July 9th, 2012 // 9:25 pm @ Oliver DeMille
Matthew Dowd said on ABC that for the last twenty years both parties have been big spenders.
One, he summarized, is the party of cutting taxes and spending more from Washington, the other is the party of raising taxes and spending more from Washington.
This says just about all we need to know about the problem.
Government is too big, and though the parties debate about where to spend more money (international affairs versus domestic entitlements), both keep pushing for more spending.
The current attitude in Washington reminds me of an old story told in some economic circles about the young man who grew up in the lap of luxury created by his father’s lifelong hard work.
As the man reached adulthood, his father cut him off from family money and told him he’d have to get a job or start a business and make his own way.
The boy approached his best friend, who with his own parent’s money had participated in the wasteful spending sprees over the years, and together they strategized how to get his father’s money without the “ridiculous” idea of going to work.
They settled on a plan, and on the day the boy was cut off from Dad’s money he went to his friend’s house, they went mountain climbing together, then swimming, and at 5:30 pm the friend handed the boy $200 and he went home to show his father.
When the dad asked how the first day of work had gone, the boy said work was hard but he had earned some money—then he showed off the $200.
The father walked over to the boy, took the money from his hand, turned, walked over to the fireplace and threw the money into the fire.
The boy was surprised, and didn’t know what to say.
“You are lying to me,” the father said. “You didn’t earn that money. Now go get a job.”
The boy and his friend brainstormed what to do. “Maybe you didn’t look like you had really worked,” the friend suggested.
So, the next day, the boy left early in the morning and the two friends went boating for the day.
At 5:30, the boy dressed in old work clothes, wiped dirt on his face and hands, and took his friend’s additional $200 to show his dad how hard he had worked.
The father listened to his son’s story, then walked over, took the cash, and threw it into the flames.
“You are still lying,” he said. “Now, grow up and go get a job.”
After a fruitless planning session, the friend told the boy in frustration, “I don’t know how he knows, but maybe the only solution is for you to actually get a job.”
The boy was getting hungry, though he ate during the days with his friend, and his dad mentioned that he needed to start paying rent or move out. So, the next day, the boy went out to found a job. He walked to the industrial side of town and stood in a line for odd jobs, and ended up shoveling gravel for nine hours.
Exhausted when he got home after 7 pm, the boy dragged his body through the front door and headed for bed.
“Come here, son,” his father called, so he walked into his father’s office.
“How was work today?” his father asked.
“”Good. I earned $85.”
“You’re still lying,” the father said.
Then he walked over, took the money from the boy’s hand, and turned toward the fireplace.
The boy leaped in front of his father, grabbed the cash from him, and said firmly, “Don’t you dare burn that money!”
The father smiled. “Ah…you actually earned this, didn’t you?”
Thomas Paine famously said that heaven knows how to put a proper price on its goods, and that something as valuable as freedom must have a very high cost.
The same is true of money.
Ten dollars that a person earned through hard work has much more value to him than ten dollars somebody else just gave him.
Government money is other people’s money, and until the citizens fulfill their role (far beyond voting) of closely watching government, the spending will continue.