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Jewish World Review
May 20, 2011
/ 16 Iyar, 5771
When the checks don't balance
Like everyone else we're tightening our belt to accommodate the economy. I have taken to limiting my gasoline purchases to $40 at a time. If I pay more than that, I feel like the pump is smirking at me.
I'm not saying times are tough, but last week I saved us the cost of a dry cleaning tab by hand washing a "dry-clean only" garment.
"Look," I said to the husband, "by laundering this dress myself I have made us $10 richer."
"Wash it again!" he said.
It's not like anybody is making money on savings accounts with interest rates that begin with a decimal point.
An analyst said that our nation's current financial crisis is akin to having a credit card with a $10,000 limit and being $16 away from maxing it out.
Would someone please get that credit card away from Congress and feed it through a shredder? They're like crazed shopaholics loaded down with shopping bags but still trying to run at full speed in stilettos because they heard designer handbags were on sale.
Have you ever wondered how many members of Congress it takes to change a light bulb? None of them can their hands are all too greasy from handling pork.
No economist ever explained spending better than the late great Milton Friedman. There are four ways to spend money, he said. When you spend your own money, you are very careful to get the most for your money. When you spend your money on somebody else, you don't care about the quality as much as the cost. When you spend somebody else's money on yourself, well, as Friedman said, "You're going to have a very nice lunch." Why yes, I think I will have dessert! And coffee, too, please.
Finally, when you spend somebody else's money on somebody else, you're not too concerned about quality or cost.
Our kids were more accountable for their 50-cent allowances than Congress is for spending billions and trillions. Other people's money never seems as real as your own. It's like spending Monopoly money you pass "Go" and the banker always has more. It may be pink and blue and yellow, but there's always more.
From the way Congress continues to spend some days, you'd think they have been taken over by a bunch of 5-year-olds operating on the premise that Daddy can always get more money out of the ATM.
We may disagree on the way to solve the problem, but we can all agree on the problem: Government can't live within our income.
The President's own budget projects that the federal debt will top $15 trillion this year equal to the size of our nation's entire economy. It's like a bad pyramid scheme taxpayers can't opt out of.
These may be troubling economic times, but they are historic times as well. Congress has redefined the entire system of checks and balances. They keep writing checks on accounts that will never balance.
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