SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
I was thinking about writing a funny column on the budget debate in Washington, D.C. (The letters stand for Dollar Collectors.)
But it’s just not funny.
There was a time when I was what you might call fiscally loose. My thinking was that I could spend the money now and put it on credit, and when I started making more money further down the road I could pay my bills off.
Then I went broke.
Now I’m a fiscal conservative: Don’t spend money you don’t have unless absolutely necessary, and in that case come up with a plan to pay it off as quickly as possible. Later this month I’m going to try to refinance my home loan as part of an effort to replace my roof; if it works out the way I plan, I’ll be able to pay off the loan earlier than I would have without financing. It’ll be hard, but not as embarrassing as knocking on the neighbor’s door to borrow buckets every time it rains.
If I worked like the Federal Government, I’d simply go to the computer in my office, print out more $20 bills, create a Department of Roof Repair, build a three room addition to the house (one to house the bureaucrats, one to store stacks of paperwork, and one for the new Congressional Weight Room), and pretend the money was actually worth something. And still not get the roof fixed.
I don’t know if my refinancing will be approved. If I can’t afford it, maybe I’ll patch the roof up the best I can, or spread a tarp over it and save up money toward doing it next year. But I can tell you what I’m not going to do:
I’m not going to print fake money that isn’t backed up by reality.
I’m not going to pretend the problem doesn’t exist.
I’m not going to keep spending at my current rate even if I don’t have as much money coming in.
I’m not going to send cash I don’t have to people in other towns who don’t like me.
I’m not going to support my neighbors if they break in and just start living in my house without asking permission.
I’m not going to go out and spend money I don’t have under the theory that it will make more money magically appear.
I’m not going to tell everyone in the house that they have to pony up more money toward the bills, without first cutting out unnecessary expenses.
I’m not going to start screaming at everyone, “It’s your fault!” in the hopes that nobody notices I’m not actually handling the problem.
I’m not going to look around, see what failed before, and keep doing it.
I’m not going to blame it on cash-eating microorganisms.
Did you notice how that list, slowly but surely, slipped from the obvious stuff, to the arguable stuff, to total nonsense? See, the problem with those clowns in Washington today is that they skipped the slipping part: They went straight down Alice’s rabbit hole, and have totally lost their grasp on reality.
A few people who’ve seen the writing on the wall (that writing would be the word “bankrupt”) have gotten to the Capital despite all efforts to maintain the status quo, but they’re far outnumbered by people who’ve been insulated inside the beltway for so long that they just don’t get it. The only thing they understand is that they have great pay and benefits, assistants to fawn over them, and no accountability because the voters just keep sending them back over and over, no matter how screwy they get.
So who’s to blame? Ultimately, the voter. Especially the voter who doesn’t actually vote. Congressmen and Presidents keep throwing green pieces of paper at whatever sacred cow the majority of their constituents agitate for, causing us to smile, think how wonderful it is that someone else is paying for our precious fill-in-the-blank, and close our minds.
Now it may be too late. This is no longer a government by and of the people, but instead a government over the people, a government of men and women who think they’re better and smarter than the unwashed masses they look down on. We were meant to have a citizen government, but instead we have a country run by bureaucrats, enabled by two buildings full of clueless front men ruling over us with the money they steal from us.
We must stop spending. Not meaningless shell games argued over by politicians protecting their pet projects, but deep, painful cuts that wash away the wasteful, uncaring paper-pushers by the rotten bushel.
If Washington can’t be taken back for the people, then maybe, as in John Carpenter’s cult movie Escape From New York, we should just wall off the entire District of Columbia and leave the remnants of our once great Capital for the rats to fight over. That should save a few bucks.
See, I told you it wouldn’t be funny. But worry not: I’m sure Congress will be establishing a Department of Humor any day now.