Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Driver’s “beans-and-rice budget” needed in D.C.

| September 30, 2011
Frank Hagwood

I found it a bit irritating to hear Republican presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Rick Perry arguing in one recent debate about who “created” the most jobs, as if each were God himself recalling the eighth day. What they spoke of, in reality, was how much employment rose while they happened to occupy the governor’s seat.

It’s tragic that these and other Republicans, while overtly backing reduced government and free enterprise, echo just the opposite when they parrot the mantra that government creates jobs. This mind-set would have you believe that government has things under control, including the wildly fluctuating forces of the free market.

Sure, government can take your money and, as they now say in D.C., “invest” it in other people and call it job creation. Whether this is wise policy is another matter.

Consider the ongoing story of Solyndra. After more than half a billion dollars in loan guarantees from President Obama’s stimulus plan, the solar panel maker laid off nearly all of its 1,100 employees and closed its factory.

Not fair to pick on one bad apple? Then look at the big picture. The stimulus program was supposed to hold unemployment below 8 percent. Yet unemployment has been at least 9 percent in 26 of the 30 months since the stimulus package was approved, notes columnist George Will.

The financial crisis that gripped the world at the recession’s start was complex and years in the making. To think massive deficit spending choreographed by politicians would produce a quick, painless fix was naïve.

Someone who’s experienced his own financial crisis during this period is hot-shot hauler Frank Hagwood, 53, a native of Meridian, Miss., who lives near Tyler, Texas. Around 2006 he got his operating authority to take more control of his specialty, hauling boats and cargo trailers. The costs of additional insurance, a new trailer, and repairing or replacing transmissions and engines choked him with $70,000 in credit card debt before he knew it.

Hagwood’s solution was twofold.  One was finding a load partner that matched his operation better, which was uShip. The company states all fees clearly with each posting and is “extremely fair” with rates, he says.

The other part was working his tail off. “I’m on what’s called a beans-and-rice budget,” Hagwood says. “I don’t drink, smoke, go bar-hopping. I go home and I service the truck.” Even that is a luxury, given that he spent 221 nights on the road in 2010. “You’ve got to be a working American if you want to pay your bills.”

This working American enjoyed a sweet day in August. That’s when he made a final bank payment, wiping out his credit card debt.

“If I can do this, an old boy from Mississippi, don’t you think we as a nation can do this?” he asks.

That’s a tough question. I’m not sure any of the leading presidential candidates has the right answer.

  • Scott Ayers

    Great article and a great story about Mr. Hagwood! I love to hear succuss stories like Mr. Hagwoods as I too am struggling with debt as a trucker. This gives me renewed hope that with continued work and focus on the bottom line I can finally be FREE of this sufocating debt.

  • Max Heine

    It takes a lot of work, Scott, but if you’re determined to do it, you’re halfway there. Hagwood really is a great example.

  • F.D.Hagwood

    Scott,dont give up and dont quit,there was many times I thought man look at all theses Ivory league highly educated people that is running our GREAT nation into the ground,they just keep on and on and on spending our money on what?so I thought of quitting many times,but then would always remember some of my boy hood how myself my brother Dad uncle and 2 first cousins would pull the plow for my

  • F.D.Hagwood

    Grand Father,because this is how we got our food,and I think about All of the Brave Americans that lost they lives on 9-11,and the ones who took back flight 93 from those cowards and how they ALL lost their lives,but Scott they ALL stood for what I think was RIGHT,so Scott,stand and keep standing for what is RIGHT to remove that mountain of debt that you find your self in now,keep focused,because when you pay your last payment its like YEA man I really do live in the GREATEST NATION on the face of the planet,and thats something that the people running our nation cant take from you,keep up the good work Scott

  • J D Heintz

    Debt is the primary reason that the rich got richer and none of us common folk got anywhere in the last 20 years. When we Americans say no to debt so that the elites can’t enslave us with it and we join the ranks of capitalists we won’t see such a disparity in income. All wealth building follows an exponential curve, we just need to get on train before it leaves the station. I believe that the elites of this world want to move toward fascism. If you read Rerum Novarum you will see the outline for this worlds future because the UN has based its whole philosophy from the writings of this document. God help us all.

  • fdhagwwod

    I disagree with this statement the reason most folks dont have any money [not rich] is they are not on a budget and dont wont to work for it,I know 4 millionaires in my life 1 is almost a billionaire [and he dont have his money in the cayman islands and he does NOT employ cayman people,like mitt you know the guy thats worth 270 mil and the sign behind him says believe in American????????,as Col Potter says horse hockey] ok enough of that my hair is already standing up,the 4 people I know ALL started working for some one else on the very bottom and have ALL worked very hard to get to where they are at today,they put me in mind of my Dad after coming home form WW2 got a job at a bakery [bread] and worked they for 38 plus yrs is he 1 of the 4 no but that same hard working moral thats was in him,he has passed down to me,just like Rick Santorum grand Dad and Mother has passed down the him,its in the heart and I think these are just some of the very small basic things we should be teaching our hard work,it will pay off