The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tighten our belts or lose our pants?

Yesterday, the House passed a blueprint for a budget plan by Paul Ryan (R, Wis.). Trying to find out just what is in that plan so we can know who is demagoguing more seems impossible. The media, which I depend on to tell me, as part of the general public, what the details are, seems to be more interested in reporting on the emotions involved. The political emotions, that is. It's all about personalities and political party/election strategies.

We are over $14 Trillion in debt, folks! We are facing a $1.7 Trillion deficit for the next fiscal year. This is like a family spending a third more than the wage earners in it bring in. Could your family survive doing such a thing? I couldn't. The idea alone frightens me.

In a 12 month period in the early 70's, my little family overspent my income (I was the the only wage earner) by about 20%. The extra money came from my in-laws to keep us going. Unemployment in my area was running around 10%, I was under-employed, as they say, working as a janitor and then as a "jack of all trades" for a small firm which made and installed window "treatments." I was waiting for an opening with Pacific Telephone. We had cut back on expenses as much as humanly possible. We lived as cheaply as we could. We had no choice but to borrow from her family to get by.

It was the most demeaning time of my life. If we did not have her parents to depend on, we'd have had to go on welfare. Those were dark days for me.

The opportunity at Pacific Telephone came through, though, and we got out of debt and on our own in a matter of a few months. Within 3 years, we were able to purchase a house and start building up savings.

America has been borrowing not to survive a downturn but to expand even in the Good Times. More services, more programs, more "goodies" for politicians to tout at election time. All paid for with money we didn't have. And the debt built up until now we have that Giant Elephant in the room that we are forced to consider.

We have to cut back on spending. We have to tighten America's "belt" and regain control of our spending. But like a family that refuses to give up the dance lessons for the kids, the new clothes, the regular restaurant visits, the trips to Disney World just because Dad got a cut in pay, we squabble over how to do it.

The argument is coming to a head. The argument has been going on in America since the founding of the country: What is government's role in society? Because that is at the core of this debt crisis.

Currently, there is a lot of heat being generated in various states, including my own, about cuts in budgets. Public employees are being "asked" to pay more (or even something) into their retirement plans and they are howling in response. Programs which aid the poor and handicapped are being "asked" to take cuts in their budgets and they are howling.

I understand. I went through it on a personal level. But my question is simple:

Would you rather continue spending until it all dries up and you no longer have a pension or you are given no money at all for your program's budget or struggle through on less for a few years?

Because, folks, that is the real choice now.

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