you. In 1976, Reagan presented the book, "Musings on Money" by Eliot Janeway side-by-side with talk about The Incredible Bread Machine. He would re-record the broadcast in 1977.

When it comes to basic economics, personal and general, there are two slim volumes out that may tell you more than a shelf full of college texts. I'll be right back.

Not quite two years ago, I first read "The Incredible Bread Machine." It made a lot of sense. It gets right down to the basics of our economic system but instead of being a dry recitation of theory, it's a bright witty fast-paced account, written by a group of young people, some of them previously radical in their politics, who set out to find out for themselves just what our private enterprise system is all about. Working under the auspices of the World Research Institute in San Diego, California, they produced a small book that has become a bestseller many times over. Now it's been made into a popular motion picture and a television special, too. The Incredible Bread Machine is as good a primer on economics for young people as I've ever seen. But it's also a great refresher course for anyone in business or in public life. Read it and you'll appreciate anew the genius of our system. In fact, I wish every elected official in America would read it, we just might get better government if they did.

More recently, I've been reading another slender volume, a new one that's also packed with useful basic information. This one would be excellent reading for any young man or woman about to go out to tackle the world on their own. It's called "Musings On Money" and is by that seasoned observer of the political and economic scenes, Eliot Janeway. Musings On Money has aphorisms, axioms, and anecdotes. It is good humored and provides plenty of food for thought about work, pleasure, money and the state of the world. Here are some samples: Janeway says, "Like it or not, believe it or not, money is the root of all success," and "Your feelings about money reflect your feelings about yourself." "Learning to think objectively about money is the key to making yourself free." Here's one worth thinking about, quote, "The choice of a lifestyle in any part of the country is only as free as the ability to finance it. Finding the money to enjoy a lifestyle, whether in a big city or the great outdoors, is a critical part of that lifestyle." unquote. Janeway advocates middle-income earners forcing themselves to save he says, "First you need a savings fund of at least six months after tax income to protect yourself against emergencies. On top of that, you need to put enough money together for investment or speculation. Building a reserve of ten thousand dollars is a good beginning." Unquote. Now that may sound impossible to anyone who has trouble staying ahead of inflation, but Janeway makes a good point when he says you can begin on a small scale by withholding some money from your paycheck and putting it away before you pay the bills. It's all a matter of getting in the habit. Musings On Money has advice on charitable contributions, insurance, buying bargains, owning land, and a good deal more. Much of what Eliot Janeway writes might come under the heading of good old-fashioned horse-sense. Some may seem completely new. In either case, it's good reading. This is Ronald Reagan. Thanks for listening.

Shortly after I heard this broadcast, I hopped on the Internet and, using Amazon subsidiary, I was able to find and purchase copies of both books for a very reasonable price.
[Link to Abebooks search for The Incredible Bread Machine]
[Link to Abebooks search for Musings on Money]

As we are talking about personal finance, I thought this may be a good time to advertise something other than my books, but it's going to get personal and I hope you don't mind that. It's not easy for me, I must admit, to say what I'm going to say, especially to complete strangers on the Internet. I've been doing this research on the Reagan broadcasts for years, and I was largely content to have my little wiki and go no further. What possessed me to start the podcast? The simple answer: time. With this pandemic happening, I found myself with a lot more time on my hands. I was one of those people that lost their job due to the virus-related cutbacks. I had been working at the same job, in the public sector I might add, for over 21 years. I've also struggled to find new employment. The writing and researching involved in this podcast has given me something to do besides veg-out on my couch. I was responsible with my money for all those years, so I'm doing ok, but that said, it's not going to last forever. It is hard for me to make a request like this, but if you have enjoyed these talks, buying one of my e-books from Amazon or Barnes and Noble is an option. And. I do appreciate anyone that has done so, but I actually see only 35% to 40% of that sale. A more efficient way to help, if you are so inclined, is to use the service called Ko-fi, that's K-O-dash-F-I, a donation site similar to Patreon. There are links to it throughout my website. That's

Let's get back to the book.

I am going to focus on the Janeway book today, because the poem of The Incredible Bread Machine which Reagan spoke of, he would perform in its own separate broadcast. That book is a bit longer, so I'm going to need some time to read and digest it before I decide if I want to present it here to you.

Musing on Money is quite slender, at only 118 pages divided into 35 chapters. Probably took me about an hour to read. The passages Reagan quotes are completely accurate, though the way Reagan shared them made it sound like the first three were actually one long quote. If you visit my wiki and look at the transcript I've provided of this podcast episode, you'll be able to see how they are divided up.

After reading the book, I have to agree with Reagan's overall reaction: It's important reading. It has a great deal of common sense. I appreciate the fact that the book transitions from common sense fiscal responsibility in its beginning to more advanced money making at the end. You need that strong financial foundation first before you start playing the market. The only issue with the book, now almost 45 years old, that I can see, is that inflation has altered some of the numbers and politicians have changed some of the rules.

I could read whole chapters of the book for you, but I won't. Instead, I'll leave you with some additional anecdotes. I'll try to separate the quotes a little better:
  • From the chapter entitled, Money is Freedom:
    • Money is meant to set you free, not to entrap you in a vicious circle of earning and spending. It is meant to give you the means to help yourself and to help others.
    • Then why does money have the potential to destroy your life? Why does money make so many people unhappy? It's because too few of us understand how to use it properly to let it give us freedom. Money is only a means to an end, not an end in itself.
  • From the chapter entitled, Financing your Lifestyle:
    • Bargaining Rules:
      1. Always put a premium on your own independence.
      2. Always impress the party across the table with confidence in your own earning power independently of what they may offer you.
      3. Always give your potential employer or customer a chance to save some money in sealing the deal with you.
  • Communicating About Money:
    • If you, as a parent, can't explain your financial problems to your youngsters, ask yourself if you, as a responsible individual, can explain them to yourself. Do you have a plan for bringing them under control if you can't?
    • Balancing expenses against income is not easy, but it's a fundamental fact of sound financial life.
  • Stance is Everything:
    • A smart operator will never be made obsolete by change. Take the example of the enterprising harness maker. When he heard the not-too-distant rumble of Henry Ford's horseless carriage, he quickly figured out a way to reposition himself by turning his leather into fanbelts!
  • Finally, from a chapter entitled "Is there nothing surer than death and taxes?"
    • Supreme Court Justice Holmes, who comes as close to standing on Mount Olympus as any American, once told his clerk that he didn't resent having to pay taxes. "With my taxes," he declared, "I buy civilization." In Holmes's day, the government was collecting less, but was expected to deliver more. Holmes's clerk, Tommy Corcoran, was destined to become the architect of the New Deal, which was dedicated to proving that Holmes was right. Subsequently, however, Corcoran concluded that Holmes had been gypped. The government has collected more in taxes, but delivered less in civilization. The taxpayers have kept their part of the bargain, the government has not done its part.

While I share that last opinion, that government hasn't done its part, I would also argue that it does more than it should and some of those taxes really should come back to us the people.

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