Can I take a moment to step away from the macroeconomic issues crushing our country to vent a bit about something on the micro level?

I’m weary of entitled children and adults.

To be fair, it’s not completely their fault. It’s hard not to covet more when our culture is all about getting what you want rather than whatyou need. Parents have blurred the line between their wants and their needs, and they are passing that behavior on to their children.

The latest example of this mentality is TLC’s “Outrageous Kids Party.” This reality show profiles parents who spend excessive amounts of money on birthday and holiday parties for their children. Think MTV’s "My Super Sweet Sixteen" only with younger children but with the same spoiled teen attitudes. Watch a clip of the show on TLC.

Andrea Canning of reported recently on mega birthday bashes. One couple spent $40,000 for a birthday party for theirone year old son. While a splurge of that magnitude isn’t typical, Canning says there’s a new trend of everyday parents spoiling their kids on birthdays. But from what I’ve seen it’s not a new development. This overindulgence has been going on for quite some time with people who can least afford it.  Some parents go on a spending binge for these lavish parties even though they don’t have enough money in theirkid’s college fund (that is, if they even have one).

So what’s the most outrageous kid’s party you’ve attended lately (or given)? Send your stories to the Color of Money Question of the Week to Put “Entitled Children” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, city and state.

Rich Kids Sue Their Mom

Should a mother be sued if she doesn’t put money in a birthday card?

Steven Miner, 23, and Kathryn Miner, 20, thought so.

These two sued their mom, Kimberly Garrity, for $50,000 for emotional distress because she, among other things, didn’t take her daughter to a car show, haggled over the amount to spend on party dresses and failed to send care packages while her children were in college, reports The Chicago Tribune.

One of the exhibits in the case includes a birthday card that Steven Miner called "inappropriate" because it failed to include cash or a check.

The lawsuit was dismissed last month. An Illinois appeals court found that none of the mother's conduct was "extreme or outrageous."

Mommy, I Know You Have The Money

Continuing with this topic of entitled children, a grandmother recently wrote to syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson complaining that her grown son “is under the idea that we owe him.”

The mother said her son told her, not asked her, to send $600 to his college-aged son (her grandson).

“I have six grandchildren and cannot afford to give them all money when in college and I feel that if I do for one, I should do for all,” the mother wrote. “My son keeps saying, ‘I know you have it.’ Do you think my son should be lecturing me on my finances?”

Read what Amy told the woman and then tell me if you agree. Send your responses to Put “Mommy, I Know You Have The Money” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, city and state.

Celebrity Cash

Sly Stone, front man of the soul group Sly and the Family Stone, has gone from fabulous riches to living in a van.

The 68-year-old Stone, whose hits include “Everyday People” and “Dance to the Music,” once resided in a 5,432-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion that had Tiffany lamps in every room and a round waterbed in the master bedroom, reports The New York Post.

The Post says Stone went broke from a combination of excess, substance abuse and financial mismanagement.

As my grandmother Big Mama used to say, it’s not how much you make that matters, but how you make do with what you have.

Debt Defeaters

Have you finally got the debt monkey off your back? Tell me about it.

Send me your debt defeater story. Tell me how much debt you’ve paid off, how long it took and what sacrifices did you make to become debt-free. And include a statement describing your debt relief. Send your story to Put “Debt Defeater” in the subject line.

If I read your story during my live video chat, you will receive a free T-shirt.

Obama’s Tax Plan

For last week’s Color of Money question, I wanted to know what you thought of President Obama’s plan to find $3.2 trillion in budget savings over the next decade.

Here’s what some of you had to say:

 “I will take this opportunity to go on record as being entirely in favor of the President's tax plan,” wrote Randal P. Miller of Meadville, Pa. “It's more than high time for the most prosperous among us to assume their fair share of the tax burden. The hysterical name-calling about ‘class warfare’ from the apologists for big money is patently ridiculous. Marginal tax rates on capital gains, for example, were much higher in those wonderful Reagan years that the righties are so fond of recalling than those being suggested now. Enough, already!”

Jim Burnett of Birmingham, Ala. said: “I do not think that you can keep going back to the same few taxpayers to foot the vast majority of the taxes. We have fewer and fewer taxpayers paying a larger percentage of taxes, while more taxpayers pay nothing or get a net refund from the tax system. That being said, our tax system is a total mess – a real hodge-podge of deductions, credits and other complexities.  I do not think we should consider anything short of a total overhaul of the system. The goal should be to raise revenue, not engineer social policy or create winners and losers.  It may not be politically correct, but we must broaden the tax base, simplify the tax code and reduce rates. Compliance should increase substantially.  A by-product of this would be to jumpstart the economy and greatly decrease tax compliance costs.”

“I’ll make this really short,” wrote Stephen DeCarlo of Sewell, N.J. “If President Obama believes that he can put on a little green suit and play Robin Hood he is delusional. Never, never will the haves allow the have-not’s to share their wealth.”

“I am very pleased our President is finally stating that he will stand firm,” said Terrence McLaughlin of Salem, Ore. “He must continue to do so or the Republicans will continue to divide up the wealth of the country increasingly in their own favor.”

Upcoming Events

-- On Thursday, Oct. 6th, I will be honored with the Bridge Builder Award at the 18th anniversary dinner and auction for The Training Source. This is a fundraising event for The Training Source, a great non-profit organization in Prince George's County that, among other services, provides training and employment placement assistance, leadership training for at-risk youth, and free professional clothing for job candidates.


The event will be held at Newton White Mansion at 2708 Enterprise Rd. in Mitchellville, Md., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about the event, go to


Tia Lewis contributed to this e-letter.

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