Flipping channels last night, I came across another segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show featuring frequent guest and personal financial guru Suze Orman. But there was something about the rhetoric of last night’s show that made me pause. Instead of Orman castigating families who had wracked up unnecessary credit card debt, as she so often does, the show featured families who were facing financial difficulty through no apparent fault of their own: lost jobs, lost retirement savings, illness. Yes, Orman pulled out some of the individualistic rhetoric that’s so endemic to American culture: “There’s only one person that’s going to save you right now, and that’s yourself,” she said. But she also devoted a portion of the show to outlining parts of the federal economic recovery plan that can help struggling families, including subsidized COBRA health insurance coverage, increased unemployment insurance benefits, and tax credits for first-time homebuyers.
Maybe the message is finally hitting mainstream culture: We are all in this together, and, particularly in times of economic crisis, government can provide a steadying hand.
— Lisa Gardiner