August 10, 2009
Inmates Running the Asylum
Healthcare reform is commanding all the headlines these days. "The system is broke, and we're here to fix it", is the reassuring message handed down from our political leaders. Thanks, but if I need a solution to a problem, I go to a professional, not some three-ring circus act.
Let's use a few examples that may seem extreme, but I plan to demonstrate otherwise. If you need marriage counseling, do you book an appointment with Zsa Zsa Gabor? After all, she's been married nine times (at last count), so clearly she has some experience in that department. If you need anger management courses, is Mike Tyson your first choice for instructor? How about booking Charles Manson to help you find inner peace?
As ridiculous as it sounds, we are prepping ourselves for a similar disaster-in-waiting by allowing politicians to determine the fate of our healthcare. As the accompanying article this week illustrates, the government already wastes more than half of what it spends on healthcare. Keep in mind what the government currently spends on healthcare is only a tiny fraction of what it will be responsible for if/when healthcare reform is passed and it takes hold of the reins.
Where else ON EARTH can someone rack up a debt they will NEVER be able to pay back, and simply print more money to fix the problem? If that was the solution for you or me, we would be thrown in the slammer for counterfeiting, yet that's what our government does every day.
If you spent twice as much as you made in after-tax income, could you simply go to your employer and demand they pay you enough to cover your budget? You and I would be fired on the spot, but not before a lecture on how we should learn how to manage our finances. Yet this year's budget deficit is already over ONE TRILLION DOLLARS, and looks to hit close to TWO TRILLION DOLLARS by the end of the fiscal year.
Look at it this way - MANDATORY SPENDING will eat up almost every penny of money received via federal income taxes this year. This makes almost every dollar spent on discretionary spending a dollar owed. To equate that to your budget or mine, think about what you spend on your existing debts (mortgage payment, car payments, electric bill, etc.) Now think about all the discretionary items - internet access, cell phone, entertainment, GROCERIES...you have no money left for any of these things. How do you cope? Well, unless you have the ability to print money (see counterfeiting example above), you either 1) downsize your lifestyle to affordable levels, 2) go into serious debt by financing all your discretionary items (for a while, at least), or 3) file for bankruptcy protection. Regardless if you chose 1, 2, or 3, you'll eventually end up at #1. So somebody, ANYBODY, please tell me why the government doesn't have to abide by the same laws of nature as the rest of us???
We all scratch our heads wondering why so many Americans live so financially irresponsibly. One need look no further than the example our illustrious politicians give them. Some of you will remember the slogan for Doritos tortilla chips in the '90s - "Crunch all you want...we'll make more!" These days, the government's slogan is "We'll spend all we want...you'll make more (money we can tax)," "we'll make more (by printing more money)," (fill in your own dreadfully amusing quip here...)
Sorry, but I'm sick of watching the inmates run the asylum. How about you?
Make it a great week.
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